Attack on the World Trade Center
Almost sixteen years ago, on Sept 11, 2001, we each remember where we were when we heard the news that an airliner had crashed into the north tower of New York’s World Trade Center. Our world changed forever eighteen minutes later when a second commercial airliner struck the south tower.
Shocked, every American watching the news realized this was no accident, but a deliberate attack by terrorists. The devastation at ground zero can clearly be seen from above.
Al Qaeda, Bin Laden and Isis
In the years since, Islamic extremism has grabbed headlines around the world, with one act of horror after another. We succeeded in chopping down Bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s effectiveness and resources, only to have Isis take its place.
Does anyone else grieve for the parents of the children Isis recruits through social media? Especially heartbreaking to me were the three teenage Muslim girls in London, photographed entering the airport on their way to Turkey.
Isis promises young Muslims a life of meaning and purpose, but the reality for both men and women is harsher.
In the war against terrorism we’ve used drones, airstrikes and coordination of Intel between dozens of countries. We’ve fought two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve tried bullets, bombs and targeted strikes against known terrorist leaders.
Into this chaos, Jesus’ words are startling. He calls us to do what is utterly unnatural for us. He asks us to love the terrorists who hate us. Who loudly declare that their god Allah delights in the death of all unbelievers.
For Christians, our Savior’s command couldn’t be clearer.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV)
Why does Jesus want us to Pray for Terrorists?
1 By praying for our enemies we mirror God’s nature. Our heavenly Father routinely blesses His enemies. God returns good for evil and we are called to do the same. (Romans 12:17-21)
2 Prayer is our greatest weapon. This war needs to be won spiritually. We can’t pray for the terrorists without praying against their deeds, inviting the Ancient of Days to rise and intervene in a hurting world.
3 Praying for our enemies changes our hearts. We won’t continue to hate or fear those we regularly ask God to bless. Frequent prayer for our enemies brings our hearts more in line with our Savior, who died for the whole world.
4 A prophesied harvest needs to be reaped. Our God is going to bring many Muslims into the kingdom. Read this prophesy by Isaiah regarding Israel’s enemies. This scripture stunned me the first time I read it.
24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:24-25 NIV)
The ancient Assyrian homeland included parts of modern day Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. All these countries are heavily populated by Muslims. Yet in the end, Jesus will call “Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Read Isaiah 19:18-24.) Our Savior will reap a great harvest from the Islamic countries and our prayers are needed.
How to pray for a terrorist
So how should we pray? First of all, notice Jesus says to pray for your enemies. So I ask God to open their eyes and give those deceived by Islamic extremism His free gifts of forgiveness and salvation.
Along the way, I also pray for disunity, confusion, infighting, exposure, miscommunication, thwarted schemes, faulty equipment and aborted missions.
Just this week someone told me about a website called “Pray for Isis.” This site has a 30 day prayer guide, information about different Islamic countries or people groups, worship videos and testimonies.
If you are short on time, just pray that day’s prayer. On other days you’ll also be led to pray for refugees, ravaged cities, unstable governments and disenfranchised youth. On day 29, we’ll join together and ask God to turn radicals into peacemakers, as He did with Saul.
To get to this website, click here.
When Islamic extremism wins territory, the main victims are the people living under the new oppressive regime’s daily cruelties. Primarily it’s peaceful, loving Muslim families who just want to raise their children safely and enjoy a good life.
We have suffered horrific large-scale attacks in the west, but they suffer every day. No one fears or hates Islamic extremism more than they do.
The worshipers of Allah aren’t our enemies–they’re our mission field.
So, let me ask you—have you prayed for a terrorist today?
All images are from Pixabay.com.
I always celebrate goodness and courage in the face of evil. Here are some stories of good Muslims standing against Islamic extremism.
Islamic extremists from Somalia boarded a Kenyan bus intending to kill all the Christians, leaving the Muslim believers alive. They were thwarted when the Muslim women quickly moved to protect and hide the Christians in their midst. (Click here.)
The “White Helmets” of Syria are volunteers who risk their lives to rescue people injured or buried in rubble by terrorist bombs. (Click here.)
Malala, the 15 year old girl in Pakistan shot by the Taliban still speaks out about the right of girls to get an education. (Click here.)