...Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12:5
It's Friday, February 27th. My husband is back in the hospital, and I am snowed in at home. Yesterday I listened to the cracking of tree branches as they broke off and hit my roof. At times the impact was so strong that the entire house shook and the dog went into a barking frenzy.
Power was lost, but the house is currently warm and relatively safe. While I'm here, I'm confident my husband is receiving the medical attention and care he requires. I know this will pass, and next week we will be back more or less to normal.
I can't help but think of women like me who are not listening to trees break and fall, but to the sudden burst of machine gun fire and the impact of bombs falling. Women who never have any electrical power. Who stay freezing cold in this very brutal winter. Who live in terror knowing neither they, nor their loved ones, are safe. Who know unless God sends a miracle, the terror will not pass and life will never return to "normal."
My thoughts are far away. In Syria. And Northern Iraq. In the jungles of Nigeria. And on the beach in Libya. I am grieving for the people whose loved ones are being kidnapped, butchered, tortured, beheaded, or even worse. I am in awe of the triumphant faith displayed by Christians in the face of such atrocities.
My compulsion to pray was intensified when I received the following email from a friend whose ministry has planted hundreds of churches in the region now threatened by ISIS. It was written by one of his Syrian leaders, who lives and works in the area where ISIS just kidnapped over 100 Christians. The leader is asking my friend to relay the urgent need for prayer. It's my privilege to relay this on to you...
Peace to you in Jesus' name.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters. ISIS today kidnapped many Christians from one village and now they try to enter another village to take more Christians from there. Please, please we have ministry there! We have brothers and sisters there!
ISIS has started to kidnap and kill the Christians in that area. We have very bad situation now as a Christian, we have nothing to do just we can pray and ask you for you to pray with us.
When you read this email maybe in the same time many Christian people are killed from ISIS.
WE ARE READY TO GO TO JESUS NOW.
Yes we need your prayers with us and our families here.
God be with you.
Pray with me...
Father of mercy and God of grace,
God of justice and God of righteousness,
You are holy and true. You are in charge. You are the All-Mighty God of Creation, Lord of the Universe. We praise You as the One, True, Living God who is fully revealed in Jesus Christ.
Salvation belongs to You, our God, who sits on the throne...and to The Lamb. We look to You, our Help in ages past. Our Hope for years to come.
We praise You for Your Light that has penetrated the darkness of evil and hatred through the unwavering witness of Your children. Thank You for giving them the strength and courage to die with Your name on their lips. They have not loved their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore we rejoice with those in Heaven who stood to welcome them Home.
But we cannot overlook the atrocities. So we look to You now, great Lion of Judah. Savior of the world. Redeemer of mankind. You are the Risen Lord and soon to return King of kings. We boldly ask for You to intervene. Come down in power. Stop this madness. Return to their families those who have been kidnapped. Rend the hearts, break the wills, confuse the minds, destroy the unity of the kidnappers. Restore peace in the villages and countryside.
Please, Father God, look with favor on Your people. Open Your eyes to their suffering and Your ears to their cries. Protect them. Deliver them. Save them. They are being persecuted because of their identity with You and with Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask this for Your own name's sake. If they continue to be kidnapped and killed, will this not defame Your name? Will not the nations of the world think the god of ISIS is greater than You are?
Hear our prayer. Act for the sake of Your own great name.
For Your glory,
When the church in Acts prayed for the apostle Peter who had been arrested and imprisoned by the enemy, he was miraculously set free.
So...keep praying for the imprisoned. The kidnapped. The persecuted followers of Jesus.
Don't stop until they are free.
Anne Graham Lotz is an author and founder of AnGel Ministries.