Funny, how things that are seemingly disconnected become joined by thoughts and ideas and hopes and dreams — and even nightmares. Yesterday, as I taught a Bible class I touched on the recent tragedies in Paris and Lebanon, and a little further back, in Kenya. And one of the finest men I know asked, “How do we deal with this sort of terrorism — this evil?”
photo credit: MissioChurch
I have some ideas about that. Yet each one has problems and each one perplexes. And each one seems shallow and trivial next to the great problems we face.
And then, I received this gift. A friend of mine who I know, at this point, only through social media shared this prayer from Dr. Richard Beck, my friend and colleague at the university. I read it once. Then, went to my knees to pray it earnestly.
we tremble before this cup,
give us the strength to drink it,
this: our prayer for our enemies.
And we confess that we are but dust,
we do not have the strength to carry this burden.
So fill us with your Holy Spirit.
May your Spirit intercede for us in this moment.
For nothing draws us to this prayer.
And we confess that we kneel before you
more out of obedience than grace.
Obedience to the one who commanded us to love our enemies
and pray for those who persecute us.
We pray for our enemies because the love of Christ compels us. Father, we pray for our enemies. We pray for ISIS.
And in doing so we face in this moment
the terrible mystery of our faith.
The stumbling block. The scandal of the cross.
Give us your Spirit, Father, so that we will not falter in this,
our great test, to carry the cross.
Give us the strength to carry the burden of this love.
We pray for our enemies. We pray for ISIS.
We pray for their repentance, their conversion and their salvation. We pray, dear Father, that you carry these words,
through your Spirit, to our enemies.
We pray that these words pierce their hearts and
trouble their souls.
Father, may your Spirit move in the hearts of our enemies to hear these words:
Dear brothers, hear the Word of the Lord.
No more. No more.
Dear brothers, repent.
Repent and believe the Good News that the
Kingdom of God is in your midst.
Dear brothers, the Kingdom of God is there
in the faces of those you kill and rape.
Dear brothers, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom you seek, is there
weeping, pleading in front of you.
Dear brothers, can you see it?
Can you see through the lies of the Evil One?
Dear brothers, my God, your God, the God of Abraham,
is a God of peace and love.
So no more, dear brothers, no more.
Do not do this terrible thing.
Repent, and believe the Good News.
We are all children of God.
We are all brothers and sisters.
For God is a God of love.
Father in Heaven, carry these words, by your Spirit carry these words to our enemies. Wound them with our love and yours.
Some may ask. Is this all we can do? Is this all we should do?
As painful and difficult as it is, praying for our enemies is what we must do.