“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body” (Hebrews 13:3).
If there is lethargy, indifference, or just ignorance about the problem of Christian martyrs, things can and must be changed. But what can we as Christians do?
During the fifth persecution of the early church, certain governing authorities were determined to destroy the church. To achieve the goal, Herod Agrippa decided to eliminate some of the church leaders. James, the brother of John, was executed, and the apostle Peter was incarcerated. What did Peter's fellow believers do? Acts 12:5 tells us: "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." The consequence of this prayer vigil was the miraculous deliverance of the apostle. The Lord heard and answered!
It is most unfortunate that many of our prayer meetings have become halfhearted and superficial. Often the requests raised have little to do with the truly heartfelt needs of the brethren, and even when they do, we seldom back up our prayers with the genuine passion and concern they deserve. Why don't we make a concerted effort to pray—as did Peter's companions—for the deliverance, safety, and intervention of God for suffering fellow believers outside the immediate circle of our fellowship?
In order to pray efficiently and effectively, it is necessary for us to devote time and effort to learning the facts about what's happening to believers in other countries and cultures. Because Christian persecution is not something we see on the news channels nightly does not diminish the importance of our brethren's suffering. Don't expect the world to share your compassion and concern: most people have neither the capacity nor desire to do so. And don't be deterred because of a lack of information. The information is available; you'll just have to dig to get it.
—Condensed from Persecuted: Exposing the Growing Intolerance Toward Christianity by Elwood McQuaid. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR 97402.