PRAYER CHANGES THINGS
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
~ Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
Ages ago the prophet Jonah saw it happen. The population of the city of Nineveh (in the north of present day Iraq) repented from sin. A radical change came because he preached and God’s Spirit worked. Almost on the same spot in the city of Mosul (modern Nineveh), the climate has changed too.
After 2003, Mosul became a city with increasing violence. Car bombs, attacks and all kind of violence are normal in this old city. Civilians of whatever religion and police and soldiers have been targeted. In the beginning of 2010, there was a significant increase in violent attacks on Christians. In the month of February that year, eight were killed in just ten days. This all caused an exodus of Christians.
“Thousands of Christians have left our city…and that hurts,” shares twenty-one-year-old Dawud. “I saw a lot of my friends leaving too,” the young Iraqi adds. His family has been Christian for generations, as is the case with many Iraqi Christians.
Open Doors worker, Daniel, says that as far as he knows the number of Christians dramatically dropped in the second biggest city of the country. Before the fall of Saddam Hussein, the number in Mosul was estimated at two hundred thousand of the one and a half million inhabitants. “We believe the number is now far less than one hundred thousand, many of them not living in the city itself but in Christian villages around.”
“We started some years ago to pray for our city,” Dawud continues. “It started small with just our family, but soon there were more believers coming to the prayer meetings. Now we pray weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays from five till seven in the afternoon. Some fifty Christians in our city regularly participate,” he says. “Because of our prayer, the city started to change. The situation is different now. What I see now is that my generation doesn’t want to leave, we want to stay. This is God’s place for me. I’ll stay; I will never leave. And if I will be killed, I will be killed.”
“But,” he goes on, “the situation is much better now. We can go out as youth again, even in the evenings. We can go to our meetings without being afraid, we don’t feel insecure anymore.” His father, pastor of one of the churches in Mosul, confirms that the climate in the city improved after they started praying as a church. With a smile on his face he adds, “We even saw Muslims becoming followers of Jesus.”
RESPONSE: Today I will rejoice in the ability I have to take every issue I face to the Lord and trust Him for the answer.
PRAYER: Remember brothers and sisters who live in violent societies. Pray that fear will not drive them to leave.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.