Over the last several days and weeks we have heard the news, seen the graphic images, and learned of an onslaught of wickedness, terror, and killing of men, women, and children in Iraq by the terrorist group ISIS.
When we hear of children being decapitated, women raped, men killed, and families and whole cities being torn apart, we may have several reactions: sadness, anger, rage, fear, and despair are just a few. Many of those being targeted are Christians.
We want to scream, to cry, and to DO SOMETHING – but we may feel helpless. “After all,” we may think, ” I’m not the President or anyone with military power to save these poor people – what can I do?”
Choosing to Engage
While we may feel helpless to do anything, we must remember something – we are not. Thousands of our brothers and sisters in Iraq and around the world are very much helpless right now, but we are not. We can do something. In fact, we can do more than we may be able to even imagine for these people.
First we must make the choice to refuse to be indifferent to their suffering plight. It can be easier than we would like to admit to turn off the television and its shocking images (which is necessary), return to our world of relative ease and quietness, and forget (or at least cease to do anything in response to) to genocide that is occurring across the world.
As my friend so aptly described to me, “I get an update about the devastation in Iraq right next to an email in my inbox with 30 Great New Crock Pot dinner recipes. The cares of my own life just seem shallow and surreal next to all of this. I’m thinking about what to make for dinner and they are thinking about how to stay alive.”
Prayer is Our Greatest Weapon
The greatest gift we can give those suffering under oppression and terrorism is to refuse to forget about their plight. Hebrews 13:3 says that we are to, “Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”
The greatest way to remember them, to hold them close to our hearts, is to lift them up in constant prayer to God. In fact, the Voice of the Martyrs has said that no matter where they go, the first request of persecuted Christians is always the same: “Pray for us.”
We can pray God’s Word over the lives of all these precious people, petitioning the “Lord of Heaven and Earth” to come to their aid and deliver them from oppression and give them strength to endure.
Where to start? I found this great three-page prayer guide for the Persecuted Church and wanted to share it with you.
If you would like to give financially to organizations who are on the ground in Iraq, Voice of the Martyrs has close relationships with the indigenous church in Iraq and are able to dispatch help to many Christians who fled Mosul. Check out this page to find out more.
Pray for the Persecutors
Pray not only for the persecuted but the persecutors – remember that Jesus turned Saul the persecutor into Paul the evangelist and he can pour His love and grace into every human heart who hears and turns to Him.
And pray for those who are in authority in our government, that God would guide them to make wise decisions on behalf of the innocent who suffer.
Refuse to be indifferent. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”