How to Pray for the Persecuted Church (Thoughts on Psalm 10)

prayer-man-armsChristians around the world face persecution every day. What should we do when non-Christians attack us either verbally or physically? Psalm 10 provides a model prayer for us. Whether you are facing opposition yourself or know of those who are, this psalm provides at least four specific ways to pray the prayer of the persecuted.

Express your frustration to God.
When confronted with unfair treatment, it can seem as if God has abandoned us. This is how the psalmist felt when he prayed, “Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1).

Have you ever experienced this type of despair? It is to be expected; we need not be surprised if such feelings surface. Even the most mature believer can struggle with moments of doubt. If this is what you are dealing with today, tell God about it. Be honest with Him. Let Him know that He seems distant and that you are eager for the joy of His presence to become a reality again.

Tell God what is happening.
The wicked often have the upper hand. In Psalm 10:2-11 the psalmist goes into great detail regarding the evil ways of the proud unbeliever. “In his arrogance the wicked hunts down the weak . . . His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats . . . From ambush he murders the innocent . . . His victims are crushed . . . He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees’” (Psalm 10:2, 7, 8, 11).

This person not only pounces on God’s people, he then claims that God is clueless as to what he’s been doing. He views himself as invincible and above the law.

If you are experiencing such atrocious acts, it is perfectly understandable to cry out to God about it.

Ask God to intervene.
Next, the psalmist urges God to take action and bring the guilty to justice. “Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless . . . Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out” (Psalm 10:12, 15).

When we long for sinners to be tried in the courtroom of heaven, we cannot hold such desires inside. We should go to the throne of grace and plead for our deliverance and our enemies’ punishment.

At the same time, in light of Jesus’ command to love our enemies, we should also be praying for God to redeem those who are persecuting us. Yes, I know it seems contradictory, but it is one of those paradoxes of biblical truth. It is appropriate to both pray for justice to prevail and for sinners to be saved.

Find solace in the compassion and sovereignty of God.
The psalmist has poured out his soul from the pit of despair. Things seem hopeless. Yet he has not given up. His faith is intact as he reminds himself of the tenderness of our Savior. “But you, O God, do see trouble and grief” (Psalm 10:14).

Furthermore, the justice of God will ultimately prevail, for “You are the helper of the fatherless . . . You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more” (Psalm 10:14, 17, 18).

We may not know how long the suffering will last, but we do know that one day it will end. When the Messiah returns for His people, the righteousness of God will triumph and the pride of the wicked will be no more, for “The LORD is king for ever and ever” (Psalm 10:16).

In this psalm the writer has traveled from the valley of gloom to the mountaintop of faith. This is the journey of the persecuted saint. It is the hard road of discipleship that Jesus predicted would be our portion. May we persevere in the loving arms of our heavenly father, knowing that “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Psalm 10 is a gripping reminder that the journey of faith cannot be completed without spending much time on our knees.

Wayne Davies

Wayne Davies

To receive 2 free gifts to help you read, study and understand the Bible, just click on my picture (to the left) or my name (directly above).
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