Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. Acts 14:19-20a
Today we hear from Open Doors’ author and co-worker, Anneke Companjen. These are the concluding paragraphs of her first book, Hidden Sorrow, Lasting Joy:
My husband, Johan, likes to speak on Acts 14 when he challenges Christians around the world to care for the Suffering Church.
In that chapter we read how the authorities won the crowd over and stoned Paul. They dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead.
“Period!” Johan tells his audience. “The devil wanted to put a period here. Paul was finished as far as the enemy was concerned. But God had other plans. The story continues, ‘But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city’ (Acts 14:20). Something happened that turned the devils period into God’s comma. What made the difference? The disciples’ prayer.”
God loves to change the devils periods into commas, and he’s still doing it today.
It is my heart’s desire that he will use you and me to make a difference in the lives of Christians who are persecuted for their faith around the world. We can reach out to them, each in our own church and community and in our own way, through awareness, through action, and most of all, through prayer.
RESPONSE: Today I will not underestimate the power of prayer for persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. I will pray asking God to turn the devil’s periods into His commas.
PRAYER: Pray for persecuted Christians today whether they are experiencing pain or pressure, guilt or relief, sorrow or joy, faith or denial, isolation or fellowship, prison or freedom, hope or despair, forgiveness or bitterness.
1. Anneke Companjen, Hidden Sorrow, Lasting Joy (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), pp. 216-217.