Silencing Dangerous Prayer

What would it take to make you stop praying for your enemies?

Christian martyrs were known for giving praise to God or praying for their executioners. This action would often create confusion among the crowd, and the executioners themselves, regarding whether the Christian should have been put to death.

Hans Bret was scheduled for execution on the the 4th of January. On that day, a plan had been devised silence the Christian.

Today, your tongue is clamped from praise of God by little more than busyness

Before being led from his cell, Hans was ordered to stick out his tongue. An iron clamp (the one in the picture) was placed over his tong and the tightened. Then Hans’ tongue was burned with a red-hot iron in order to force swelling and make it impossible for him to slip his tongue from the grasp of the clamp.

The now-silenced Hans was loaded in a wagon and hauled to the stake. When he stepped off the wagon, Hans knelt to pray. Although his words wore now unintelligible, it is of little doubt he was praising his God and praying for his executioners.

Your ability to pray for your enemies is impeded by no more than bitterness.

His killers, disturbed at his faithful action, pulled him to the stake and secured him there by wrapping a chain around his body. They stacked wood and straw around him and lit the pile.

When death had come and the fire ceased, Hans Bret’s earthly body was reduced to a pile of ashes. Hans de Ries, his friend and pastor, picked the tongue screw from the ashes. Hans de Ries would later marry Hans Bret’s mother. Since that time, each generation of the family has inherited this macabre memento.

Today, your tongue is clamped from praise of God by little more than busyness, and your ability to pray for your enemies is impeded by no more than bitterness.

Surely, we can learn from Hans.

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