UPDATE: This post talks about the persecuted church and what life is like for some Christians around the world. In his address today President Obama said in part: “As we give thanks for our liberties, we must never forget those around the world, including Americans, who are being held or persecuted because of their convictions. Let us remember all prisoners of conscience today, whatever their faiths or beliefs and wherever they are held. Let us continue to take every action within our power to secure their release. And let us carry forward our Nation’s tradition of religious liberty, which protects Americans’ rights to pray and to practice our faiths as we see fit.”
I have focused all of my posts for nearly the past week on prayer in preparation for the National Day of Prayer. It occurred to me yesterday that while most of my readers are in the Untied States there may not be a nationally recognized day of prayer where you live. One of my regular readers from Australia reminds us to be thankful we have such a day and rightly so.
I was privileged this morning to listen to Pastor Wally Magdangal in Rome, GA. Pastor Wally, as he likes to be called, led an underground church in perhaps the most inhospitable locale for Christians in the world – Saudi Arabia at the time of the Persian Gulf War. In 1992 he was imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to death by hanging. He was delivered less than two days before his scheduled execution on Christmas Day. Today he and his wife live in Sacramento, California and he is the founder and president of Christians in Crisis. The church in America knows little of persecution and it is good to be reminded of our many blessings. Wally Magdangal was in chains on death row and continued to share the Gospel with other death-row inmates. He can laugh now as he recalls asking “What else can they do to me?”
At 12:30 local time many different “flavors” of Christians will gather around Gordon Hospital in a circle and pray. It takes several hundred people to join hands around the entire campus but it was incredible to watch last year and I’m looking forward to being a part of it again shortly. Below is a picture of last year’s event. Some years ago the county gave up the hospital which is now run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church; while I do not agree with everything they teach, they do our community a great service providing the hospital and emergency services. There is a prayer garden, portraits of Jesus and verses of scripture on the walls throughout the building. They invite the community each year to gather for prayer and we as believers should be all about that!