Acts 26:1-18; Ruth 3-4; Psalm 48
Persecution against the followers of Christ has been around since before we were called Christians. Sometimes we in America think we’ve invented the concept of persecution when things don’t go our way. In truth, real persecution makes the problems we suffer here seem like nothing. Paul/Saul described what he used to do to King Agrippa in his defense. Followers of Christ were imprisoned merely for following Christ. They would be killed for their commitment. Yet God took Saul, one of these persecutors, and changed him. “’Then I asked, “Who are you, Lord?” ‘“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the Lord replied. “Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.”’” (Acts 26:15-16) Real persecution is occurring in our world today. Christians are being imprisoned, tortured, exiled, and killed in some areas of the world. The story of Saul’s conversion to Paul gives me hope. As terrible as these persecutions may be in some cases, God can still change those persecuting. And so I pray for those persecuting followers of Christ in the world today. I pray for Saul-like conversions in every pocket of persecution; may the former persecutors become servants and witnesses of the most High God to those with whom they work today.
Oh God, let it be so. Today there are those who would persecute Your people for religious or political reasons. Like Saul, they think they are doing Your work. I pray for those persecuting Your people. I pray for leaders in this persecution to see the light of Jesus. I pray for miraculous conversions so that the persecutors become witnesses of Your grace and glory. I pray for a revival of Your love to take place.