(The following article was written by a Christian leader in Egypt in the aftermath of the beheading of 21 Members of an ethnic religious group from North Africa but primarily Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination in the country. Christians in Libya two weeks ago):
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44 (NIV)
I stand in awe before the one who once taught us to love beyond what is reasonable according to human logic. By teaching these words, our Lord Jesus has truly introduced a new hope to humanity that didn’t exist before. Hatred is obviously embedded into the human nature since the fall of mankind described in Genesis 3. However Jesus’ call to show love and forgiveness to enemies and persecutors caused victory over that fallen nature.
The Egyptian church is praying for the Islamic State (IS) terrorists who recently beheaded 21 Members of an ethnic religious group from North Africa but primarily Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination in the country. Christians in Libya. These martyrs refused to deny their faith to stay alive. The sound of prayers requesting mercy and life, not revenge and destruction, calling on God’s name to come and change the hearts of the killers, is loudly heard across Egypt.
Some of the heartbroken wives, mothers, fathers and children of the martyrs were recently interviewed in national and private run television talk shows about what they are going through. Their simple expressions of love and forgiveness brought down so many tears on air and surely delivered a mind blowing message about what the Christian faith is all about. No more direct testimony about God’s love could have been communicated publicly as those few words that were uttered by the family members of the 21 martyrs.
The spirit of anger has turned into a fervent wave of prayers for God to change the hearts of Islamic State’s fighters and to open their eyes from deception and darkness to the amazing light of the love of God. Egyptian pastors are calling their congregations to wake up and pray for the persecutors of the church to come to meet with the Savior. We pray that God will remove their stone hearts (reflected in their inhumane actions), and give them hearts of flesh and blood, capable of loving.
Calls for prayer in all cities, towns and villages for Christians to meet together and cry out not for their own safety or leisure, but for the salvation of the lost is indeed historical. The voices coming out of the church only a few days after the dreadful massacre had taken place in Libya is amazingly not a sound of weeping, but the sound of singing and salvation.
We, Christians of Egypt, believe that the prayers and intercession of the Egyptian church were heard by the Almighty and that our country has been protected from chaos and past threats. We, therefore, realize how we should continue to stand in the gap for our country and the entire troubled region of the Arab world against the wicked warfare of the kingdom of evil. We stand to pray together not allowing the evil one to pass through our country.
A pastor shouted a few days ago in a prayer meeting in Cairo: “Our Father listens to us as we cry on His name day and night. We will see the flags of your love and the gospel of peace waving high in our land. We will see His amazing work invading and changing lives of people we never thought would ride on the cloud with us.”
The pastor continued sharing some great news: “Last week, I had the privilege of meeting with two former terrorists who were directly involved in killing Christians for their faith. The Lord changed their hearts and they are now preaching the gospel and serving the Lord.”
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.