Thank you for your letter, and as we approach July 4th (Independence Day) in the United States, I especially want to congratulate you on your new citizenship. Freedom (including freedom of religion) is a priceless gift we must never take for granted–and I know you never will.
Thank you also for urging us to pray for those who do not enjoy the same freedoms we have–particularly those facing religious persecution. Countless millions today live in countries that restrict religious freedom, or even face active persecution because of their Christian faith. The Bible tells us to pray for those in authority so "that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Timothy 2:2).
The Bible also commands us to pray for our fellow believers who are suffering persecution: "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3). May we each follow this directive. And may we also thank God for our freedoms–and especially the freedom from sin that Christ won for us.