"We Need Your Help!"
That's the cry of thousands of believers. Their cry is real. Their cry is urgent. Their cry is often hidden by the reports on the news, but their cry is there if we will listen... as churches and Christian businesses are burned and as believers are tortured, sexually assaulted, and killed.
"We Need Your Help!"
What if those were the words of people you know and love?
What if the cries for help were not some nameless folks on the other side of the planet who speak a different language and come from a different culture?
What if we heard those words as a cry for help from our family?
"We Need Your Help!"
You've seen the violence exploding across your TV screens. You've probably seen images of it on your computers, tablets, and mobile devices.
Just this week, possibly as a mockery of the original Passover where Israelites painted the blood of a lamb over their doorways (Exodus 12:1-13) to show their dependence upon God, Christians have had their homes and businesses marked by red paint over their doorways to show marauding vandals and religious Muslim extremists where to abuse, hurt, vandalize, and destroy the lives of those who believe in Jesus in Egypt, and especially in the city of Cairo.
So where is the outcry from our government... our congress representatives both men and women... our news anchors and outlets... or even from our churches and church leaders?
The Western press appears to be complicit with the violence since they seem totally unwilling to report widespread persecution and martyrdom about Christians around the world over the last decade. So will we hear anything from them now?
Thankfully, USA Today has been a voice of concern. Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel — from opposite sides of the political spectrum — have clearly sounded the alarm in their recent piece in USA Today. Their words are spot on, convicting, and a call to action to all of us — please read their dialogue article, "Egypt Christians Need Help." But for months, at least since April, very little has been reported on this violence and most of our churches have said very little as well.
Our combined silence and lack of help stands in stark contrast to the early church. One of the hallmarks of the early disciples is that they helped each other across racial, political, and geographic differences (Acts 6:1-7; Acts 11:27-30; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15).
Where is our united voice of concern?
Where is the Facebook rally to believers worldwide to pray? Several sites are there, but most of us yawn and run to more frivolous stuff that interests us more.
There have been voiced warnings from a few from organizations that seem to focus on these issues, but by and large our churches, our media, and our government have seemed at best unbothered and unconcerned about the loss of life, loss of freedom, loss of safety, and the loss of future for persecuted followers of Jesus anywhere in the world, but especially in the Muslim world.
That's pretty strong language, so, why is this is a big deal to us at Heartlight.org?
Well, it's been a concern for a while in my heart as someone who tries to keep up with the violence against believers and the martyrdom through the Persecuted Church website and updates. But this is a personal issue for us now. For a year we prayed for God to lead us to Arabic and Urdu (Pakistan underground church) translators for our website Verse of the Day — a site that offers a daily devotional in 10 languages. Just recently, we have been led to translators in each of these languages.
But here's the rub. One of our translators is in harm's way. The translator appears to be safe for now, but escalating violence and a lack of concern expressed on the part of our government, our press, and most shockingly, our churches, leaves them defenseless and without emotional, spiritual, and prayer support.
So what can we do?
Pray. This is the place to begin. Be specific.
- Pray for our fellow believers and God's miraculous protection and deliverance in this interim where they are unprotected and unsupported.
- Pray for those you know in harm's way — missionaries, churches, believers in specific countries — and pray for them by name. This would be a good time if you have children or grandchildren to point out places where these believers are located and pray for them by country.
- Pray, please, specifically for our translators and those who receive our messages who are in harm's way. They are part of our heartlight.org and verseoftheday.com family. They share faith in Jesus, who shed his blood to make us family.
- Pray for the Western church, pampered with every luxury in our church facilities, arguing and debating over everything from carpet color to worship styles, to awaken to our selfishness and to see our world Christian family in need and facing extreme situations with faith and courage. Pray for us to hear the call of the Holy Spirit to awaken and help!
- Pray for our press, media, and political leaders to recognize and address the current realities with care and concern. Remember what Paul urged Timothy?
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity — the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time (1 Timothy 2:1-6 NLT).
Act! Don't just pray. Praying without doing something in response to our prayers is a lack of faith.
- Take the time to write your state U.S. Congress representative and Senators and ask them to make noise, sponsor legislation, give press releases, and pressure our President and current administration to more aggressively defend the rights of Christians like they lobby for other groups. Petition the U.N. to investigate these crimes and give it their deserved attention.
- Join a Facebook page of concern and prayer to give a voice across cultures for the Persecuted Church and our fellow believers under persecution — one I've seen is found here on FB.
- Ask your church leaders to set aside a time to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters.
In the name of Jesus, because you love the people of Jesus, please choose to help in some way!
Take time this week to pray and act on behalf of those who have no other voice right now other than their fellowship believers. We must remain silent no more or our silence becomes complicit as the neglect of those who don't care.