I’m not writing the post I’d planned to write. I can’t.
I can’t, because I cannot get the latest ISIS news out of my head. The Islamic extremists actually beheaded an American journalist yesterday.
I’ve been disturbed all along by the news from Syria and Iraq. It has often turned me to urgent prayer. But somehow this news went even deeper for me. Maybe it’s because he’s a journalist, and that is the profession I worked in years ago. Or maybe it’s because he’s an American and in my naïve thinking, Americans are supposed to be protected from such barbarism. Or maybe it’s just because we know this person’s name and the names of his family members who are suffering his horrific loss.
At any rate, I can’t get this news out of my head. So I take it as a call to prayer.
Over the days that the ISIS terrorism has been escalating, the Holy Spirit has given me several specific ways to pray. I share them here with you, in case you, also, can’t get the news out of your head.
- Pray that God will knock terrorists off their horses, proverbially speaking, and give them an encounter with Jesus, as He did that other persecutor of Christians, Saul (Acts 9). No one is beyond God’s saving mercy. May evil men be humbled and turned around by the presence of Jesus Christ the Lord.
- Pray that God will supernaturally fight this battle. The Old Testament is full of the accounts of God’s miraculous intervention in battles against His people. Do it again, Lord of Hosts—for Your Name and Your glory!
- Until God does intervene, Christians are being martyred at an alarming rate. Pray that God will fill these brothers and sisters with His Spirit, as He did Stephen (Acts 7), so that they can stand firm in their faith and experience Jesus’s peace that passes all understanding.
- Innocent people of other faiths are also being senselessly slaughtered. They need our prayers, too. On Calvary, two men died alongside of Jesus. At the hour of their deaths, one recognized Who Jesus was and put his faith in Him. The other did not. Pray that all those who are being killed will recognize Jesus for who He is and put their faith in Him.
- Cry out to God for justice. Ask Him to deal with His enemies. Some psalms are more comfortable to pray than others. Who doesn’t love praying Psalms 23 and 139, for example? But most of us are pretty uncomfortable praying Psalm 94. Read it and you’ll see why. However, justice is every bit as holy an attribute of God as love and mercy are. Maybe it’s time for us to start praying Psalm 94 on behalf of persecuted people around the world.
- Ask God to make us—you, me, other believers around the world—faithful to pray for as long as it takes. Jesus told us to pray for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. So for as long as those distressing news reports keep coming, let’s keep praying! Let’s not stop until God brings His justice and peace to the world.