Posts Tagged ‘Derrik Sweeney’

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel… Ephesians 6:18-19

Did you see this recent headline?

American Sentenced to Prison for Insulting Thai Monarchy

I must confess that before I read the entire story, my first thought was,

Good. There are far too many arrogant Americans who believe they can go overseas, say or do whatever they want, and are then exempt from the consequences.”

I mean did you see the story of the three American college kids: Luke Gates, Derrik Sweeney, and Gregory Porter, who were arrested for throwing fire bombs at people during the riots in Egypt and then released from jail and sent home?

They weren’t hurling rocks or insults…they were throwing Molotov cocktails at human beings!

Sending these children home is exactly the wrong message to convey to an inexpedient, entitlement-prone, and irresponsible portion of our society. If Luke, Derrik, and Gregory were so compelled to fight for this cause, then they should own the repercussions as well.

Remember Michael Peter Fay?

He was the American who was sentenced to a caning in Singapore as an 18-year-old in 1994 for theft and vandalism. I suspect he learned a valuable lesson, and like it or not, he was an example for the rest of us. In light of current events, it would seem Luke, Derrik, and Gregory never heard about it.

Back to Thailand

This story is a little different.

Joe Gordon is a 55-year-old, Thai-born American, who several years ago, while living in Colorado, posted links to the Thai-banned biography of its monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. While visiting Thailand, he was arrested and sentenced to two and a half years in a Thai prison. Obviously, this situation has unique characteristics.

Having read the whole story (not just the headline), from my perspective, Joe is an innocent man…so how should we pray for him?

Speak Boldly For the Lord

I’m drawn to Paul’s prayer request in Ephesians.

And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel…”

I find it remarkable that Paul, essentially an innocent man, never writes in any of his Epistles, “Oh yea…and please remember to pray that I be released from this awful jail.”

Maybe God Wants Me Here


Are we too quick to assume that God doesn’t want us or Joe Gordon in a difficult situation? Do we mistakenly pray for release, when in reality the Lord has put us there or has allowed us to wallow for a purpose we have yet to realize?

I don’t know.

What we do know is that Paul wasn’t deserving and he never bemoaned his condition — he considered his predicament both a Divine honor and opportunity. How else could he have referred to himself as an ambassador in chains.  I suspect he ministered to many while in jail and led many innocent and guilty people to Jesus Christ.

Shining Opportunities

Regardless of what we are going through, there is always an opportunity for Jesus to come and get His glory or for us to glorify Him. In Paul’s case, he could have curled up and died in that jail, but instead he prayed for boldness in his ministry and (despite not being aware of it) wound-up penning much of the New Testament.

What about Joe Gorton? 

If we’re guided solely by our emotions, we’re praying for Joe’s release from prison. But is that God’s plan?

Is Joe a Christian and does God desire to use him in a Thai jail?

Is Joe unsaved and is it God’s desire to meet him in a Thai jail?

I’m don’t know and the last thing I want to do is pray against God’s will. God can get His glory in the ugliest of situations and we need to seek and pray in accordance with His will.

Bad Things Happen

We have opportunities to shine as well and my prayer for you is that you would continue to speak boldly the truths of the Gospel in your rotten health, in your financial debt, in your failed marriage, in the loss of your job, or whatever situation you find yourself, regardless if it’s your fault or not.

Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12


  • How does the Bible tell us to pray?
  • How has Jesus ministered to you while in the midst of a trial?
  • Has being led by emotions (alone) ever made matters worse?

Please remember to pray for Joe and the persecuted church.


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