There more people living in slavery now than at any other time in human history: 27,000,000.
- That’s 13 times more than when the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt.
- More than when 25% of the population was enslaved at the height of the Roman Empire.
- 2-1/2 times more than the 11 million West Africans who were deported and sold by Europeans during all 400 years of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
- More than twice the 12 million deported and sold from East Africa during the entire 1000-year Ottoman reign.
- Almost 6 times more than all the slaves in American history before the Civil War.
Slavery, in our time, surpasses them all.
My friend and former co-worker, Daniel, is learning how to start a recovery center for victims of human trafficking in his hometown in Colorado. He recently posted, “I know that I can no longer sit on the side lines and just talk about human trafficking. I MUST stand up and make some impact. Children being exploited for sex will never be ok no matter what your political stance. Human trafficking is a top criminal enterprise in the world and most of that consists of women and children being sold for sex. What will you do?”.
But what can we do, really? The Apostle Paul wrote to his friends from prison, where he was held unjustly. He wrote, “Remember my chains. And pray.” (Colossians 4:3,18). So that is a simple yet powerful way to start.
We can stand with modern-day slaves through prayer.
What follows is a prayer I wrote, based on a meditation of Isaiah 49:8-18. I invite you to read these few verses in your Bible, and then use this prayer below as a basis for making your own intercession for modern-day slaves around the world. And then, ask God, “What can I do? How might You be calling me, Lord, to personally be actively involved in abolishing slavery in our time?”
(from Isaiah 49, verse 8) Father, please help those who are in bondage today. Those who are in chains or in prisons unjustly – both actual prisons and prisons of fear, control, ownership to another. Please bring Your freedom to their hearts – even if they do remain behind bars.
(from verse 9) Yes, Lord! Please say that to modern-day slaves today. Please call those unjustly imprisoned – by systems, by politics, by poverty, by fear – please call them “out into freedom”. Lord, I pray for their captors, too, who are held in a different kind of bondage – to power, to greed, to evil, to fear – they dwell in darkness – Lord, please call them out of darkness, and into the light.
(from verse 14) Please let the captives know that You have not deserted them – You have not forgotten them. Just like You saw the Hebrews in their slavery and suffering – You heard their cries, Lord, and You sent them a deliverer. Lord, please assure modern-day slaves today that You truly do see them. And Lord, please do send them deliverers.
I pray for the International Justice Mission. I pray for the A21 Campaign. I pray for the Not For Sale Campaign and the Red Thread Movement. Lord, I pray for every church and ministry and agency in every corner of the world that is fighting to defend the causes of the weak, the oppressed, the enslaved. And Lord, I ask You to raise up, equip, and release more and more deliverers into the world.
May we not stand for slavery in our generation. Lord, I pray that You would raise up abolitionists in every nation of the earth, and empower them with courage, boldness, wisdom – that You would give them favor with government officials and with law-enforcement. That you would shield them from attacks – both physical and spiritual. That the gates of hell would not prevail against Your deliverers, coming in to bring rescue and freedom to those living in captivity today.
And Lord, I pray for the Church. Lord, awaken us to stand against slavery in our lifetime – through prayers, through giving, through going, through awareness-bringing, through advocacy. Lord, we give ourselves to You to be ones through whom You would proclaim freedom for the captives in our lifetime (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18).
And Lord, I offer myself to You. I ask You: what can I do? How can I help? How might You be calling me to be personally and actively involved in abolishing slavery in our time? Please give me the wisdom to know what to do, and the courage to do it.
In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.