Our hearts break as we see great persecution occurring against believers in northern Iraq. Many of these Christ followers are being driven out of their homes and towns, separated from family and friends, threatened, attacked and even killed. Amidst this horror, we are called to step into the stories of those experiencing injustice. One way to engage on behalf of our brothers and sisters in distress is by praying for them. But instead of only asking God to protect and preserve human life, we see many examples of believers throughout Scripture praying for something even bigger when facing persecution.
In Acts 4, we find John and Peter arrested for preaching the gospel. After they were released, they relayed to the biblical community how they were threatened if they were to continue proclaiming Jesus. Instead of crying out to God in fear or asking for Him to protect the believers, they prayed that they would speak with great boldness (Acts 4:29-31) for the sake of Christ.
Similarly, in the book of Philippians, Paul writes to the church in Philippi while imprisoned for sharing the gospel. Instead of focusing on the difficult circumstances he faces and asking God to change them, his hope lies in God giving him courage for Christ to be exalted-whether in his life or death (Philippians 1:20).
May we pray for the Church in Iraq in the same way: not just for their deliverance, but for the Spirit of God to give them a supernatural boldness that would result in God’s glory-in Iraq and all over the world.