..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Opening your Heart to the Persecuted

I was just reading of the news of the
finding of letters written by Otto Frank,
the father of Anne Frank, who wrote her
classic diary hiding in an attic during
World War II. The letters are said to be
concerned with Mr. Frank's attempts to
find a safe haven for his family before
they were forced to go into hiding. All
were eventually found out and sent to
concentrations camps. Only Mr. Frank
emerged alive.

I started to think about those letters.
Thought "What if it were me?" Me
writing to friends, acquaintances, anyone
really, who might help. Thought about
what it would be like to beg for help,
really beg for life, for that was what
was at stake. Beg not just for me, but
for my children, and spouse.

I know it is hard to think about the
persecuted, and in this case I am
writing on behalf of persecuted
Christians, but really this is about
any unfairly persecuted person. It is
hard because it is hard to think about
pain, it is hard to think that people
willingly inflict great pain, even
death on others for what they believe.
It is hard to think that kind of pain
could come to me. It is hard not to feel
so helpless that it seems better not to
hear, not to know.

But we are not called to the sidelines
of fear and we are not helpless. Our
God watches over the whole world and
is able to act. We who are Christians,
are the Body of Christ on the earth.
I may pray in America, in my warm house
in New England, I may even feel guilty
praying, but my prayer is still
heard by God and can allow another part of
His Body to be upheld. It may release a way
out, protection, comfort, strength or

The Frank family suffered because no-one
opened their heart to them in particular.We can
try to escape our duty to the persecuted because
we can so easily say, "It is hard to pray for
people I don't know. My life is busy. Let God use
someone else to help them." What if one day
God says to you, "Let me show you the people
you were called to pray for. Let me show you
what I could have done if you had prayed."
Prayed instead of ignored. Prayed instead of
looked the other way. Prayed instead of watching
re-runs on t.v. The job can seem to big, it can
appear to belong to someone else, but no, if you
belong to Christ, then a small part belongs to you.

It is easy, in the inner city, to walk by someone
begging for money on the street. How many
thoughts run through our head about why we should
not help. It is the discomfort of the whole thing,
it is not knowing what to do. Whether we should
actually help in such situations is something we
have to ask God about. But opening our hearts to
pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters is a
little more "cut and dried." "Bear each
other's burdens and so fulfill the Law of
" (Galatians 6:2)." "Therefore as we
are given opportunity, let us do good to all
people, especially to those who belong to the
household of God"
(Galatians 6:10)

I heartily encourage you to open your heart to the
persecuted part of the household of God. Opening
your heart will lead you to concern and concern
will lead you to pray. Our brothers and sisters are
depending on us. One day soon we may need them to
pray for us.

Visit Voice of the Martyrs
and The Persecution Blog

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