Today I am praying for the persecuted church. I just wrote all about a dream I had last night, that I was facing persecution for being a Christian, from those who were religious but not actually Christ-like. Kind of like Jesus faced. I wrote it, and my baby son managed to delete it. 

So rather than write that all out again, because I really don’t have time today, I thought I would at least send the result, which is that I woke in the middle of the night and felt I should pray for the persecuted church. 

All across America this weekend, we celebrate Good Friday and Easter. We rejoice, we cry, we see family and friends, and we observe the holiday in both frivolous and meaningful ways. But we can observe it however we choose, without fear. 

Many other people throughout the world do not have this freedom to openly worship and celebrate Jesus. When they read Scriptures about dying for Christ and denying self, it’s not in a metaphorical way about something we might choose to fast, or a decision to be compassionate instead of selfish. It’s really about dying, perhaps a brutal death. But they love and follow Jesus anyway. 

In The United States it is becoming harder to stand up for truly Christian values. Partly because there are a lot of things about Christ that people don’t really like. In America we tend to not want to submit to anyone, be patient for anything, deny ourselves any form of momentary happiness, love when it is uncomfortable, or keep any commitments that no longer seem to serve our own purposes and whims very well. It is hard to truly stay focused on Jesus when there are so many distractions and contrary messages. But truly, we have no idea what it is like to suffer for our faith. 

I would not wish suffering on anyone, but I do pray that God would help me to be more mindful of those who do suffer, especially those who suffer for Jesus’ sake. 

As you celebrate the Resurrection tomorrow, remember that our freedom to know and love God as we do was bought at a very great price, and remember that many people around the world are still paying the price today. Jesus made the way for us, but getting that message out sometimes still requires sacrifice. 

Jesus, you paid it all. Whatever you would have me give, please give me as willing a heart as you displayed. I love you, and I am thankful.