Christians should stand in solidarity with their Christian family in Indonesia through prayer and financial support, the head of Open Doors Australia has said.
On Sunday, two suicide bombers detonated explosives outside a Catholic church in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, right after its Palm Sunday mass. Fourteen people were injured and one suicide bomber was killed in the attack.
The police have not yet pinned down the attack on any group, and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Open Doors Australia CEO Mike Gore said that it’s important for Christians in Australia to stand in solidarity with their Christian family in Indonesia.
“We believe that caring for the persecuted church should be part of the DNA of everyone who calls themselves a Christian,” he told Hope 103.2.
“For us, standing in solidarity in both a prayer sense but also a financial sense are two really important elements to showing support for our Indonesian neighbours at this moment.”
Every Easter, Open Doors Australia asks people to take part in its ‘One With Them’ initiative to donate a day’s wage to the persecuted church and take a moment to pray for it.
“We believe that caring for the persecuted church should be part of the DNA of everyone who calls themselves a Christian.” – Mike Gore, CEO of Open Doors Australia
How to pray
Prayer for these tragic events can often be difficult. People often wrestle with knowing if they should pray for it to stop or pray for help, Mr Gore said. He offers three tips for prayer.
“Pray for peace, wisdom, grace, all of those things for people who are victims,” he said.
“Pray for the persecutors, that they may come to know God in this moment, and [pray] that we would all take a closer step to Him in our understanding of faith and the cost of following Jesus here in Australia.”
Praying for the persecutors might sound strange, but this is what the Bible tells us to do, Mr Gore said.
“Now it’s very, very hard to get your mouth around prayer for the people who commit these crimes, but we need to remember that the Bible tells us to bless those who persecute you,” he said.
This tragic event has dampened the spirits of Indonesian Christians in the lead-up to Easter.
“It’s like a sweet-and-sour moment because you’ve got this one part of you that desperately wants to celebrate this landmark event, married with a big fear that celebrating could cost you your life,” Mr Gore said.
“Now it’s very, very hard to get your mouth around prayer for the people who commit these crimes, but we need to remember that the Bible tells us to bless those who persecute you.” – Mike Gore, CEO of Open Doors Australia
Understanding suffering in a Western country
For Christians in Western countries, it can be difficult to think through tragic events like this.
“In Western countries, we would say that suffering is a betrayal of the gospel. But suffering isn’t a betrayal of the gospel, it’s the essence of the gospel,” Mr Gore said.
“In fact, for me, the lens that I’ve learnt to see this through is that sadly these kinds of acts of violence are a hauntingly beautiful confirmation that the gospel is true and correct.”
The Bible talks about a world that gets worse before it gets better, the cost of following Jesus, and the power of Jesus that drives people to do unimaginable things, he said.
Open Doors Australia currently has teams on the ground assessing the needs of the church. Following that, it will provide emergency relief based on what is needed.
“Sadly these kinds of acts of violence are a hauntingly beautiful confirmation that the gospel is true and correct.” – Mike Gore, CEO of Open Doors Australia