Grace to Love and Pray
Demonic spirits influence the thinking of individuals to keep them from understanding the gospel. Second Corinthians 4:3-4 tells us: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they will not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (NASB). Our prayers play a role in removing this veil.
It is also true that satan and his demonic spirits work to influence the minds of entire groups of people, shaping their beliefs and cultures. This is accomplished in various ways, including past experiences, corporate sins, teachings and indoctrination, immorality, idolatry, and more. Satan’s goal is to keep people from believing on Christ for salvation and a relationship with God as their Father. Jesus came to remove the deception, open their eyes, and restore them to the Father. We, the church, have been assigned the responsibility of partnering with Him in this task. Again, prayer is one of the ways we do so.
The Bible teaches that faith in Christ’s substitutional sacrifice is the only way to be saved and restored to the Father (John 14:6). Many people and cultures try to find Him through other beliefs and methods. Our love for them motivates us to pray and work toward their enlightenment and redemption. Many Muslims from various nations will receive revelation and be saved in the coming revival. This is something I long to see. Some of those who come to Christ will doubtlessly be those who are currently terrorists. That isn’t quite as easy for me to embrace.
Walking in God’s love toward those who do evil is difficult. But the Bible promotes both justice and forgiveness; hatred of evil, and love for our enemies. Only God can perfectly balance these seeming paradoxes. We must ask for His ability and grace to honor them. As believers and followers of Christ, we don’t get the option of picking and choosing which of His commands we want to obey. I confess to my own struggle with this at times.
Could I become a missionary to those who killed my spouse, as Elizabeth Elliot did, and lead them to Christ? I’m not sure. “Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca people (now known as Huaorani; also rendered as Waorani or Waodani) of eastern Ecuador. She later spent two years as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband.”(1) That’s some amazing grace, isn’t it?
Could I pray, with heartfelt sincerity, the prayer of the church’s first martyr Stephen, as the stones were tearing his flesh, breaking his bones, and ending his life: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”? (Acts 7:60). I would like to say I could, but I’m not sure. I AM certain, however, that Stephen’s love and prayer were used to win one of his murderers to Christ, and that this person became perhaps the greatest leader Christendom has ever had. Saul of Tarsus, later an apostle renamed Paul, participated in Stephen’s martyrdom:
“When they had driven [Stephen] out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul… Now Saul approved of putting Stephen to death. [The Passion Translation says Saul was an ‘accomplice’ and ‘participated in his execution.’] And on that day, a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles…But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and he would drag away men and women and put them in prison.” (Acts 7:58; 8:1, 3; NASB)
I prefer to forget that part of Paul’s life. But, like it or not, he was a murderer and led the persecution of Christians. In Galatians 1:13, Paul said he did so “beyond measure,” trying to “destroy” the church. In 1 Timothy 1:13, he referred to himself in this former life as a “persecutor” and “violent aggressor” against the church. And Acts 9:1 references him as “breathing threats and murder” to the church, dragging them to Jerusalem “in shackles.” Like it or not, Paul was once a merciless, violent murderer of Christians. And yet, God loved him and preserved his calling as an apostle - which he had from birth! (Galatians 1:15)
I feel the need to once again remind us as we pray against evil and for the destruction of terrorist organizations, that we not harden our hearts against Muslims, or any nationality, including Palestinians, Iranians, Lebanese, and other nationalities who originate from nations harboring terrorists.
This is in no way a subtle suggestion that Hamas should not be destroyed. They and all other terrorist organizations need to be destroyed. We must stand with Israel against terrorists, and all anti-Semitism must be confronted and stopped. But we must also love the people of the region, and pray for revelation to be given to them, resulting in their salvation.
Likewise, we must not harden our hearts against deceived students protesting and rioting on the campuses of America. Yes, it angers me. Yes, we should condemn their actions. Yes, we must have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or violence. Yes, we should prosecute those who break laws, destroy property, or harm others. But we must also love and pray for the salvation of these students. We can love people without excusing their actions.
Remember, the goal of the violence against Israel on October 7th, perpetrated by satan and the prince of Persia (Iran) was to foster more hatred among people and nations, and start a major war. Iran (behind the attack) knew Israel would have to respond by destroying Hamas, and they knew that would result in the deaths of many Palestinians. They do not care. Iran’s goal of generating further hatred of Israel, causing a larger scale war that might destroy Israel, perhaps even America (maybe regional or even World War 3), outweighs any number of Palestinian casualties. They and Hamas use them as shields! Satan’s goal is all of these outcomes, plus the added and ultimate goal of stopping God’s coming harvest.
Holy Spirit has a plan to stop satan’s schemes from succeeding. Our prayers are part of His plan. We must love and pray for all the people of the Middle East, and pray against satan’s goals. As part of facilitating this, prayer leader Cindy Jacobs of Generals International, is issuing a call to pray and fast (as led) for 21 days, beginning November 11 and ending December 1. Here is a portion of Cindy’s alert:
“Rick and Patricia Ridings of Succat Hallel in Jerusalem gave a word of warning over 15 years ago that satan was going to try and start WW3 through a regional conflict or war. With the aligning of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, possible escalation globally is real and potentially imminent. Iran is close to gaining nuclear capabilities and these global alliances being formed could produce deadly consequences.
“Therefore, we are calling for 21 days of prayer and fasting, beginning Saturday, 11/11/23, through 12/1/23.
“In praying against WWIII:
Pray that the coalition between Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea will not become a successful war engine.
Pray that Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and surrounding nations be protected.
Pray for the overthrow of wicked governments and terrorist organizations.
Pray that other nations will not align with these rogue nations by funding them.
“May the Lord respond swiftly to our intercession to avert a third world war, give us more time to reap a great harvest of souls, and be glorified in the nations of the earth!”
You can see the entirety of Cindy’s Operation Psalm 91 alert at Generals.org. Let’s join forces and pray that this diabolical attack on Israel not lead to a larger war, and not be used to affect the coming harvest.
Pray with me:
Father, we know through Your word that You always have strategies to defeat satan. You have also been reminding us of this over and over through encouraging words and dreams. Satan has never taken You by surprise. There is a great amount of prayer on earth at this time in history, more than there has ever been. We believe You are using this prayer to stop the plans of the powers of darkness, thwarting their attempts to devastate the entire earth and delay Your great harvest. Stop Iran and its allies. End the reign of the prince of Persia.
Throughout history You have used turmoil and calamity to awaken people. People and nations open doors to satan’s activity, but You are famous for taking what he means for evil, and using it for good. We’re asking for this now. Use the shaking to awaken prodigal America. Use it to open the eyes of millions of Muslims and those of other faiths to Yeshua. And use these salvations to awaken Israel, bringing a great harvest there (Romans 10:19). Give us the grace we need to love our enemies and pray for them.
And we thank You for leading us to anoint, cover, and anchor our nation. Thank You for stirring millions to pray, even sisters and brothers in other nations. Thank You for exposing the evil in our government and society, revealing the shocking levels of corruption, hypocrisy, selfishness, greed, incompetence, cruelty, and depravity. Thank You for using this to humble us, though we know the process isn’t finished. We trust Your heart and mercy enough to say, “Finish it.”
All this we pray in the name of Jesus, amen.
We decree that He who has begun a good work in us will finish it.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
You can find out more about Cindy Jacobs and Generals of Intercession at Generals.org.