Anyone who’s been keeping up with international news should see a trend developing. In Syria, Egypt, and Libya, Muslim extremists not only seek to overthrow established governments, they also seem to go out of their way to target vulnerable Christian populations. In Iraq, where the Muslim terror group ISIS is swallowing one city after another, Christians are especially and understandably uneasy.
Our friend Stan Guthrie, author of the book Missions in the Third Millennium, reports that a coordinated campaign of mass executions, forced implementation of harsh Islamic law, and frightening propaganda videos is accelerating the exodus of Christians at a rate that may soon leave Iraq “bereft of gospel witness.”
In Sudan, a Christian woman, Meriam Ibrahim, was arrested and imprisoned on bogus charges ofapostasy and adultery. She was forced to give birth to her daughter in prison with legs shackled, which reportedly has left the baby disabled. Under great international pressure, the government released Meriam—only to re-arrest her and her family at the airport the next day.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram terrorists continue to kidnap girls and women. The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, boasted in a video, “I am the Shekau that does not like Christians, and I don’t like Muslims that relate with Christians. We have been commanded by Allah not to associate with infidels because they cannot be trusted until they accept your religion.”
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Now let me say something somewhat controversial: these Muslim terror groups have made themselves enemies of the gospel and to those who follow Christ. There’s no sugar-coating what they themselves say. How should then Christians respond? Well of course we should continue at every opportunity to advocate for the human rights of oppressed Christians and Muslims. But we can’t stop there.
Keeping in mind the Apostle Paul’s teaching that we war not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, we must pray. And the indisputable fact that these terrorists are our enemies imposes on us this sacred obligation given to us by our Lord. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
Radical Islamists kill their enemies in the name of their god. Christians are to love our enemies and pray for them. Let’s face it: This battle cannot be won by hashtags, online petitions, or even with “boots on the ground.” To deal with the spiritual enemy known as radical Islam, we don’t hate; we love. And one way to show that love is by praying for the enemies of the gospel. I know that sounds hard. In fact, it’s even impossible. And yet our Lord commands us to do it. A Christian worldview that’s grounded in the Scriptures reminds us that every human being is made in God’s image and thus is potentially a brother or sister in Christ—even a hardened Muslim terrorist.
As Southern Baptist researcher David Garrison demonstrates in his book “A Wind in the House of Islam,” there are tons of stories of Muslims coming to faith in Christ. “We’re seeing a moment,” he told me, “that we’ve never seen before in the history of Christianity’s interaction with the House of Islam.” And our prayers can help.
That’s why I’m urging you to join in with a unique and incredibly strategic ministry called 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World, which started on June 28 and runs until July 27. Why now? Well, because this is the Muslim month of Ramadan, and many are searching for spiritual answers beyond whatever Islam gives them—the kind of answers that only Christ gives.
I hope you’ll join in this 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World, from now until July 27.
— by John Stonestreet
Stonestreet is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and is heard on Breakpoint, a radio commentary that is broadcast on 400 stations with an audience of eight million