Seth Udinski, FISM News
As the Western World moves away from Christianity and towards secularism, it becomes necessary for the Church to prepare for persecution. Christianity is returning to the fringes of society, as it was during the Roman Empire. This begs the questions: Should we as Christians pray for persecution? Should we appoint leaders who hate the Lord Jesus, because we know they will institute laws that guarantee persecution?
Some would argue that we should pray for persecution, since Jesus promised His followers it would happen. They point to the ancient church father Tertullian who famously said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” This is a true statement. The Church has historically experienced great growth during its’ most tumultuous times, especially in its earliest days under pagan Rome. At other points in history, such as the Middle Ages, when the Church was the dominant force in society, there was great spiritual darkness, where the Church often did more harm to the name of Christ than good.
We must understand: nowhere in Scripture are we told to pray for persecution, nor are we commanded to intentionally appoint wicked leaders so that we can be persecuted. We do not need to pray for persecution because we are promised it will happen. Jesus told His followers in John 15 that if they were faithful to Him, the world would hate them. The world should hate us, because we do not belong to it. The world hated Jesus first, and if we belong to Him, it will hate us too.
So what do we do? We respond in two ways: We expect persecution, and we rejoice when it happens, not because it is enjoyable or pleasant but because it reminds us of our unity with Christ. Rather than praying for persecution, let us pray that God would give us the strength to stand up under persecution when it inevitably comes. Let us also pray that God would grow His Church in the midst of persecution, for His glory.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33