I was reading the news yesterday morning when I stumbled across a story about two Somali girls , aged 15 and 16, who were dragged off the street, accused by radical Muslim rebels of being spies, prohibited from seeing their families, and then—in shock and in tears—publicly executed.
I can’t get their deaths out of my mind.
Maybe it’s because we have two girls, who used to be teenagers. I see their faces superimposed on the CNN photographs.
Maybe it’s because it’s such a horrific story. So senseless. So evil.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been praying for God to break my heart for the lost and the hungry and the hurting.
There’s nothing I can do to help those two teens. I don’t know if they knew God or not. Had they ever had a chance to learn about Jesus?
I can’t help them, but maybe I can do something. I searched online for “Christian Somali aid” and learned that the Islamist group al-Shabaab has recently forced three Christian relief ministries out of their country, leaving thousands of people to starve. It didn’t matter that all three agencies had signed the Red Cross code of conduct, stipulating that aid could not be dependent on a person’s religious beliefs, or used as an enticement.
According to a quote by Todd Nettleton, spokesman with Voice of the Martyrs, “Al-Shabaab has specifically hunted Christians. They have gone into areas where Christians are known to be, where foreign Christians have had a presence previously, and they have sought to find all of the Christians and either kill them or force them out of the area.”
Apparently, I can’t even give financially to help the Somali people caught in the crossfire. But I can do something.
I can pray.
Sometimes we look at prayer as a last resort… I can’t go, I can’t give, but at least I can pray. But prayer is so much more than that. It should be the first thing we do.
Prayer joins our heart to God’s heart. We begin to see the situation from His perspective. His love, His desires, His plans become ours.
Without prayer, we act in our own strength. With prayer, we become one with God’s purpose.
Prayer produces fruit. The following chart shows “Number of Conversions” from Every Home for Christ’s door-to-door evangelism efforts during the 1990’s. In 1993, a new prayer effort engaged 20 million believers praying for the people living in the parts of the world most resistant to the gospel.
Look at the change in the number of people responding to God. Coincidence? Maybe.
“Now [Jesus] was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart….” (Luke 18:1)