April 2015 – Mecklenburg County

W&P Gathering – Praying for Persecuted Peoples! – Saturday, April 18, 2015

An internet definition search yielded the following:

Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering,  harassment,  isolation,  imprisonment,  internment, fear, or pain are all factors that may establish persecution.”

And for me,  the category of persecuted peoples must also include  women and children.

Although we prayed for our Christian brothers and sisters around the world throughout the night, our focus was on people groups who had yet been reached by the gospel. We had invited David Marino to come speak to us about his mission assignment in the Muslim world so that our targeted prayers would be more effective through understanding, and also we wanted to  help send him out.

Pray – Give – GO!

David gave us the facts about the 10/40 window and he brought forth powerful testimonies of the response to Jesus Christ amongst Muslims who for the first time were hearing the gospel preached. One of his stories brought home the power of the Word of God. David told us how one young man’s heart was completely changed after daily reading the Book of John. This man was demon-possessed and a hardened soldier for Islam; and now all he can think about is love and forgiveness.  “Simply witnessing Muslims hear the gospel and receive the New Testament for the first time is a testimony in itself. It is amazing to see their expressions as they hear of a God who is a Father and who has paid the debt of their sins through Jesus Christ.”

David charged us to pray, give and go!  He reported to us that there are an estimated 4.75 billion people living in the 10/40 window and 2.91 billion of them have little to no access to the gospel.  There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims and about 80% have never heard the gospel. In fact, there are only an average of 3 missionaries per one million Muslims.  David further awakened us by telling us that, although only 20% of Muslims are radical, that number is more than the total population of the U.S.  It’s time to get busy for the kingdom!

So we thanked the Lord for His great love, His great grace and His Word. We cried out for mercy and new life.  We prayed for missionaries already on the ground in Muslim communities and for more to be unleashed.  We came against the work of radical Islam and in particular ISIS. We prayed that they would have dreams and visions of Jesus and that they would give their hearts, minds and strength to the Lord!  But we also released angels to war against every evil work and we prayed a hedge of protection around the innocent. And we prayed for all who were suffering persecution across the globe.

We ended the night by praying for and prophesying over David as he was preparing to “GO”; and we also prayed for his soldier-friend who had accompanied him that night and for his “mission” (both military and spiritual) overseas.  It was such an honor and thrill to see young men sold out for Jesus and serving Him in their various callings and giftings. Our hearts are to join them soon in the refugee camps in the Middle East. We told them about our journey to Italy and the Waldensians, about the dream of radical worship warriors being sent out and the ties there to the Moravians, and our God-given passion for the Kurds and heart’s desire to visit Kurdistan in Northern Iraq.

We took up an offering for David and pledged that we would continue to pray for him as he journeyed forth this summer and in 2016. More to come!

(featured image is courtesy of David Marino)