For the answer to this question, I find no need for us to look back at church history or traditions, except the Jewish Bible. There are two stories in question. One reflected by the story of Daniel in the lions' den and the other by queen Esther, (both of which found themselves faced with this dilemma in the land of Persia).
Consider this, both candidates had their nation dismantled and completely changed by the ruling authorities who instituted and permitted religion and other practices that were contrary to their beliefs. However, their responses to their situations are instructive, as they did not act to change the laws that gave people the right to do what was wrong according to their beliefs. Rather, they continued their traditions and even service to the authorities (for Daniel it was the service of public administration, while for Esther, it was
In the case of Daniel, even though he recognised that praying was outlawed in Persia, he did not decide to hide when practicing his religious tradition of praying. Instead, he still persisted in his public prayer tradition, doing what he always did to worship and serve God.
For Esther, the queen practiced her religion quietly and perhaps even secretly, not letting the king know her religious beliefs, even though she was his wife. She only made it public after fasting and prayer, when the king made a law that affected her and all her people that practiced her religion. Only then did she make public her religious background and how the new laws negatively affected her and the other people who practiced her religion. In other words (for the feminists among us), here we see a woman making political representation for minorities.
From both stories, we can learn the following principles:
- Represent our religion to the authorities. We should at all times make the authorities aware of our religion and religious practices, so that they are less likely to pass laws that negatively affect our religious and spiritual practices or activities.
- Continue the practice of our faith. If the authorities still outlaw our religious practices and activities, even after being aware of our beliefs, traditions and practices, then we continue to publicly or privately practice them until we are prosecuted.
- Present our convictions for the final time and prepare to face the outcome. When and if prosecuted, we make our final attempt to present our case before the authorities. It is those times, when we should pray and fast so that we can present our convictions about our beliefs and practices to the authorities in the power of God and his anointing. Then we let God decide whether or not to get the authorities to change the laws and make provisions or allowances for us. If not, then we need to stand in our conviction and in the power of God , ready to face the punishments that the law prescribes for practicing our religion and spirituality.