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     When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them. Rev. 6:9-11(NLT)

     Dear heavenly Father, images of our orange-clad Egyptian brothers, paraded along the seashore before their martyrdom, brought many emotions to play in my heart. I felt a moment of fear, then anger and disgust, and then a tad of hatred for enemies of the cross and a longing for vengeance. I felt all of these things, until I entered the sanctuary of your Word.

     Father, though I don’t fully understand, I rest in the assurance that you are as sovereign over the number of your children to be martyred, as you are in control of sunrise and sunset, seedtime and harvest, the day Jesus entered our world and the timing of his return. You give and you take away, blessed be the name of our Lord.

     The Lamb who was broken for our sins, is alone worthy to break the seals of your unfolding story of redemption and restoration. There’s no consternation or vexation in heaven, just exaltation of the God who does all things well—in your time and in your way. “Stuff” doesn’t just happen; sovereignty is always happening. We believe; help us when we feel weak, Father.

     When will Jesus return, and when will you avenge the glory of your name and eradicate all evil? You delay because you are a merciful and grace-full God. Through Jesus, you have secured a family as numerous as stars, sand, and dust, from all nations and people groups. Perhaps among those who took the lives of our Egyptian brothers is another like Saul of Tarsus, whom you call and appoint another Apostle of Grace (Acts 7:54-59).

     So we pray for grieving families in Egypt, Father, and we join the cry of martyrs in heaven, “How long, O Lord?” Grant us grace and courage, to share the gospel, serve our neighbors, and love our enemies, until this day becomes that Day. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ beautiful and triumphant name. 

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10 thoughts on “A Prayer in Response to the Martyrdom of the Egyptian Christians”

  1. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

  2. Sean says:

    Thank you for this. This is a good and needed prayer . . . love for enemies, a cry for justice and a longing for Jesus, empathy with those in suffering. I love the part about another Saul of Tarsus.

    I do want to add a footnote, however, that I think it would be good to have some precision in our use of the word “martyr” so that its depth of meaning (and hence, spotlight on the worth of Jesus) does not become watered down).

    I do not know the hearts of these Coptic Egyptian men and many true followers of Jesus may have been among them. That said, I have met several Catholic background cultural Christians from the Middle East who are some of the most licentious people I’ve ever met and don’t follow Jesus in any sense of the word. I believe this to be a widespread trend in the historic Christian communities of the Middle East. There is a difference between being persecuted because you are actually following Christ and between being persecuted because you are ethnically and politically connected with the wrong side in a conflict.

  3. Geoffrey Isom says:

    I am sadden at the loss of these brothers, but I rejoice knowing that they are with the LORD.

  4. Mike Ronk says:

    Anyone who is familiar with the doctrines of Coptic Church will recognize that it is not at all Biblical in its soteriology. Hence, I am saddened by this posting. Either Mr. Smith fails to hold a Biblical soteriology, or he is ignorant of the tenets of Coptic religion. Salvation by faith alone in the shed blood of Christ defines a Biblical “gospel.” Salvation in baptism, works and prayers to Mary and dead people will not save and those who hold to such doctrines cannot be brothers of those who have truly been born again. More concerning is that quest for non-confrontation, a quest for unity, and inclusiveness have blurred if not replaced a clear understanding of the means by which men and women are saved from judgment and made heirs of eternal life. this reality needs to break our hearts and call us to understanding and preaching a true gospel which alone can save and make us true brothers with those who respond to it. Trevin Wax raised the point in his blog post…( titled Gospel Definitions, dated Sep 14, 2009 | Trevin Wax

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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