Once again this morning I awoke early, made coffee, and opened the Bible. Today, two things met together and moved me to pray.
First, my daily reading was Psalm 27. Here I read, “Teach me your ways, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.”
I must admit that often when I read passages in the Bible about enemies, real ones who kill people, I don’t know how to relate to them. Sure, I’ve had my share of conflict with people, but I’m not living in fear today that someone is planning my harm, or death.
Second, I read from a daily prayer calendar about the plight of Christians in Somalia1. There are 15 million people in Somalia, and only a few hundred Christians. According to Open Doors, these Christians are under constant threat of attack as they live in an Islamic country under Sharia law. Their persecution almost always involves violence.
Who are these Christians? Where do they live? Are they in the capital city of Mogadishu, or in a small rural village? Does anyone in their family know they are Christians? Do they ever meet together for worship and Bible reading, and if so, how and where? Do they own a Bible? If they do, where do they hide it? Do they have jobs? Are they young or old? How did they become Christians? What is their emotional and mental state as they live under constant stress and fear?
What are the persecutors like? Do they really understand what, and who, they are persecuting? If so, why are they opposed to Jesus, to the gospel, and to grace and truth?
What are the encounters between these violent people and the Christians like? Do they refuse to sell them food? Have they confiscated their property? Do they physically beat them? What are the circumstances that would lead to the death of one of these Christians?
As I wondered about this small band of Somali Christians (under one thousand scattered among millions), I realized they are my brothers and sisters. We are related by Christ’s blood and the new birth of the Spirit. We call on God our Father who is in heaven. We will be together someday.
This morning, I related to Psalm 27. The cry of David became my cry on behalf of Somali Christians. His words and their world met in my mind and moved me to pray.
Today, read the word with the world in mind. As you do, be moved to pray. As you pray, be ready to obey.
1 You can find resources for prayer for the persecuted church at OpenDoorsUSA.org