In 2019, I read an account of a Uyghur woman who was imprisoned in the Chinese Communist re-education camps. The Uyghur genocide is something Americans know little about. It would benefit us to pay attention.
One detail of her story in particular sticks with me.
The Chinese keep the women exhausted and busy with fruitless labor. Some of that time is spent in reprogramming classes. The fatigued women dare not close their eyes for even a second for fear of punishment.
Punished because it indicates to the Chinese that the women might be praying…
And the enemies of God know that prayer makes a soul free.
The advantage that a Christian has during times of persecution and isolation is the consolation of Jesus Christ. Communication with Him is a threat to all machinations of evil.? Evil is not content with destroying your body and mind, what it really wants is your soul.
Sometimes when I neglect prayer, I think of that Uyghur woman. Isolated but not allowed to be alone. Tortured. With no darkness during the night, no friendship during the day, no freedom to move or work productively…Abused and controlled by an enemy bent on stealing even her interior life.
That knowledge makes me want to be more faithful in prayer. I don’t want to lose connection with the only One who can offer freedom from the damnable spirit of isolation. The fact that I can be pulled from prayer by a thousand different distractions so easily is a red flag…
And a strong call to renewal.
If I am to remain truly free under any circumstance, I’d best get used to praying in all circumstances. Not as if it is a chore, but as St. Thérèse described it… a surge of the heart.
Jesus, I trust in You. I throw myself on your mercy. Grant me the grace of desire and fidelity.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17
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