We have begun to pray each week for the persecuted church around the world in our Morning Worship Service at Faith. It reminds us that not everyone on this globe has the same freedoms that we have. Many are persecuted simply because they claim the name of Jesus while others are killed for their faith. Jeremiah understood these people's predicament. He, too, was being targeted for death by certain people in Judah. They did not like his message and hoped to shut him up by ending his life. God gave the prophet insight into their scheme and protected him from their life-ending plan. It would be easy to say that God will always step in and stop the persecution of His people, but history shows us that is simply not the case. At times, Yahweh must allow His people to be persecuted to purify the church or to prepare it for a revival greater than its pain. We are not always privy to God's plan; therefore, we only see persecution as a negative, but He might see it as the only way to get to the next phase of His work in a specific country or in the hearts of His people. Through the years, we have seen how persecution actually strengthens the church. The early church in Acts did exactly that. Persecution led God's people away from their comfort zones and caused them to move into unknown areas and to take the Gospel with them. As we start a new week, could it be that God is asking you to add the persecuted church to your prayer list -- to pray specifically for certain people groups that are facing incredible persecution? It could also be that you will face some kind of persecution this week. If so, could God have a reason for it that you have never considered before? Will you seek His face and look for His plan instead of falling apart and giving up?

Help me, Lord, to faithfully pray for the persecuted church around the world. Help me to stand under any persecution that I might face and to allow it to build my faith and strengthen my walk with You.