Polycarp of Smyrna: Praying for all men

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Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

“Now the glorious Polycarp at the first, when he heard it, so far from being dismayed, was desirous of remaining in town; but the greater part persuaded him to withdraw. So he withdrew to a farm not far distant from the city; and there he stayed with a few companions, doing nothing else night and day but praying for all men and for the churches throughout the world; for this was his constant habit. And while praying he falleth into a trance three days before his apprehension; and he saw his pillow burning with fire. And he turned and said unto those that were with him: ‘It must needs be that I shall be burned alive.'”

Polycarp of Smyrna in Martyrdom of Polycarp 5.1-2, translated by J.B. Lightfoot.

Over the next few days I will share excerpts of one of the greatest martydom stories in early church history. Polycarp was a disciple of John. Imagine being told that you would be martyred. Most would run. Not Polycarp. He went to a peaceful retreat to pray for people.

For the early church writings, a disciple is one willing to die for the faith. Polycarp got a vision of his fate in advance and feared not. Would we? Would you be found praying for all men? May this post not only inspire readers to finish well. Make your end worthy of remembrance!

Today the GTP board, staff, and regional facilitators gather from around the world. Each has signed a commitment form. They are all in. For many this comes at great risk. What would you do if your days were numbered? News flash. They are! Make every one count!