One year ago, the Christian community in Baghdad was in shock over the brutal October 31 massacre at the Syriac Catholic church. After a 4-hour standoff, the Iraqi security forces took over the church, but not before the attackers detonated bombs that were strapped to their bodies. In total fifty-eight people were killed including church leaders, worshippers, insurgents and police. Approximately 70 hostages survived the attack.
Open Doors immediately asked its supporters to pray for their fellow brothers and sisters in Baghdad and also invited supporters to write letters of encouragement to them to let them know they are being lifted up in prayer, that they are not forgotten.
After a mourning period of 40 days, survivors and other Christians gathered in prayer during a memorial service commemorating the victims. During this time of fellowship, an Open Doors worker presented to a leader of the church in Baghdad a book with over 250 pages of prayers and encouragements from more than 20 different nations. He reports that this leader “was very impressed. He was touched. He saw it as answer to their prayers and a confirmation that they are not forgotten.”
In return, the Iraqi community have sent several “thank you’s” and encouragements to the Christians who prayed for them during this time of fear and loss of loved ones. Some of them are included below.
O Lord, Glorious God, who enlightens our life, give peace to us, have mercy upon us and keep your hands over us always. God I love you, I want to listen to you and be an instrument in your hand and obey you and always say yes to you to make your will in any way to give love to everyone, all who suffer for your love and take the Holy Virgin an example of life in making your will to be and suffer but make it with happiness because life with you is happiness. Thanks to everyone pray for us, we the Christians of Iraq , we love you.
“I will lift you all up in my prayers to our father. You are loved and cared for.” Psalm 55
Beloved brothers and sisters all over the world your prayers filled our hearts with warmth and gave us strength. All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.
Be brave do not be afraid, advance forward to Jesus, do not be afraid of those who were called to follow him through the difficult times, that what we are facing in Iraq in general and in Baghdad in particular.
Be brave, do not be frightened. Now I understand that I am living in this world not only to eat and dress the best, to marry and have children, to provide the best food and services to my family, nor to find a safe and comfortable place to live.
God did not offer me eyes and ears only to see and hear; and hands and feet only to move and walk. Neither did He give me my father, mother, sister and husband just to love and pray for them only.
Ah, I realized that my days on this earth are limited. I am here to enjoy the love of God and be in love with him. God inspires me to love him first and above all, all the time to the last moment of my life. This is the good will of God that encourages me to go through the narrow and difficult path, regardless of pain, falling and suffering during my trip to everlasting life in heaven.
I am always looking forward to my savior Jesus, pray and test the Word of God and His love every day, asking for more love for him. I am asking Him wisdom and to offer me the will to forgive and love.
Father, what more can we add to the prayers of these men and women who have suffered persecution, looked fear in the face and placed all their trust in You? Thank You for their testimony to our own lives. We pray for them, both for their protection and for their courage and opportunity to share the truth, love and grace of the Savior whom they serve. And we call on You to strengthen us to love and serve You in courageous ways in our own culture. While we do not live in daily fear for our lives as we worship You, teach us in small ways to live lives of unwavering faith, so that if and when greater trials come, we will stand firmly in the strength and presence of Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen
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