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P astor Richard Wurmbrand, who
was imprisoned for 14 years in
communist Romania, once said:
‘I have found truly jubilant Christians
only in the Bible, in the Underground
Church and in prison.’
Today thousands of Christians languish
in prisons around the world for their
faith. And it is hard to even put an
exact figure on the number since in
many repressive countries, such as
China and North Korea, the authorities
are deliberately opaque when it
comes to information regarding the
incarceration of Christians.
The imprisonment of Christians for
their faith is nothing new, however. In
Acts 16:16-40 we read about Paul and
Silas in jail. Even though they’d been
beaten and thrown into prison with
their feet shackled, they sang hymns
and prayed. Their praise in such a dire
situation caused those around them to
take notice and listen to them.
Their praise not only helped them
but also those who listened. An
earthquake shook the prison, and the
doors flew open. Everyone’s chains
came loose.
Roman law required jailers to take
personal responsibility for prisoners.
If Paul and Silas (and other prisoners)
had bolted when their chains came
loose, the jailer would have possibly
been put to death so, by not escaping,
they saved his life.
Their response also changed lives
eternally. Paul and Silas chose to stay
in the difficult circumstance they were
in (prison), when they could so easily
Praying and praising
in the face of adversity
How we react in tough situations
may have eternal significance, writes
Release International’s Alex Smythe
Of course it is easier to praise God
when life is going well but we can still
raise our voices when trouble comes
because He cares – for us and for our
brothers and sisters behind bars! So
let’s be encouraged to pray ceaselessly
for Christians in prison.
The world looks to see how Christians
will act and what we’ll do when we’re
in a bad situation. A good example
such as that of Paul and Silas’s may
change lives.
Their amazing demonstration of faith
by staying in prison when they could
have easily escaped affected other
prisoners and the jailer.
Of course Paul didn’t plan to go to
prison yet he was willing to submit to
God, continuing to praise Him even in
shackles. His willingness to suffer and
yet find joy in the moment is a great
example to us and to the countless
Christians around the world who are
similarly willing to suffer for their
faith today.
‘[Western Christians] can help
us best by leading the lives of
consistent Christians, lives of
sacrifice, [and] by protesting
publicly as often as Christians
are persecuted.’
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was imprisoned for 14 years in communist Romania in the
1950s and 1960s. In 1968 he inspired the founding of Release International, which today
continues his ministry to serve persecuted Christians around the world in the name of Jesus.
have escaped their suffering. That
example drew the jailer to realise that
there was something different about
them and he wanted whatever they
In an incredible act of discernment,
Paul knew not to run. He knew God
was working and using the bad
situation for something good. As a
result the jailer was saved.
There are many lessons to learn from
Paul and Silas in prison and they’re
applicable to Christians in prison today
for their faith and indeed our Christian
lives today.
When we’re suffering in a bad
situation, our instinct is to escape. We
don’t want to experience pain if there
is any way of avoiding it.
However, just like Paul and Silas, we
can lift up our prayers in times of
trouble to our God who cares. It is
also vital that we pray for Christians
in prison today – some who will be
undergoing unimaginable suffering.
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