Joan* loves purple, never seems to be without a smile, and dotes so much on the younger church children that’s she’s earned the nickname Mica Mama (little mother). She’s a delightful and typical middle schooler in every way you can imagine except she has just begun to endure a season of persecution that few her age have to face. At 12, she is beginning to experiential-ly learn the truth of 2 Timothy 3: 12, ““In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Joan’s story began a few years ago when Joan’s mother began regularly attending church services. She came faithfully and brought her children, but it didn’t take long for her ulterior motives to surface, and when she discovered that although the church does it’s best to help with physical needs, it does that by helping its members secure work not by perpetually providing handouts. When she realized that she wasn’t going to get the regular handouts she was hoping for, she stopped attending.
In the mean time, however, Joan had gone to a summer Christian camp and had embraced the gospel as her own. Even though her mother had stopped coming to church, she allowed Joan to continue to attend regularly. And Joan did. She came to everything and was especially faithful to attend the youth discipleship time (designed to teach older children and teens how to study the Bible for themselves). Recently at one of the meetings she expressed a desire to study the bible more and to share the gospel more and wistfully wondered out loud how much more time she’d have for such eternal activities if she just didn’t have to go to school and do her homework!
Over the last month, Joan has not been able to come. At first her mother would sporadically and seemingly on a whim forbid her, but recently her mother has grown increasingly antagonistic, and Joan hasn’t been able to come at all. Our formerly perpetually happy Joan has grown increasingly distressed and confused.
Please pray for Joan.
- Pray that she will experience an unusual peace and joy, knowing that this time of testing is limited and that the kingdom of heaven is hers. Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
- Pray that she will be supernaturally obedient and respectful to her mother that her mother might be won by her conduct. Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. And by principal 1 Pet. 3:1-2 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
- Pray that she will rest in the sufficient grace of Jesus and experientially learn 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. “‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
- Pray that Joan would know in a new way how loved and chosen she is of God. John 15:18-20 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
- Pray that the other members of our church and especially the other children will be encouraged and challenged by Joan’s faithful testimony. 1 Thessalonians 3:7 “for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.”
- Pray with us Paul’s prayer as we pray it for Joan, “as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? 1 Thessalonians 3:10 and pray that we are faithful in our praying for her.
*Because of European privacy laws, we have changed names and small details in this story.