Yesterday I included in our Catch a call to prayer by my friend, Doug Stevens. Last night we were privileged to have Doug on our BlogTalkRadio show and talk about some of the incomprehensible happenings in the Middle East prompted by the rapid takeover of people and land by a highly-organized, newly-claimed Islamic State or ISIS. We talked about how these people think they are ordained by Allah to establish a caliphate — what we might call the kingdom God — but to establish it by the sword and a reign of terror. We talked about how their sense of absolutism and total allegiance is capturing so many young, disillusioned men — even some women — who have been living without a sense of acceptance, guidance or hope; some even from this country.
We talked about how Jesus provides a radical call to love and care for the poor and helpless, and can capture us for good, just as these have been captured for evil. And how some have paid for this love and kindness with their lives. We talked about how there is light in the middle of all this darkness, and how believers are being strengthened, and how the church is staying strong amidst persecution.
And we talked about how we cannot afford to be indifferent to what is going on in this dangerous part of the world, but that we need to pray. Prayer is not passive; it is active and aggressive. It can release the power of good in the face of evil; prayer brings light into darkness. Prayer knows no bounds. It can cross oceans and continents, borders and checkpoints. Prayer can make a huge difference.
And since this whole discussion began with a call to prayer, I asked Doug to close our session last night with a prayer — that he, in a sense, might teach us how to pray about these horrific things with some knowledge of what we are asking for. So I leave you with this prayer from our interview last night, and encourage everyone to take some time to listen to this show by clicking on the link above, after you have prayed, of course. And that prayer might go something like this:
Oh God — God of Abraham and Moses and David, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ — we come to you with heavy hearts because of what we read, what we see, what we hear that’s happening to people by the hundreds of thousands, if not, millions — and certainly millions, if we count the displaced and the refugees that You care about so much. You care about these people whether they know You or not … recognize You or not … whoever they are, Your love just bursts out of Your heart because that’s who You are, God, and we’re catching a bit of that right now. We feel Your love for them. I hope we do, and You invite us to come to You and ask You about that and plead with You, as we’re doing right now, to rescue those who are being led away to slaughter, to intervene, to save those who are lost in this turmoil that is manmade now in the Middle East. We do pray for the victims, all of them — men, women and children, combatants and non-combatants, those who are in harm’s way, for there is such fear. There is indeed, terror, and we pray for that word coming to them from You, “Fear not,” because You are with them. Lord, please be with them — be close to them — and let it be known to them that You are there with them and that those who don’t know You, personally, would cry out to You. We pray for that, whether it be by visions, or by a word of scripture, or by someone talking to them — however it happens, whatever You want to do, Lord, please do it!
Pour Your Spirit into that part of the world that is now on fire. And we even dare to pray — as Jesus taught us to pray — for our enemies, those who see the rest of the world as their enemy, and we pray, Lord, because they can’t know what they’re doing; they couldn’t do these things and know what they’re doing. They’ve lost their humanity. They’ve been robbed of their own dignity as they steal the dignity of others. We pray for them that some of them would be rescued. That they would come out of the darkness and see that, in fact, this prophet, Jesus, as they know Him, is in fact the Prince of Peace and Savior of the world, who loves Muslims deeply; far more deeply than anyone else ever could. We can stand at the grave of Mohammed, but there is no grave that can contain Jesus; and so, Lord, You are alive, and You are conquering by love even today, so would You rouse us, especially those of us here in America, rouse us to prayer — rouse us to care — would You rouse us to show the love that only comes from You. I pray this all in the name of Jesus, the Messiah, Amen.