August 13, 2014
“They are beheading children systematically.”
This notice came in last night from Sean Malone who leads Crisis Relief International (CRI, pronounced CRY). Sean wrote,
“We lost the city of Queragosh (Qaraqosh). It fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically. This is the city we have been smuggling food to. ISIS has pushed back Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) and is within 10 minutes of where our CRI team is working. Thousands more fled into the city of Erbil last night. The UN evacuated its staff in Erbil. Our team is unmoved and will stay. Prayer cover needed!”
The news was appalling, beyond horrible. What could I possibly do to help them with their gun-toting adversaries ten minutes away? Sign a petition to the president? Call for an act of congress? A few of the more compassionate souls may send in a donation, but a petition, an act of congress, the president, and all the money in the world had no power to help Sean when ISIS soldiers wielding swords were ten minutes away. What to do?
I will tell you what most Americans do. Most of us, even Christians, have trained ourselves to run to search for more information on Sean’s report and location from cable television news or a live report on internet. There is this secure feeling we get when we “know” what is going on. I call this grab for information, “the run to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. But I knew that my personal knowledge about the good or evil going on in the world would not help Sean or his team members.
Again I wondered, What to do?
Yesterday afternoon, before this report came to me, I’d experienced an unusual awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence. He was close, real. It was like I knew he was listening to each thought and so I made a more conscious effort to choose my thoughts carefully. I rarely experience such intensity of intimacy with God during the working part of my day. His presence is very sweet and so real in the early morning hours that we share alone together, but oftentimes I lose that high level of intimacy as I engage my focus in the work before me. Holy Spirit spoke to my heart several times to read a particular novel called PUSH, a novel that points to what life may look like in the United States and the world just before Jesus comes. The fiction needed work and, as an editor, I cringed a bit. But the historical accuracy and the story line itself were top notch and the book held my interest and put my heart in position for what was ahead that evening. I picked up the book after I finished cleaning up from supper. I was still reading PUSH after my husband went to bed and that’s when I received Sean’s report.
God positioned me and prepared my heart to really listen, hear, and consider Sean’s email alert. Moreover, because I obeyed God, I was in a position to listen, hear, and consider what God wanted me to do in response.
A “prayer angle” rose up inside of me. What I mean by a “prayer angle” is that I knew what Sean needed and I knew how God wanted me to pray at that moment because God revealed it to me. If you intercede for others, you know what that feels like. It’s like you have to pray for a person or situation and until you pray you cannot think of anything else or engage with full concentration in any other activity. I was bursting to pray immediately! But prayer without faith was worthless, so I wondered who I could call to agree with me in faith?
I tried to contact the friend who forwarded the message, but she didn’t respond. So I asked God, “Who has faith for this? Who can I call who will believe with me?” He brought my friend Mary to mind. Now, Mary has gone on numerous mission trips and she is one who goes into a nation with God’s plan written inside of her. So I called Mary.
I read the first few lines of Sean’s message and Mary interrupted me. She said, “Crisis Relief International is the organization I trained with.”
“You’re kidding?” I asked. “No wonder I was to call you. Do you know Sean Malone?”
“Yes, I know Sean. I know the team.” Mary sighed. She got quiet. Finally she admitted to feeling overwhelmed with the crises in Israel, Syria, Nigeria, and Iraq all going on at the same time. She was vacationing and hoped for a respite from the intensity. Of course, I didn’t know any of this when I called her.
I said, “Mary, I just need your faith. I think I know how to pray. Will you just agree with me?”
“Yes! I can do that!” I heard that lilt in her voice and I knew she was on board.
Here’s the thing. I knew I had access to God Almighty just as Michelle, Malia, and Sasha have access to President Barack Obama. There was no question that I would be accepted when I entered heaven’s gates with prayers. I knew I could walk right in and ask anything and if Mary and I together agreed as touching this one request, God would answer our request. He promised!
“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 18:19 NASV).”
Wow, did we pray!
If you are interested in entering into faith for the Christians and other minorities being brutally terrorized and chased in Iraq, leave a comment below and I will share the prayer points we used last night.
And that novel, PUSH? My mother would say: