Without Ceasing

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It’s a cliché to want world peace, is it not? It’s the kind of thing you say if you are ever asked what you would wish for if you had three wishes, like in the fairy tales. But on learning of yet another terrorist attack, this time in Turkey, one has to wonder if there will ever be a time when people stop killing one another and spreading the anti-gospel of fear and hatred.

In my comfortable existence here in the UK, I know how far I am from being able to do anything. Our family are taking part in a sponsored 24 hours without power to raise money for ShelterBox, which supplies refugees with emergency shelter, cooking equipment, etc. It’s not much but it’s something. You can read more here: Off the Grid 

Meantime, let’s pray without ceasing, as Paul wrote in his letter to the Thessalonians. Let’s give thanks for what is being done to help refugees. Let’s pray for the aid workers and the families who have been forced to flee their homes. Let’s pray for those who are caught up in the twisted rhetoric of the Islamic State, that they will come to desire a different way to be, that they will recognise that what they do – the way they kill and steal and destroy, ruling by fear and fear alone – is a terminal spiral into more violence, more death, more evil.

Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. How many times have you done that? We often forget. I forget. I have prayed for the people who abused me, but it’s not easy! It makes me very uncomfortable. I have to ask God to help me to do it. But it’s part of what makes me different than if I had no faith. It’s part of living in and as His image. It’s a reflection of His perfect grace, however imperfectly reflected!

So today, as well as praying for the victims and their families, let’s pray that the hearts and minds of the terrorist groups will be opened, and that they will come to know the love and peace that passes all understanding. Sometimes prayer and love are the only weapons we have. But they’re also the best.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven…”

 Matthew 5:43-45 (NRSVA)

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD

The ‘Arab Spring’ seemed so hopeful when it first began, but it has descended with sickening inevitability into turmoil and war. Violence begets violence; evil begets evil. Now Christians in ISIS-held Iraq have been told to convert to Islam, pay a form of ‘protection’ tax, or face death.

 

 

‘Iraq is home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities but its population has dwindled amid growing sectarian violence since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Prior to 2003, the number of Christians in the city had been as high as 60,000, but that had dropped to about 35,000 by June this year… [and] another 10,000 fled Mosul after Isis took control at the beginning of June…’ 

BBC News ‘Iraqi Christians flee after Isis issue Mosul ultimatum

 

Open Doors is a charity supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, most recently those in Iraq who have literally had to run for their lives. Can you help them in their work?

 

‘Open Doors partners in Iraq have responded rapidly as Christians flee intense persecution in Mosul from militant Islamic group, ISIS. They need your support and prayers to continue to provide emergency relief for 2,000 of the families most in need…

“When people are arriving without any food or water, on foot, having walked for half a day or longer, with only a plastic bag containing their belongings, you just want to provide help. What else can you do?”

A gift of £70 can provide an emergency family relief pack for a family of four for one month.

Each pack contains essential items like food, water, medicine, pillows, blankets, air coolers, cooking and eating utensils, and hygiene kits.

And please pray for safety, guidance and strength for local Open Doors partners as they bring God’s hope to these broken Christian families and many others who have fled their homes.’

 

To find out how you can donate, please click here and the Open Doors page will open in a new tab.

 

“Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.” 

Luke 3:11 (GNT)

 

Jesus said:The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity]…”

Luke 4:18 (Amplified)

For those who have no choice but to stay, we must pray. Many of them will be too poor to flee, or too old, or too infirm. Some will be too scared to know which way to turn or what to do. We must pray without ceasing: pray for courage, pray for wisdom, pray for strength and most of all we must pray for peace – the peace that passes understanding and that only flows from the wide and gentle arms of Jesus. God help us all.