Jump to Prayer FocusBible Passage for Meditation: 1 Peter 4:7-19
Key Verse: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” 1 Peter 4:12
While our final theme of 100 Days of Prayer is “Preparing for Heaven,” I think it’s important that we remember before we go to Heaven, we are going to face some pretty tough trials ahead.
From the time I was a little girl, I remember my parents teaching me about the trials and persecution that will come upon God’s people in the last days. It wasn’t scary to me. I remember reading the stories of Christian martyrs like the Waldenses, John Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, and others who faithfully stood for Jesus and paid the ultimate sacrifice in giving up their lives. Their undaunted courage and faith inspired me, and I’ve always prayed that God will give me that same courage if I’m ever asked to face death because of Christ.
And yet—while many Christians around the world suffer for their faith even today—for most of my life here in the West, I’ve been surrounded by peace, not persecution. Why is that?
“The apostle Paul declares that ‘all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.’ 2 Timothy 3:12. Why is it, then, that persecution seems in a great degree to slumber? The only reason is that the church has conformed to the world’s standard and therefore awakens no opposition. The religion which is current in our day is not of the pure and holy character that marked the Christian faith in the days of Christ and His apostles. It is only because of the spirit of compromise with sin, because the great truths of the word of God are so indifferently regarded, because there is so little vital godliness in the church, that Christianity is apparently so popular with the world. Let there be a revival of the faith and power of the early church, and the spirit of persecution will be revived, and the fires of persecution will be rekindled” (The Great Controversy, p. 48).
Yes, we have fallen asleep. However, I believe that God is waking up His people even now, and I see a revival of biblical godliness taking place in the hearts of many. At the same time, spiritual persecution seems to be increasing, and it’s getting closer and closer to home. This shouldn’t surprise us. Rather than being fearful, let’s rejoice and lift up our heads, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh.
Remember, the same God who gave courage and strength to the early church martyrs will give us strength as well when we need it (Deuteronomy 33:25). But we need to prepare ourselves and our families. How? By preparing our hearts!
“Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the Word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts” (Last Day Events, p. 66). “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict” (Ibid.).
You see, the key to preparing to die in the future is learning to die today. Daily we die to self, to our agenda, to our dreams and plans, to the call of the world. Daily we seek to live only to Christ. Then, as we study His Word, lay up His promises in our hearts (this is the best stockpiling!), and learn to live by faith through prayer (spending much time in prayer, wrestling for the salvation of others), we will grow stronger and stronger, clinging to Jesus. The days ahead aren’t going to be easy. Let’s not whitewash the truth. But God promises He will see us through if we cling to Him. Let’s not wait until we are in the fire to learn these lessons of faith and trust. Let’s learn today!
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Dear Heavenly Father, You tell us to expect persecution and trials on our journey to our heavenly home, and yet when we experience them we often question You and wonder if You have forsaken us. Forgive us, Father, for having such weak, faltering faith. We know the times ahead are going to be more difficult than we can even now imagine, but You promise You will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us how to cling to You with a faith that will not be swayed, no matter our sensations or feelings, no matter how much the world pressures us to conform. Teach us to rely upon Your Word alone (Isaiah 8:20). Make us strong so we can stand and honor You! Help us to be faithful to the very end. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
JOIN US in a SPECIAL TIME of PRAYER and FASTING: Starting on June 28th, our GC Prayer team will be fasting (some on raw food, some on Daniel’s fast etc, and some in other ways, like media fast). We will be fasting for 14 days, through July11th. We invite you to join us as we pray for God to work in a powerful way in the coming days! Click here to learn more about Daniel’s Fasting.