Open Bible on a rock; water with the reflection of the sun in the background
Open Bible on a rock; water with the reflection of the sun in the background

Praying for Refreshing

"...take the helmet of salvation and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the Word of God...."

Ephesians 6:17 ESV

My father, Klaas Brobbel, travelled to northern Ghana several years ago to connect with a ministry partner. One of the people he met during this trip was a young woman who had been experiencing persecution because of her conversion to Christianity. After introductions, she began to tell her story. As my father listened, he noticed that this soft-spoken young woman appeared quite timid. When she finished sharing her testimony, Klaas felt impressed to ask her a couple of questions.

Man praying at a window
Man praying at a window

Praying to Rejoice in Suffering

"Then [the apostles] left the presence of the council, rejoicing that
they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name."

Acts 5:41 ESV

People tend to equate the act of rejoicing with celebration. Loss, sickness and suffering of any kind do not naturally spark within the human heart a joyful response. And yet, throughout the Bible, we find the consistent message that rejoicing is not dependent on external circumstances, which in turn should never dictate nor limit one’s capacity to be glad. The following verses (in context) highlight this truth throughout the Scriptures.

  • “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
  • “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…” (Romans 5:3).
  • “And Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation’” (1 Samuel 2:1).
  • “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

Border police surveying the landscape
Border police surveying the landscape

Praying for Hiddenness

"When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day
and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and
let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket."
Acts 9:23-25 ESV

It may seem odd that one way we can intercede for persecuted believers is by praying for their ministry activities to remain undetected by authorities and those who wish them harm. Yet, in Matthew 5:16, Jesus teaches: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” So how can Christians let their lights shine and be hidden simultaneously?

Foot stepping on a small flower
Foot stepping on a small flower

Praying to Love and Forgive

"...Love your enemies, do good to those
who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.... And pray
then like this... ‘forgive us our debts, as
we also have forgiven our debtors.'"
Jesus' words in Luke 6:27-28; Matthew 6:9,12 ESV

Can forgiveness be sincere without the presence of love? In other words, does the failure to forgive lie in the inability to love the debtor? As I have contemplated this question, it appears that true forgiveness without love is impossible. Scripture verses like John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life," and Romans 5:8, "God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," reveal that love is a posture in the heart that makes forgiveness possible. Corrie Ten Boom wrote: "We must mirror God's love in the midst of a world full of hatred. We are the mirrors of God's love, so we may show Jesus by our lives."

Man with his hands raised in prayer
Man with his hands raised in prayer

Praying for Boldness

“…most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my
imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear.”

Philippians 1:14 ESV

The English puritan preacher William Gurnall wrote: “A minister, without boldness, is like a smooth file, a knife without an edge, a sentinel that is afraid to let off his gun. If men will be bold in sin, ministers must be bold to reprove.” 1

Hands resting on a Bible, holding a blue and yellow heart
Hands resting on a Bible, holding a blue and yellow heart

Statement on Ukraine

“Hammer away, ye hostile bands. Your hammers break; God’s anvil stands.”
~ Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, author of The Answer to the Atheist’s Handbook, quoting Reverend Samuel Valentine Cole (1851-1925)

During times of humanitarian crisis, The Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) is frequently asked how the mission will respond to any given situation. I understand that the motive behind such inquiries is based on genuine concern, and thus prompted by a desire to alleviate the suffering of those caught up in horrendous circumstances. Today, with the eyes of the world focussed on the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military, many are asking us how we are responding to the mounting humanitarian crisis – hence the reason for this issued statement.