Published: 00:01 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 02 April 2010
Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Martyrs
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”(Romans 8:35)
Through His death on the cross Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us. He died to set us free from the guilt and power of sin and to give us eternal life. Christ’s blood testifies to the Father’s love for us.
Since Jesus’ sacrifice of love, many Christians have clung tenaciously to this love even to death, and thus in turn have borne witness to its reality and power. Daniil Sysoyev, a minister active in evangelism among Muslims in Russia, was shot dead in his own church in 2009. He had been threatened with death if he did not stop preaching to Muslims, and his wife said that he always wished to receive a martyr’s crown. Fatima al-Mutairi, a young Saudi convert from Islam, was murdered by her family in 2008. Shortly before her death, she wrote a poem including this prayer: “As to my last words, I pray to the Lord of the worlds, Jesus the Messiah ... that He spread Love among you, O Muslims.” And George Orjih, a Nigerian pastor beheaded by Islamists in 2009 for refusing to convert to Islam, said to a fellow captive, “Tell my brothers that I died well, and am living with Christ. And if we all die, we know that we die for the Lord.”
These martyrs and many others are a testimony that there is indeed nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.