November 17 I Tuesday
“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me His prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” —2 Timothy 1:8
When Christians are persecuted for sharing Christ, some governments may think that by locking the individual in prison, it will stop the spread of the gospel. But what we find in Scripture is even chains cannot keep the gospel from spreading.
This was the case for Paul. While he is imprisoned, he writes to the church of Philippi telling them what has happened: “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ” (Philippians 1:12-13). Paul was locked up in prison, which was meant to limit the gospel, but in actuality, it served to advance the gospel because Paul, as a missionary, was talking about Jesus Christ all the time. Paul understands he is in chains for the cause of Christ, so that Caesar’s household and the palace guard would come to faith.
Paul adds, “And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear” (Philippians 1:14). Paul’s faithfulness in sharing Christ even in prison not only emboldened the saints within the city, but also the house church movement throughout Rome to proclaim the gospel. Despite what was happening to him personally, Paul rejoices and celebrates that the gospel is advancing.
Paul also acknowledges the Philippian church for standing alongside him even during his trial. He writes, “Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:18-19). Paul recognizes something profound that we need to shape our understanding towards life, and that is, as we pray, we seek God’s provision, and in our intercession, we see God’s activity in the world.
Do we realize that prayer is an invitation to participate in God’s activity in the world? For some Christians, prayer is simply an exercise, a discipline to be observed, without real passion. Paul’s words remind us that prayer is a vital lifeline to join God in what He is doing all around the world. God is calling us all to stand alongside our brothers and sisters in the rest of the world who are enduring imprisonment and hardship through prayer. Like the Philippian church, would we commit to praying for them today?
Prayer: Lord God, nothing can stop Your gospel from spreading. Thank You for brothers and sisters, who are serving You in difficult places. May You empower them with boldness today.