Prayer is so important; the word “pray” is mentioned 48 times in the Old Testament and 73 times in the New Testament. Because God places such an emphasis on prayer in His Word, so should we.
We must be diligent to not only pray, but pray for things according to His Word. While we live in a broken world, we can be tempted to pray for things that may be outside of God’s will.
For our loved ones, we would never pray for bad to come upon them. This desire may cause us to pray for persecution or hard times to end for those in the Body of Christ. Let’s not let that be our focus, however.
Based on God’s Word, here are 3 reasons why we should not pray for persecution to end:
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20
1. The church grows in persecution. Joseph’s words ring true today; the devil often tries to wear down God’s people with trials and persecution, but even in those harsh external circumstances, God is working His purposes to bring many to faith in His Son. We have seen in numerous ways, throughout the New Testament and continuing today, how the church grows exponentially in persecution, not despite.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
2. Faith grows in persecution. It is a harsh reality, but our faith is often diminished in plenty. When we depend on money or loved ones as our sole satisfaction, we often do not understand our deep need for Christ. While family and money are good gifts from God, they often distract us from Him when they become idols. God is powerful enough to even use difficult things to bring us closer to Him, which is our ultimate need.
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12
3. An end to persecution (on earth) is never promised in Scripture. This may be the most important point. There are many promises given to us throughout Scripture, but persecution ending this side of heaven is not one of them. Even though we may pray for certain things to change or go away, may we echo the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew: “Your will be done.”