Cry of the Afflicted

“The LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity. The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed … He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.” Ps. 9:7-9, 12, NASB

I can’t get her face out of my mind. A beautiful six-year-old, she stood weeping next to a grown man. He smiled triumphantly. Crowds of people surrounded them and colored in the photograph’s outer portions … but my eyes riveted on the little girl. Repulsively, the news headline announced this military man’s marriage to this mere child while her expression piercingly conveyed her trauma. She. Was. Terrified.

And I’m at a loss.

How exactly do I pray for God’s people in Iraq? I can’t imagine literally running for my life or being captured and barbarically executed. The horrifying reality of soldiers stripping, then beheading women and children, selling women into sex slavery, and marrying young girls absolutely leaves me speechless.

“Lord Jesus, Come!”

Yet until our Father sends His Son back to this wicked earth—to judge the world in righteousness—we MUST pray. Even if we struggle for words, we should at least START. Thankfully the Holy Spirit knows our hearts and intercedes for us:

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Rom. 8:26

Sometimes I feel lethargic, helpless, inept at helping fellow Christians who suffer at. this. moment. But God has given us a powerfully effective responsibility At. This. Moment: PRAYER.

As we live the western life, let’s not forget our eastern family. God doesn’t.

And lest I view those committing horrendous atrocities with self-righteousness or condemnation, I remember: I’m also a sinner—rebellious, proud, and self-seeking in my flesh. CHRIST is the difference. (Oh, thank You, Jesus!)

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Rom. 5:8-9

Please pray with me:

Loving Father, You are eternal and all-powerful, faithful and protective. Though evildoers persecute Your people, we trust You. You’re keenly aware of all torments, losses, and griefs, for Jesus bore all this—and more—on the cross. We confess being consumed with our own lives when we desperately need to pray persistently for Your people worldwide. Thank You for remembering their cries—every cry of the afflicted. Thank You also for hearing our feeble prayer attempts and supplying help through the Holy Spirit’s intercession. Specifically we lift up Iraqi Christians to Your throne of grace. Please grant them a way of escape and enable them to shine brightly with the hope they possess in Christ. Turn the enemy’s intentions for harm into good by opening the oppressors’ eyes and drawing them to Christ. “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever …” (Matt. 6:13). In Jesus’ victorious name, Amen.

photo credit: horrigans via photopin cc

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Gratefully linking up with JuanaMikels.com … check out her site for a variety of Christian posts.

10 Replies to “Cry of the Afflicted”

  1. I am so grateful for posts like this which remind us to pray for all people. I cannot imagine how God’s heart is grieved as He views world events. May we remember this week to pray for the families of the journalists who lost their lives. May God bring comfort to their families & friends. Blessings!

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Thank you so much for sharing. I agree — what God sees on a daily basis is truly incomprehensible and heartbreaking. Thanks for your encouragement to pray for the journalists’ families also … joining you in that.

      In Christ’s Love,
      Emily

  2. Emily,
    Thank you for leading us in prayer. I too, am deeply moved to pray. I appreciate your blog and the beautiful way you have followed the leading of God’s Spirit as you put words on “paper.”
    I am agreeing in prayer with you.
    Many blessings and thanks,
    Mary Ann

    1. Dear Mary Ann,

      Always a blessing to hear from you … thank you for joining me in prayer, dear friend and sister in Christ. To God be the glory for His faithfulness and love.

      In Christ’s love,
      Emily

  3. Sylvia De Jong says: Reply

    Thank you Emily for your comments and prayer for the afflicted believers worldwide, and especially the Iraqi Christians. It is good for us to consider their suffering and to care and pray for them. Christians in this country have rarely experienced such things, but that could change. God allows good people to suffer affliction and He is there in the midst of it with them. If war and persecution comes to the U.S. His grace is sufficient to carry us through the terrors and lead us “home” to be with Him through all eternity. We hope to see you next month.

    1. Dear Sylvia,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts ~ they especially encouraged me. We’re looking forward to your visit this month, Lord willing!

      Much love in Christ,
      Emily

  4. Thank you Emily for getting me away from my everyday problems and into turning my heart to the horrors that are taking place. I read about them say a prayer and go on with my life. My problems are so insignificant. When I looked into that little six year olds eyes my heart seemed to tear open
    My precious granddaughter is six years old. How can things like that and so much more be happening! Oh Lord Jesus ptotect them. Thank you for opening my heart’s eyes . Thank you for using Emily to do this. Thank you for that unbreakable strand that you put between your children. It was no coincidence that we met up again. Thank you precious Lord for your LOVE.

    1. Dear Sandy,

      Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and praying. I’m very glad the Lord reconnected us and enabled us to chat a bit recently. This post certainly was a heavy topic–I’m grateful to the Lord that it was meaningful to you. Blessings to you in Christ, my friend.

      In His Love,
      Emily

  5. Emily, thank you for this. It’s exactly how I feel, too. So, so hard to know even what to pray, much less how. I cannot imagine the terror these people are facing, and yet, Christ died for even these atrocious sins. I join you in prayer that these will be drawn to Him, and that our brothers and sisters over there would be free of this persecution. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    1. Dear Amy,

      Thank you so much for joining me in this prayer. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts as well. How wonderful that we can stand together as the body of Christ no matter where we are.

      Much love in Christ,
      Emily

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