Lord, you never promised your people a life free from suffering.
You never promised your church a mission free from persecution.
You never promised us an easy path to walk as we follow you.
In our comfortable land, where we can mistake social embarrassment for persecution, and where we so easily romanticise the virtue of being persecuted, we pray for those who today will face a martyr’s death because of their love for you.
We pray for those who live in fear, simply because they have chosen to follow you.
We pray for those who have been forced to choose between you and their family.
Where the church faces persecution and hardship, suffering and even death,
May the church also be so filled with your Spirit that they might cope with all the difficulties that face them.
Move us, we pray, to work for a world in which the horror of all persecution is challenged by the demand for justice.
Help us to offer practical support to those who find themselves in need because of religious and political persecution.
And allow us to see your face in the suffering church, to be challenged by their faithfulness, to learn from their love for you.