Pray for the Persecuted
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place. (Acts 12:15-17)
Here we are the praying church doubting this particular and swift answer to their prayers. They assumed it might be a messenger imitating Peter’s voice or claiming to be him. They may have even thought of this particular “angel” or “messenger” as being the haunt of an evil spirit imitating him. However, they did not believe until Peter continued to knock and they opened the door. Then, they were astonished.
In the midst of the hubbub Peter motioned for silence and old his story. Then he told them to spread it while he disappeared beyond harm’s way. Peter cared for safety. He cared for the safety of the church. He cared for his own safety so he could live for another day. He knew the soldiers knew his habits and would soon be at the door of his friends. Precaution put him on the run and he distanced himself from Jerusalem.
This is a pattern repeated today in many places. I have been on missions of secret contact with Christians in other lands. We must realize that today Christians are dying for their faith. In one country we heard reports of crucifixions of Christians, beheadings, rape and torture.
Christ is hated. His followers have always suffered ridicule, punishment, torture and death at the hands of unbelievers. Jesus predicted this would be so. It has never ceased. It will never cease. Therefore, it is good for us to always keep that in mind, pray for the persecuted church and prepare ourselves for rejection. That preparation comes from the simple act of living out our faith with our eyes wide open and making it our chief purpose to grow in our most holy faith.