“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.