The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is a ministry serving persecuted Christians in restricted and hostile countries around the world. The stories of the atrocities the faithful still face today are shared and prayed over by believers who live out their faith in less threatening locations.
Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of VOM, could empathize well with those who had been imprisoned for their faith in Jesus Christ. He was a pastor who was sent to a communist prison in Russia for fourteen years. Three of those years he spent in solitary confinement and torture.
Many of Wurmbrand’s fellow prisoners died from tuberculosis. Medicine was available but would not be administered to the prisoners unless they gave up other names of Christians in their home village. No one did!
They turned their prison into a place of worship. They prayed for their guards. Each prisoner desired to practice tithing, giving a tenth of what they had back to God. Since their only asset was the daily ration of bread and broth they received, they collected a tenth from each prisoner in their ward and gave it to the sickest one among them.
The prisoners regularly sang praises to God. With no music to accompany them they used their chains as rhythm instruments.
In his book Tortured for Christ, Wurmbrand’s testimony offers a challenge to those of us who celebrate the freedom to worship today. During his time in prison, he said none of the prisoners died without their faith and hope remaining strong.
Praising God from prison is not new for believers. In Acts 16 we read about Paul and Silas being thrown in prison in the first century.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).
Some of the people with the greatest faith in the world today live and serve in the places of the greatest persecution. The greater the threat, the greater the faith.
We must remember that in light of eternity all threats against us are small in comparison.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
From where you are today, possibly in the middle of what appears to be some sort of prison, how can you continue to worship? Would you be able to pray for those who make your life feel like a prison sentence?
What do you have to contribute? If a prisoner can give a tenth of a piece of bread, then give thanks for all you have and worship God with a portion of it by putting it into service for His glory.
Are you in a situation that is not really the best environment from which to sing with praise and joy in your heart? Use the chains that bind you to pound out a rhythm to the glory of God!