They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.

John 16:2

Lord God,

You told Your disciples that they would experience persecution in this life on account of You. You told them to take up their cross daily and follow You (Luke 9:23), and that anyone who does not carry his cross and follow You cannot be Your disciple (Luke 14:27). Lord, our human nature shrinks from the idea of bearing a cross or suffering in any way for our faith. We vow at our Confirmation to remain faithful to You even unto death, and yet many of us are afraid to witness for You even at the threat of mockery. Forgive our weak faith and unwillingness to suffer so little for You when You have suffered so much more for us. Those of us in the Western world have yet to see the physical persecution facing many of our brothers and sisters in Christ elsewhere in the world. There are Christians who face persecution such as beatings, torture, being burned to death, beheading, and even crucifixion. About 100 million Christians worldwide are facing persecution even now, and approximately 100,000 Christians are martyred for their faith every year. That averages out to about 274 people a day, 11 Christians an hour who will die for their faith. Lord God, be with our brothers and sisters who face persecution and death for You. Strengthen them that they may not deny You, and give them opportunities to serve as a witness for You even in such terrible circumstances. Grant their torturers, jailers, and executioners a drastic change of heart, such as you granted Saul the persecutor of the church to become Paul the apostle. Change their hearts to come to faith in You rather than continue to persecute your children. Be with those of us who do not face physical persecution, that we may be more bold in our witness for you, not fearing mockery or public shaming. Be with Your Church on earth that we may point to You in life and in death.

Please be with Christians in the following countries or situations…

Please strengthen me to witness for You in the following ways…

In Your name I pray. Amen.

Side note: If you would like to learn more about Christian persecution, I encourage you to check out Voice of the Martyrs, a non-profit ministry started by Richard Wurmbrand, who recorded his own experiences of the 14 years he spent imprisoned and tortured in Romania for his faith in his book Tortured for Christ. You can also request a free booklet from Voice of the Martyrs that gives prayer prompts throughout the year so you can commit to praying for persecuted Christians across the world.

For a full explanation of this challenge, see the post 12-Minute Prayer Challenge. If you are just joining us, feel free to continue on with us from the current day, or if you prefer, you can go back and start at Day 1.