3 Things to Pray For as ISIS Collapses
As hundreds of IS soldiers turn themselves in, military forces and victims of IS will be crying out for a brand of justice equal to the violence they suffered.
Over the last three years, the Islamic extremist group IS (Islamic State) has become notorious for its fierce, violence-led commitment claiming they would fight until death for their cause to exterminate infadels (anyone who doesn’t adhere to and practice their beliefs). However, as the Islamic State’s military crumbles, that resolve is crumbling too.
As Iraqi forces crushed the last remaining IS stronghold in the country’s northern city of Hawija, more than a thousand militants surrendered to Kurdish forces to avoid capture by the Iranian-trained Hashed al-Shaabi, known for killing not only IS soldiers, but also their families. The surrender is good news for Iraqi Christians returning to their homeland and attempting to rebuild the homes and communities razed by ISIS. For Christians around the world, the news is yet another answer to prayers from millions of believers interceding for their persecuted family throughout the Middle East.
However, the journey for Iraqi Christians is far from over, and the nation of Iraq needs physical, emotional and spiritual healing, perhaps now more than ever. Our partners in Iraq suggest three things to pray for as Iraqi forces continue to dismantle IS presence in the country.
Pray for God’s justice.
As hundreds of IS soldiers turn themselves in, military forces and victims of IS will be crying out for a brand of justice comparable to the violence IS soldiers carried out during the group’s reign. Some Iraqi soldiers’ idea of justice is mass extermination of IS soldiers and anyone related to them. Pray that God’s justice would be done, whatever that might be, and that man’s perversion of justice would be limited.
Pray for hearts turned toward forgiveness and mercy.
One of the most challenging biblical commands is to pray for our enemies, and that’s especially true with IS, one of the most viscerally evil groups in our lifetime (see “5 Ways to Pray for Those Who Persecute”). Yet we also believe all people are created in the image of God and just as undeserving of grace as we are. Pray that God would soften the hearts of both captured IS members and their families, that His Kingdom would advance, and that He would impart a miraculous capacity for forgiveness to Iraqi Christians who have suffered severe persecution.
Pray for supernatural peace and unity.
Iraqi Christians face a long and rocky road of healing. The families of many IS members’ families fled before being captured and are now returning to their homes. Additionally, many Muslim Iraqis did nothing as their Christian neighbors were forced out, tortured or killed. Some exposed them to IS forces in an effort to protect their own families. While Christians returning to their Iraqi communities may no longer feel as though their lives are in imminent danger, they are concerned about the backlash. Will their neighbors be hostile to their faith? Will the Muslim community turn against them? Pray that God would create unity between Christian and Muslim leaders, sparking a true and lasting peace in the villages and cities of Iraq.
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