Recently in my inbox was a request for prayers for persecuted Christians.
The message came from the Voice of the Martyrs organization. These prayer requests are sent from a branch of their ministry found at icommittopray.com.
The situations in which the people described in the emails find themselves in are often so heartbreaking. They can, at times, seem to be in utterly hopeless circumstances. Here is one of the prayer requests from yesterday. It said:
"A Hindu mob drove 84 Christians out of their homes in eastern India after the Christians refused to convert back to Hinduism. The Christian families, who have been followers of Christ for 8-10 years, live in three villages in the Kondagaon district in Chhattisgarh state.
"In late September, after several confrontations between Hindu villagers and the Christians, a mob of more than 600 people formed and began vandalizing the Christians' homes and property.
"After the believers escaped into the jungle, the mob set up a tent on the main highway to cook and eat the chicken and rice stolen from the Christians' homes.
"The following day, the mob vandalized more Christians' homes in two other villages."
For now, these displaced Christians have been given shelter elsewhere. They struggle with their very human feelings of anger, fear, hopelessness and desire for revenge, after losing their homes through being attacked.
But their love for and allegiance to Christ helps them remain people who can pray as well as forgive those who have persecuted them.
There has always been trouble for people who choose and passionately follow Christ. It is as old as the nativity story.
And yet, we can live in an abundant way despite being oppressed by the spiritual forces which oppose God.
For more on the spiritual warfare in which we often find ourselves, and God's glorious escape routes, listen to episode 38 of Rooted by the Stream, titled Herod Is Seeking to Kill the Child, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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