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PRISONERS AND CAPTIVES: REMEMBER THEM
by Elizabeth Kendal
|Ashiq Masih, husband of |
death-row prisoner Asia Bibi,
appeals for attention to her plight.
RLPB 436 (13 Dec 2017).
|Leah Sharibu (15), |
captive of Boko Haram.
RLPB 448 (28 March)
Compounding the hardship and physical suffering is the crushing heartbreak of separation from family and friends; many have no Christian fellowship and are denied access to the Bible. How vulnerable must these believers be (especially young, new believers) to the devil's fiery darts as he seeks to crush their spirit with doubts about God's presence, faithfulness, goodness and love. Nothing but the shield of faith will do (Ephesians 6:16) ... and this is where we come in. Christian prisoners and captives might grow exhausted and confused, but we will be there, fighting for them.
|Gao Zhisheng, disappeared (again).|
Serious concerns for his life.
RLPB 436 (13 Dec 2017)
|Jeff Woodke, speaking in the US (l) |
and serving in Niger (r).
Background: RLPB 413 (5 July 2017)
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT:
* the Spirit of God will powerfully sustain all Christians who are this day prisoners of hostile regimes, or captives of non-state actors. [Captors might be able to control the environment but they cannot control the Spirit of God!] May prisoners and captives find their strength renewed and spirits lifted as if on eagles' wings (Isaiah 40:31); may the Lord intervene for them to provide ministering angels at every turn. Imagine yourself 'in their shoes' – and pray! 'Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them ...' (Hebrews 13:3 ESV)
* the God of justice and righteousness will intervene to deliver justice for his people. 'But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.' (Amos 5:24 ESV).
* our Lord Jesus Christ will subvert all evil and redeem all suffering so that ultimately all things will 'work together for good' (Romans 8:28) and to the glory of his holy name.
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
REMEMBER PRISONERS AND CAPTIVES
Thousands of Christians are in prison for their faith, while others are held captive by jihadists. Men and women, who are Pakistani, Chinese, Indonesian, American, Indian, Nigeria, Colombian, European, Central Asian, Australian, Vietnamese, Iranian, Eritrean, Laotian, Burkinabe, North Korean and more. They include human rights lawyers like Gao Zhisheng (China), humble labourers like Asia Bibi (Pakistan) and foreign nationals like Andrew Brunson (an American pastor imprisoned in Turkey), Sister Gloria Narvaez (a Colombian missionary taken captive in Mali) and Dr Ken Elliot (an Australian missionary doctor taken captive in Burkina Faso). Christian prisoners and captives suffer physically, emotionally and spiritually, and are often exhausted and confused. Imagine yourself in their shoes -- and pray! 'Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them ...' (Hebrews 13:3 ESV).
She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).