Pray for Persecution???

Posted: December 2, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Book Reviews, Christ & Culture, Missional Thought, Suffering, The Mysterious World of American Evangelicalism
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Here is an excerpt from John Piper’s book, “Finally Alive” –

What Will It Take Today?

What will it take so that thousands of Christians in our churches become passionate about telling the gospel to unbelievers? One of the reasons we don’t do it as much as we should is that life in America is so entertaining that thoughts about desperate, eternal, spiritual need are hard for us to feel, let alone talk about. The world is just too interesting and entertaining. It feels awkward to make ourselves or others uncomfortable with thoughts about perishing people. It’s heavy. But life in America is light.

So perhaps what God will choose to do is what he did for the church in Jerusalem. They were not moving out from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world in evangelism the way Jesus told them to in Acts 1:8. So Stephen was raised up to bear such irresistible testimony (Acts 6:10) that the only way his adversaries could handle him was to kill him (Acts 7:60).

And when they did, the persecution spilled over onto all the Christians in Jerusalem. “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1). And what was the result? Acts 8:4: “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Literally: “Those who were scattered went about gospelling the word (euangelizomenoi ton logon, Acts 8:4–5). They weren’t preachers. They were just ordinary folks, thousands of them (Acts 2:41). After they were driven out of their homes, they went everywhere telling the good news.[1]

God will bring persecution to awaken his children from their slumber if that’s what’s needed. While we shouldn’t pray for persecution per se, we should pray for another Great Awakening to sweep over Christ’s Church across. If God brings persecution upon the Church, then we should see it as a gracious providence intended for the salvation of many and therefore rejoice in it. Are you willing to suffer?

[1] Piper, J. (2009). Finally Alive: What Happens When We Are Born Again (171–172). Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications Ltd.


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