Ignatius’ Final Prayer Request

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I do have one prayer request. Pray that I’ll have strength in my soul and in my physical body, so that I won’t just give lip service to martyrdom but will actually desire to go through with it. I don’t want to merely call myself a Christian–I want to back it up when it counts. For if I can back up my words, then I will be worthy of the name of Christian. I will be known as a man of faith even when the world can’t see me anymore. It’s not the things you can see that have true value. For example, our God Jesus Christ revealed his glory even more clearly when he ascended back to the Father and disappeared. Nothing is really achieved by trying to persuade people. Christianity’s true power is discovered only when it is hated by the world…

Bring on the fire, bring on the cross, bring on the hordes of wild animals! Let them wrench my bones out of socket and mangle my limbs and grind up my whole body! Bring on all the hideous tortures from the Devil! Just let me get to Jesus Christ. Nothing on this wide earth matters to me anymore. The kingdoms of this world are entirely meaningless. I am at the point where I would rather die for Jesus Christ than rule over the whole earth. He alone is the one I seek–the one who died for us! It is Jesus that I long for–the one who for our sake rose again from the dead!

– Ignatius of Antioch, Letters to the Romans 2-6. Quoted in Bryan Litfin, “Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction,” 2nd. Ed (Baker Academic, 2016). pp. 39-40

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