Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. —Hebrews 13:3 NLT

Tucked inside my Bible is a worn sheet of paper. On it is printed a photo of a Chinese pastor and his wife. It’s been there for over a year and will remain until he is released from prison. Right now, this looks like it is still eight years away. Why in the world do I look at those faces each morning during prayer time and stop to pray? Because God asks me to. That’s why.

I have a pretty fine life. My husband and I live in a ranch-style home in a middle-class neighborhood in a quiet section of a small city in New Hampshire. We are almost finished paying the mortgage on said home. We have a backyard that right now is turning into a riot of autumn colors, flaming and shining in the afternoon sun. I sit on my deck with my dainty little teddy bear pup and sip my tea in great contentment, admiring the trees and the quiet. And I realize I am so very, very blessed.

We don’t own a yacht. We save our money for a vacation to visit our children. We don’t own the latest iPhones or have big screen TVs. We shop at thrift stores and outlet stores. We are not among the wealthy class. But compared to the majority of people on this planet, we are rich indeed.

We breathe clean air. We sleep in a soft and comfortable bed at night … without fear. Our electricity is available every day without us even noticing. Clean water flows at the turn of a faucet. Our trash is regularly picked up, and we don’t worry about sanitation or rats. We belong to a wonderful church where we gather freely and sing loud songs to God. We host a home group where friends congregate and share Bible lessons together. In fact, our house is full of Bibles and theology books, and no one ever tries to stop us from housing them or reading them or talking about them. We are free indeed.

With that freedom and that gift of plenty comes a sacred obligation outlined for us in Hebrews 13:3. I can’t pray for everyone in prison, everyone tortured for their faith. I know this. But this particular picture that appeared on my newsfeed one day spoke to me. I felt the Holy Spirit calling me to pray for this one family. This was my assignment from Him. This I could do. What does it mean? Let’s look at the verse a little bit at a time.

Remember those in prison. Even though I get to relax in New Hampshire, that doesn’t mean I should ignore those who are not so fortunate. In my plenty, I need to remember those in want.

As if you were there yourself. I can’t just give a passing thought to those imprisoned for their belief in Christ. They are my brothers and sisters. They’re family. I am to feel for them, hurt for them, empathize with their pain. “My” pastor is separated from his beloved wife and one son. He gets occasional phone calls but is not allowed to speak of Jesus with them. His church has been disbanded, and he can’t ask how the congregation he served is doing. He’s alone. He may be subjected to torture, hard work beyond his ability to endure, sickness, abuse. I don’t know, but when I pray, I imagine, and enter into the pain as best I can.

Remember also those who are being mistreated. As I pray for him and his family, I whisper a prayer for the worldwide family of believers and ask God to help and comfort and protect the many who are currently being mistreated.

As if you felt their pain in your own bodies. It’s not fun and it’s not easy to feel another’s pain and to cry out for them. However, it is right and good, and I believe that somehow my feeling the ache of another and crying out to God, asking that His comfort and peace be upon them, actually does good. I don’t know how. But when I pray, I believe God is moving on the other side of the world, bringing comfort to a man I’ve never met, going through a situation I’ve never faced.

This is our sacred obligation as believing Christians. No one can pray for everyone. But I encourage you to find your “one” and pray in faith believing that their load and pain is lightened because you stopped for a moment and entered into their grief. Let’s remember. Let’s pray.

Father God, when I feel overwhelmed by the troubles in the world, remind me to bring them to You! Help each of us, who are blessed to be free from torture and imprisonment, to honor Your call to pray for those who are hurting, mistreated, and worse. I am so grateful for beautiful fall days in my cozy home in New Hampshire, Father. Help me to care for those for whom You have chosen a harder path. Come soon, Lord Jesus! Amen.

You are loved,




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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Candie Remick
    October 25, 2021 4:02 pm

    Dear Sharon, thank you for this reminder! I am ashamed
    to say that it has been a long time since I have prayed specifically
    for a person imprisoned for their faith. I have attended
    a few Voice of the Martyrs conferences in the past and have
    met and talked to some of the speakers. One in particular
    was a pastor in China who was imprisoned and managed
    to escape. (Praise the Lord.) His name is Bob Fu. He is the author
    of a book called God’s Double Agent, which tells of his
    imprisonment and escape. I am going to find someone
    specific to pray for once again. I love you, dear sister in Christ.

    • Sharon Gamble
      October 25, 2021 4:42 pm

      Hello dear Candie,

      What a great idea to look at Bob Fu’s resources and find a name. This makes me so happy! Someone else will be prayed for, and I believe God will move through your prayers. Love you back, Sharon

  • Margaret Fowler
    October 26, 2021 12:10 am

    A very moving message. I don’t know anyone in prison, I will pray for “your” Chinese Pastor and family.

    • Sharon Gamble
      October 26, 2021 1:39 am

      I would love that shared responsibility. I shall get you a picture! SO thankful we can serve through prayer.


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