When bowing my head to give a prayer of thanksgiving, I will add God's word to my list of blessings. Believers in my community, have easy access to the Bible and to the teachers of God's word. I can read Scripture on my computer and on my phone. I can have a passage read to me at the click of a button. Unfortunately, many aps arenít used and many Bibles sit on the shelf, gathering dust. While access to it is easy, we become complacent about searching out the truth that is contained inside. Easy access doesnít make Scripture less valuable. It is still Godís wordóthe difference between life and death. Perhaps, if we lived in some other countries, we would treasure Scripture.
There are many Christians who don't have the blessing of reading a bible or attending a Christian church. They must meet with other believers in secret, and experience fear each time there is a knock on the door. In some countries, being found with in possession of a Bible can be cause for imprisonment.
The Bible is currently banned or restricted in fifty countries. Christians around the world are persecuted and many fear for their lives. Persecution is defined as any hostility that Christian believers experience because of their identification with Christ. This can include hostile attitudes, words, imprisonment, and hurtful actions toward Christians.
Some governments have passed laws to contain and limit a person's faith, to strictly within the confines of the home with no outside demonstration of faith. Other countries govern even what a person believes in private. They seek to ban all expression of the Christian faith, even in the home. Unbelieving friends and relatives can report Christian activity to the authorities.
What would I do if, suddenly, I was not allowed to read Godís word?
What would I do if all churches were closed or burned?
- I know that faith comes from hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:17)
- I know that the word of God is alive and powerful. It exposes our inner thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12)
- I know that Scripture is inspired by God. It teaches what is true and makes us aware of what is wrong in our lives. God uses it to prepare and equip his people for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- I know that reading or hearing God's word and acting on it creates a strong foundation for life. A life with that solid foundation, will withstand storms and hard times. (Matthew 7:24-27)
- Jesus said that his followers would be persecuted. They hated him and will hate anyone who keeps his word. (John 15:18-21 John 16:1-4 Matthew 10:21-22)
- Jesus prayed for us because of the certain persecution. (John 17:14-18)
My prayer of thanksgiving.
Heavenly Father, I am grateful for your word, recorded in the Bible. I am thankful for the freedom to worship. Remind me of how precious that freedom is, so I don't take it lightly. I pray for the safety of Christians around the world, who don't have the freedom I enjoy.