Starting off first with this fact. There are over 200 million Christians being persecuted in the world THIS VERY MOMENT. Think on that. People being starved, beaten, killed, imprisoned, families in poverty because the breadwinner was removed from the home, beheadings, torture, kidnapping of children and adults... ALL for the sake of Christ. THINK on those numbers. Think on those people.
This is not people being mildly sneered at or frowned at for expressing their faith. This is not groups being not allowed to perform because they mention the name of Christ. This is real, earnest HARD stuff for people to go through. ISIS is a threat, but so are governments that hate Christians. This is groups of militants terrorizing countrysides. It's real and it's hard and we NEED to pray and think about our suffering brothers and sisters in the world who NEED to be reminded of the comfort that God is. They need us to pray for strength and steadfastness and hope in better things to come. For us to pray that they remember they need not fear death for God is indeed the overcomer.
Leader: Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow.” (Luke 9:23)
People: Lord, we follow you, casting aside all earthly treasures and our own selfish desires.
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me, will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? (Luke 9:24-25)
Lord, we remember those who have literally lost their lives, only to be found in you. Grant us grace not to love our own lives, even unto death.
“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory, and in the glory of the Father, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26)
We are not ashamed of the cross, or of Christ’s sufferings. We are not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
Paul, a prisoner for Christ said, “Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.” (II Timothy 1:8)
We are not ashamed, but we join with those who are suffering for the Gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life. (II Timothy 1:8-9)