They spoke in hushed voices in a corner. As they sipped Arabic coffee, they laughed when they felt safe. Soon, though, the conversation became serious. A little while later their eyes were closed. Some were kneeling. All were praying.
As I’ve traveled with GNPI the past few years, I’ve been privileged to experience these types of gatherings. In limited-access, dangerous countries, believers in Jesus meet to encourage one another, despite hostility toward anything Christian.
There’s a common denominator to all of these meetings – prayer.
The more persecution, the more prayer. I’m absolutely convinced it’s the fuel that’s firing growth in God’s kingdom throughout the world. We all have our strategies and cleverly designed efforts, but one thing remains more powerful than anything else: prayer.
Should I dare to say that prayer is not just the hope for growing the Church in places like the Middle East? It’s also the solution to breaking through the ambivalence we’ve seen in reaching souls for Christ in North America.
Should I go out on a limb to say that when we are faithful to practice prayer and fasting, emerging from being deeply engaged with God’s Word, we will unquestionably make disciples?
These prayers and practices tend to flourish in times of persecution. When the only thing we have is God, we tend to turn to him like never before.
What’s impressive, if not surprising, is that people in these challenging circumstances are not asking to be delivered from persecution. Instead, they ask to be found faithful in the midst of it! What if we joined them in realizing fire brings refinement, and what emerges is something very valuable.
Like we read in Scripture, our brothers and sisters building God’s Church in the midst of great tribulation knew they had found the pearl of great price. They knew it might require selling all they had.
However, they deemed the kingdom to be worth it all.