Border police surveying the landscape
Border police surveying the landscape

Praying for Hiddenness

"When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day
and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and
let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket."
Acts 9:23-25 ESV

It may seem odd that one way we can intercede for persecuted believers is by praying for their ministry activities to remain undetected by authorities and those who wish them harm. Yet, in Matthew 5:16, Jesus teaches: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” So how can Christians let their lights shine and be hidden simultaneously?

Foot stepping on a small flower
Foot stepping on a small flower

Praying to Love and Forgive

"...Love your enemies, do good to those
who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.... And pray
then like this... ‘forgive us our debts, as
we also have forgiven our debtors.'"
Jesus' words in Luke 6:27-28; Matthew 6:9,12 ESV

Can forgiveness be sincere without the presence of love? In other words, does the failure to forgive lie in the inability to love the debtor? As I have contemplated this question, it appears that true forgiveness without love is impossible. Scripture verses like John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life," and Romans 5:8, "God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," reveal that love is a posture in the heart that makes forgiveness possible. Corrie Ten Boom wrote: "We must mirror God's love in the midst of a world full of hatred. We are the mirrors of God's love, so we may show Jesus by our lives."

Man with his hands raised in prayer
Man with his hands raised in prayer

Praying for Boldness

“…most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my
imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear.”

Philippians 1:14 ESV

The English puritan preacher William Gurnall wrote: “A minister, without boldness, is like a smooth file, a knife without an edge, a sentinel that is afraid to let off his gun. If men will be bold in sin, ministers must be bold to reprove.” 1

Hands resting on a Bible, holding a blue and yellow heart
Hands resting on a Bible, holding a blue and yellow heart

Statement on Ukraine

“Hammer away, ye hostile bands. Your hammers break; God’s anvil stands.”
~ Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, author of The Answer to the Atheist’s Handbook, quoting Reverend Samuel Valentine Cole (1851-1925)

During times of humanitarian crisis, The Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) is frequently asked how the mission will respond to any given situation. I understand that the motive behind such inquiries is based on genuine concern, and thus prompted by a desire to alleviate the suffering of those caught up in horrendous circumstances. Today, with the eyes of the world focussed on the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military, many are asking us how we are responding to the mounting humanitarian crisis – hence the reason for this issued statement.

Two people praying over a globe
Two people praying over a globe

Praying for Gospel Opportunities

“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the
Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison.”
Colossians 4:3 ESV

Nancy Pearcey is a Christian author who teaches extensively on the topic of worldview. She says:

“Every philosophy or ideology has to answer the same fundamental questions:

  1. Creation: How did it all begin? Where did we come from?
  2. Fall: What went wrong? What is the source of evil and suffering?
  3. Redemption: What can we do about it? How can the world be set right again?” 1

Woman weeping, shadow of Jesus with His hand on her shoulder
Woman weeping, shadow of Jesus with His hand on her shoulder

Praying for God’s Comfort

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies
and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we

may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with
which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in
Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV

What is a Christian’s responsibility in times of suffering? Is it to pray and/or read the Bible more? Is it about resolving to have more faith or trust in Jesus? Is it a matter of being willing to maintain a positive perspective while refusing to give in to adverse circumstances?

To be responsible means that you are accountable or answerable for something; and, in this case, that something is your response to affliction. Such a weighty thought. Yet, as every human will suffer on this side of eternity, it behooves us to accept suffering and ponder deeply on how we are to respond when it comes. James 1:2-4 takes the aspect of suffering further by explaining that hardships are essential for growth in faith: