Summary: When your life becomes a prayer, in life and in death
LESSONS FROM MARTYRS
“ Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” ( Psalm 116:15)
Since the stoning to death of Stephen in the book of Acts, hundreds and thousands of many more Christians like him have met the fate that he did: Martyrdom. Jesus himself talked a lot about his followers dying for the faith. In Mk.12:1-12 Jesus gave a parable teaching that God sent many servants to his vineyard (Israel) but they ended up killing them until finally God said he would send his son whom they would also end up killing.
Jesus also prophesied to the Church in Matt 24:9, concerning how his followers will be treated: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.” I don’t know of any other religion that teaches to love the people but expects to be hated to the point that they would continuously be killed for fun, hatred and whatever. I don’t know of any religion and adherents that has been persecuted like Christianity.
Martyrs have prayed great prayers as we shall soon get to see, but the greatest prayers they ever pray is the prayer of their blood. Every martyr’s blood continues his prayer. Abel’s blood prayed for justice, but the blood of Jesus cried out for mercy. Every martyr’s blood cries out for God to answer their prayers and accomplish that for which they were killed. We must not misunderstand the Bible saying that their blood cries out for vengeance. As a matter of fact, when the Bible says vengeance with regards to the prayers and the blood of martyrs, it simply means a fulfilment of the reason for which they were killed. Have that in mind as you read the following scripture. Revelation 6:9 – 11…
All through history, the church has been at its best praying, soul wining and holy living during times of persecution. In Acts 12:12, James had just been martyred, Peter and some others arrested. The Bible says that many were gathered at Mary’s house to pray. It was during those prayers that an angel appeared to Peter and set him free. Verse 5 says; “…but prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him.”
What would your prayer be if you knew you would die in the next 5 minutes? Have you ever read the prayers of the two famous martyrs of scriptures with the exception of Abel? The following is an excerpt form John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I hope it blesses your life. It is an account of the persecution of the early church and how many of the Apostles/Disciples were killed
Emperor Trajan was one of the harshest rulers to Christians. Ignatius wrote the following before he was martyred “Now I begin to be a disciple. I care for nothing, of visible or invisible things, so that I may but win Christ. Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus!” As the lions roared and approached him, he said “I am the wheat of Christ: I am going to be ground with the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found pure bread.” (Foxes book of Martyr’s)