It’s challenging to find the words to pray our hardest prayers, isn’t it? How do you ask God for comfort when a young person dies long before their time? How do you pray for a situation where there doesn’t seem to be a good or healthy outcome?
That’s when you can lean on the Scriptures themselves to become our prayers. David was a perfect example in the book of Psalms, and Jesus taught us how to pray in the Gospels.
As we draw closer to the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, you may not know how to pray for persecuted Christians.
Here are a few Bible passages you can reflect on and gain a better understanding of how to pray for your fellow brothers and sisters living in places like North Korea.
1. Pray for strength, even in weakness
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. — Romans 12:14, NIV
But in these Bible passages, Paul writes encouragement to different churches of his day. Despite the hardships he and other followers faced, they were called to remain strong. Not only did they endure their persecutors, but they also were called to bless those who hurt them.
When you pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, pray they’ll have strength even in the midst of persecution.
2. Pray they’ll be able to forgive
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. — Matthew 5:44-45, NIV
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. — Luke 23:34, NIV
Even on the cross, Jesus was able to forgive those who were killing him. People in North Korea are often tortured unto death. And it’s amazing that these believers usually pray for their persecutors, telling them about Jesus. But you can imagine it would be challenging for them to forgive the people who are hurting them.
When you pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, pray they’ll be able to forgive their enemies.
3. Pray they’ll feel comforted in God’s hands
But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. — Psalm 31:14-15, NIV
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. — Psalm 23:4-5, NIV
It’s hard to say that persecuted Christians who have been physically and psychologically attacked are protected in the darkest valley. But, in a sense, they are safe within God’s divine plan. The danger and fear may be real, but so is God’s love for them.
Some Christians are delivered from pain in this life while others must endure it. It’s hard to understand why some are spared and some are not. But the Psalms are full of praises of thanksgiving to God even in the midst of hard times.
Despite their suffering, persecuted believers in North Korea know that God is always with them. That’s why they refuse to deny Christ.
When you pray, remember that those living through persecution do not ask for prayers for the abuse to stop. Instead, they seek the strength to endure it, because it is through persecution that God grows His kingdom.
4. Pray they’ll feel peace in knowing there’s eternal glory
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5:10, NIV
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. ‘Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.’ — Luke 6:22-23, NIV
Even though a persecuted Christian’s life may be filled with physical and emotional pain, there is eternal glory waiting for them in heaven. Jesus never promised any follower an easy life. He even tells us to expect pain and trials. But He also promises that one day there will be peace forever with Him. Not only will we receive crowns of righteousness for our faithfulness, but we also will receive the greatest gift of all: an eternity with Christ.
During the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Nov. 7, meditate on some of these verses as you pray for North Korean Christians undergoing hardships. Sometimes we have no words for what to ask God; that’s when we need to search His Word and see what He says about persecution.
Check out our website for more resources and prayer guides to help you as you intercede for fellow believers.
You can also meet physical AND spiritual needs by providing food for starving North Koreans as well as a Bible.
Your prayers and support will bring incredible comfort to Christians who are longing for strength and endurance as they suffer for the cause of Christ.