For many, Easter arrives quickly—and it’s gone just as fast. But it’s worth looking at how Jesus’ ministry started before we celebrate the culmination of His life on earth.
Before He taught, lived, died and rose again, Jesus fled to the desert and … prayed. He was tempted by Satan, and responded to temptations with God’s Word. And He fasted, relying on God’s provision to keep Him strong. This was the preparation He took before launching the events that changed the world forever.
As we look ahead to Easter, we can learn from Jesus and this time of preparation. And we want to invite you to join us: will you make a pledge to slow down, embrace the season and spend the next 40 days getting closer to God through prayer for your persecuted family?
Our persecuted family around the world is in desperate need. So many live in constant fear of job loss, attack, kidnapping and murder. Will you join us and spend the next 40 days praying with our persecuted brothers and sisters? What a great way to stay present this Easter season, focusing on God and going to Him on behalf of those who need it most.
We created an easy way for you to participate: Each day from now until Easter (Sundays excluded), read the corresponding verse, then spend a couple moments in prayer following the prompt. Print this article or bookmark it, and use it during your devotional time; whatever works best for you to remember your sisters and brothers and take action this season.
On behalf of our persecuted family—thank you.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” —2 Timothy 3:12
Pray our persecuted family will continue to live lives glorifying to God, despite the evil they may come up against.
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.” —John 15:18
Pray our persecuted family will remember Christ, too, was hated; that they are not alone in what they are facing.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 5:10
Pray our persecuted family will feel God’s blessings over their lives; pray they’ll experience amazing joy and unending peace.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” —Matthew 5:44
Pray for those who attack, belittle and murder Christians; pray God will transform their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. He is the God of miracles!
“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
Pray our persecuted family will experience God, that He will raise them up and give them all they’ll need to continue in His name.
“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.” —Luke 6:22
Pray our persecuted family will find resilience of Spirit, like Christ who continued preaching even though He was hated by many.
“For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” —1 Peter 3:17
Pray our persecuted family will not give up; it might be tempting for them to abandon their faith, but pray they will continue to follow Him, not matter the cost.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” —Romans 12:14
Pray our persecuted family will be able to forgive those who’ve wronged and hurt them; pray they can find the mercy of Christ in their hearts.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” —Romans 8:35
Pray for love to abound in the hearts of our persecuted brothers and sisters, that they’ll feel Christ’s love and that it will spill out of them and onto others.
“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also.” —John 15:20
Pray our persecuted family will not be confused by any persecution they are facing. Pray they’ll feel God’s reminder that this is nothing new, and what they are experiencing, they are experiencing for Him.
“Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” —1 Peter 3:16
As much as we pray for God to transform hearts, we also pray He’ll be just. Pray God will hold those accountable who wrong and harass our persecuted family.
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33
Pray our persecuted family will feel supernatural peace in their lives, no matter what is going on around them. Pray their anxieties and fears will melt like wax before the Lord.
“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” —1 Peter 4:16
Through their persecution, pray our brothers and sisters will still be able to praise God; pray for hearts of glory and prayer in life’s toughest moments.
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” —John 15:19
Pray our persecuted family will be encouraged and not discouraged. Even when they’re looked down on and forgotten, pray they will feel their family around the world praying for and remembering them.
“Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.’” —Acts 14:22
Pray our persecuted family will continue to praise God even when it feels like the world has turned against them. Pray the Holy Spirit will burn bright even when the world tries to douse its flame.
“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.” —Psalms 23:4
Pray our persecuted family will feel God’s presence as they experience evil. Pray they will not fear, but instead live courageously.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” —1 Peter 5:8
Pray for safety for our persecuted family. Although evil wants to attack and bring them down, pray they will be protected by God and His angels.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” —Matthew 5:11
Pray blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self—control over our persecuted family. Pray they will feel blessed and not cursed.
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” —Revelation 2:10
Pray for our persecuted family who have lost loved ones. Pray they will find comfort and a knowing that all martyrs will be reunited with Christ Jesus in Heaven.
“And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” —Acts 8:1
Pray our persecuted family will not feel isolated, but connected; pray they will find a strong support network that will help them through the trials of the evil one.
“But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the Word, they quickly fall away.” —Mark 4:17
Pray the faith of our persecuted family will continue to grow and not shrivel. Pray they will grow in faith every day, no matter their circumstances, even when evil tries to cut them down.
“You will be hated by everyone because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” —Matthew 10:22
Pray our persecuted family will continue living for Christ even if no one follows them. If need be, pray they will have courage to stand alone.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 3:14
Pray our persecuted family will know although they have trials and struggles on earth, someday soon all will be made perfect in Heaven.
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’” —1 Peter 3:14
Pray for boldness and bravery. Pray our persecuted family will not live in fear or dread of what is to come; instead, pray they will thrive and sleep soundly at night.
“My times are in Your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.” —Psalms 31:15
Pray for deliverance. Pray governments will do what is right, militias will pass by, and hearts will be radically transformed in Jesus’ name.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” —1 John 3:1
Pray our persecuted family will continue to love when it is hardest to do so. Pray their hearts will expand and that they’ll have compassion, like Christ forgiving those who were crucifying Him.
“But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.” —Jeremiah 20:11
Pray there will be judgment. Pray those who harm our persecuted family will be held—accountable for their actions, whether in this life or the next.
“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” —1 Peter 4:19
Pray our persecuted family will not seek out vengeance, but will instead continue to do good in God’s eyes. Pray they will be able to forgive even the most unforgivable actions against them.
“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” —Hebrews 12:3
Pray our persecuted family will be able to remember and celebrate Christ this Easter season. Pray they will be able to reflect on His life and feel hope grow anew inside their hearts.
“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” —Psalms 34:19
Pray our persecuted brothers and sisters will know their persecution will not last forever; pray they will keep their eyes on Him and His ultimate victory.
“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 6:23
Pray our persecuted family will experience joy; pray they will find victories to celebrate, words to encourage and pure happiness not of this world.
“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” —2 Timothy 1:8
When the time comes, pray our persecuted family will stand strong behind their beliefs and not be afraid. Pray they will not be ashamed of Christ, but instead preach His truth heroically.
“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” —Matthew 5:12
Pray others will notice the joy and gladness our persecuted family has. Pray they will be curious, ask questions and take steps to experience what the true God offers.
“Stand firm, and you will win life.” —Luke 21:19
Pray our persecuted family won’t back down, but will instead stand firm in the midst of their trials. Pray their faith will not waiver and their hearts won’t grow faint.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” —1 Peter 4:12
Pray our persecuted family will be prepared to face trials; pray they will not be shocked or surprised, but instead face their trials as glorifying to the Lord.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.” —Romans 5:3
Pray our persecuted family will find healing in Christ through their toughest losses. Through loss, pray our brothers and sisters will feel closer to Him than ever, and not further away.
“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” —1 Peter 4:14
Pray our persecuted family will take insult and punishment in stride. Pray they will feel blessed and joy at the persecution they experience.
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.” —John 15:18
Pray our persecuted family will know they are not alone. Pray they will know there are millions of others experiencing what they experience daily. Pray they will feel the love of their family in Christ, and that they will know they are never alone or forgotten.
“I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” —Psalm 91:2
Instead of governments and arms, pray our persecuted family will turn to God first as their refuge and fortress through their trials. Pray they will not only seek Him first, but that they will find Him.
“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” —Matthew 28:6
Pray our persecuted family in Christ will feel hope, love and joy this Easter. Pray they feel community, experience exhilarating hope and that the courage inside them will not burn out, but feel everlasting on this earth.
And pray they will know—someday—their entire Church family will meet them in Heaven to celebrate the amazing love of our King. Hallelujah!
*Verses used are from the NIV translation