New International Version
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
We cannot read these words without thinking of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who suffer hugely for their faith. The Barnabas Fund gives countless examples of how Christians in the persecuted church seek to “live in a manner worthy of Christ, whatever happens.”
It’s not always easy here in the UK to proclaim Christ, but let’s be aware that we live with freedom and ease by comparison. Within the suffering church, this pandemic has made already difficult lives even more challenging.
The call to us is not to feel guilty or complacent, but to be one in Spirit with those who are persecuted by striving in prayer with them for the faith of the gospel, asking God to give them courage in the face of opposition. This is a vital part of our calling as a church and one we should take seriously.
PRAY for our dear friends living in Pakistan, where those who follow Christ often experience the reality of “not only believing in Jesus but suffering for Him”. Pray for protection for them, and ask the Lord to give them boldness, wisdom and patience in their everyday lives as they seek to live and serve the Lord faithfully.
Many of us already pray for the suffering church using resources from the Barnabas Fund or Open Doors. If you’d like to know more, the latest prayer guide is available here: https://barnabasfund.org/pray/prayer-diary/