As followers of Jesus, we have chosen the side of good over evil. Nowhere is this clearer than in regions of the world where persecution is the costly price Christians pay for proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — places, for instance, where ISIS is ruthlessly executing our brothers and sisters in the faith.
While the battle with evil certainly has physical manifestations, the deeper and more important war is spiritual and internal. When evil attacks, we cry out in prayer for God to help us. And what we ask God for tells us a lot about what we really want, and in what we hope.
“God, Save Your People!”
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. (Psalm 6:4)
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” (Matthew 26:39)
“God, save me!” is a very normal and understandable response to the evil of persecution. We hear it from psalmists and in the first half of Jesus’s prayer in the garden before his crucifixion.
If my family or I were in prison, we would want scores of people to pray this prayer on our behalf. I would certainly pray this prayer myself. Yet we need to remember that it’s only half of what Jesus prayed in Matthew 26:39, because we can quickly move to praying,