“Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Acts 6:8
The Voice of the Martyrs is a ministry that supports and encourages persecuted Christians across the globe. The stories of people who willingly and courageously die for their faith always leaves me speechless.
Often, I am reminded of Stephen from the pages of Acts 6. Stephen was bold in his faith and full of mercy. It cost Stephen his life to stay true to his belief that Jesus Christ is God’s One and Only Son. Stephen knew that he was a part of something bigger than himself and that his persecutors would not have the final word on his Christian faith.
One of those persecutors was Saul. Saul did not just watch Stephen die, but he gave his “approval” (Acts 8:1). Was Saul included in Stephen’s final prayer to God to forgive his murderers? You bet! That is one powerful prayer when you think about it. Saul was an enemy to Stephen and all other early believers. Saul caused many problems for the new church and was a constant irritant.
Can you relate to having a constant irritant in your life? Is there someone who causes you problems and you are just not sure what to do about it?
We are commanded to pray for our enemies, and Stephen took that literally (like we should). God answered that prayer, and quite possibly, because of that prayer, God saved Saul from the pit of hell. We read in Acts 9 about God appearing to Saul, rebuking him, making him a new creation, and providing him with the mercy and grace to become one of God’s greatest apostles.
What a prayer of forgiveness can do!!