Bishop Gary Mueller: A Call to Prayer for Persecuted and Martyred Christians

bishop-letterhead-GEM

Dear Ones,

There has been an alarming rise in the number of Christians who are being persecuted and killed. Much of this persecution is occurring in the Middle East and Africa, and involves terrorist groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram. But it is a mistake to think it is limited to specific regions or groups, because sisters and brothers around the world are experiencing the same fate.

There has been deafening silence in the face of this crisis. Sadly, much of it has come from Jesus’ Church. We no longer can be silent. It is time to speak boldly and join together in prayer on behalf of those suffering and dying simply because they are followers of Jesus.

I am joining with other United Methodist bishops in inviting United Methodists to pray on behalf of Christians facing persecution. Nothing could be more fitting as we grow closer and closer to the final steps on Jesus’ journey to the cross, where he died so we might live.

Certainly we must speak out whenever someone is persecuted, tortured or killed – whether or not they are persons of other faiths or no faith. But I feel a special sense of urgency to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in face of increasing persecution, suffering and death.

I invite all United Methodist Churches in Arkansas to join me in praying during the week of March 22-28 for our sisters and brothers in Christ facing persecution. I hope you will begin the week by using the prayer below in a special time of prayer during worship on Sunday, March 22.

God of us all,

You love us so passionately that You sent Your Son to help us experience the fullness of divine love. And while we love You, we are not often asked to risk our lives because of our faith.

This is not true for many of our sisters and brothers in Christ. Our hearts break as we see more of them suffering and dying simply because they are living as disciples of Jesus.

We pray for their safety and sanctuary. We pray that You will give them grace in suffering. We are humbled by the witness of these martyred for their faith. We pray for their persecutors, and that acts of violence and persecution will cease.

Help us to grow in our commitment to live as Jesus’ disciples. Remind us that we are the One Body of Christ: when one member suffers, all suffer. Stir us to pray unceasingly. And empower us to speak boldly.

We pray all of this in the name of our Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ.

Amen.

Grace and peace,

GEM_signature

Gary E. Mueller
Resident Bishop


Download: A Call to Prayer for Persecuted and Martyred Christians