round the world, there are many full-time Christian workers faithfully carrying out God’s call on their lives to share the Gospel and build up the Body of Christ in their own countries or their own people-groups. Living at a very simple and basic level, in places where they face hostility from the community and from the authorities, their ministry can be lonely, under-resourced and dangerous. Many are from churches whose members are too poor to be able to adequately support the full-time workers, even if all are giving generously.
Christian leaders are often selected as targets by those who violently attack God’s people, so their lives are in greater danger than other Christians. Governmental authorities seeking to weaken the Church also tend to focus their harassment on Christians in leadership roles. In Iran, for example, ordinary converts from Islam will be arrested and detained for just a couple of days. But those who are active in evangelistic outreach or in leading house churches will be detained for longer periods, some of them for many years.
Those who lead churches and disciple believers in Muslim-majority communities often provide a lifeline of encouragement to completely isolated Christians. Barnabas is supporting Yohanes and his wife Pujiati who are church-planting in Indonesia. They have started ten congregations in the last ten years. When Islamists forced their church building to close, they refused to give up and renovated another building for the new believers.
Give thanks to God for pastors, church-planters and evangelists who serve Him in the face of opposition and violence. Ask the Holy Spirit to equip and empower them for ministry and provide for their practical needs. Ask for them to be protected from attacks from the majority community, harassment from the authorities and unjust penalties for their service to God. Pray for fruitful ministries, with lives transformed by the Gospel of Christ and churches strengthened to face persecution with courage and perseverance.