Read: John 5:16-18
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. (v. 16 NIV)
When I served as a youth pastor in Southern California, I also volunteered in a local high school as a lunch attendant. It was a great opportunity to serve my community and build relationships with teachers, staff, and students. I really enjoyed praying for the students as I walked around campus.
One day as I walked around the campus praying, several students started fighting. Campus security came and told the volunteers to help stop the fighting. As I broke up two students who were fighting, another student came up from behind, pulled my head back, and punched me right in the mouth! I was stunned, shaken, and shocked. Here I was a volunteer there to help out during lunch. I never expected to break up fights or get punched in the mouth! It was a powerful learning experience for me. This taught me that even when you pray—a good thing—you can expect opposition from the enemy.
Have you ever been praying or serving in the name of the Lord and then experienced spiritual warfare or persecution? It can even come from other believers. Instead of getting discouraged during trials and persecution, remember that Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). During those times, remember that Jesus has defeated our enemy and overcome the world! —Charlie Contreras
Prayer: Lord, give me the grace and strength to pray in the midst of trials and spiritual warfare. Help me to remember that you will never leave me. Amen.