Check out the HCPN devotion here: Day 2
Yesterday I experienced a range of emotions. Resurrection Sunday always brings with it excitement and a joyous celebration of God’s people. However, this Easter also brought with it a reminder of the persecuted church around the globe. Over 200 people were killed and over 500 injured during attacks on churches in Sri Lanka.
I am reminded of Jesus words, ““If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:18-20)
In Jeff Wells devotion for our 50 days of prayer (see link above), he refers to the persecution in the early church emphasizing the believers’ first response, “In this dire situation Peter and John report back to the church. What did the church do? “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God.”
You cannot read the gospels and not see the centrality of prayer in the life of Jesus. You cannot read the story of the early church in the book of Acts and not see the centrality of prayer. During these 50 days of prayer perhaps we can build in some habits that make prayer more a part of our lives individually and corporately:
1. Put prayer on your calendar. Bottom line, most of us live by our calendars and it is not an intentional plan unless it is on our calendar. The Jews of the first century had designated times of prayer and it is likely the early church continued this practice.
2. Pause and pray. When facing trying circumstance in life, take a minute to pause at that moment and pray. It may be a silent prayer but seek God strength, direction and wisdom at that moment. Know the outcome is under his sovereign control.
3. Pray together. This can be done on Sunday morning, in your community group or perhaps a group at your workplace. Every Sunday we sing songs which is a type of praise/prayer, and we have an Elder pray. Engage with those opportunities as we together are praying for the needs and mission of our church.