As we have been looking at the topic of remembrance this week, it’s time to think about remembering people in prayer. Paul uses this phrase in several places (Eph 1:16, 2 Tim 1:3, Philemon 1:4), and it is indeed a tremendous privilege to be able to remember people in prayer. We all need prayer! Paul was keen not only to pray for other people, but to ask them to pray for him: ‘pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.‘ (Eph 6:18-20)
This month, let’s focus our prayers not only on each other, however. Heb 13:3 reminds us to ‘continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.’ (Heb 13:3) This month’s prayer focus is on those suffering and persecuted. Pray for:
- those who are persecuted and suffer for the sake of the gospel, that the Lord may strengthen them, help them and their families and enable many people to come to faith through their example and faith (see Matt 5:11-12)
- charities seeking to minister to the suffering church (Open Doors, Syria Relief, Barnabas Fund, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Release International etc.) to be able to reach out and help all who suffer
- those who have lost loved ones in wars and who face uncertain futures (including refugees and those seeking asylum). This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, a time when we commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts. Pray for help and healing to be given to these people and their families and for God’s forgiveness and love to be seen in their lives.
- those who are in prison and all working in prisons to find Christ and receive the strength to live a different kind of life. Pray also for the rehabilitation of offenders when they are released from prison and for prison chaplains who work in difficult circumstances to bring the good news to prisoners
- those who are suffering illness (and their families and carers) to know God’s strength, help and comfort. Those who have long-term physical or mental illnesses often find it difficult to cope with everyday problems and need much support and help. Those who have terminal illnesses also need our prayers. Our God is full of mercy and compassion and understands our sorrows and troubles (see Is 53:3, Heb 2:10-18); He is a refuge and ever-present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1)