Adopt a Terrorist for Prayer…instead of prayers for protection, let’s go for boldness

Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer–a day we pray for America. A good reminder to come to our Father who loves us and pour out our heart’s desire for our country. What’s on your heart that you have been asking God for America?

Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer–a day we pray for America. A good reminder to come to our Father who loves us and pour out our heart’s desire for our country. What’s on your heart that you have been asking God for America?

The stalled economy? A dear one who struggles another month to find a job? I pray for that.

The defeat of Islamic Jihad? Justice for the bomber? I pray for that.

Bringing us together as a nation? Wisdom and unity for our leaders to address so many needs?
The rescue of innocent babes from abortion? Especially abortionists like Dr. Gosnell in Philadelphia?
The strengthening of the family? The turning of husband’s hearts to their wives? Of children’s hearts to their parents?
The healing of addictions? The deliverance from evil?

I pray for that too.

Let’s go a step deeper…beyond the what…HOW do we pray about the challenges and troubles around us?

I'll be honest…my response has been to pray for protection, circle the wagons, pull into my Christian tribe. Pray for protection and play a strong defensive game of whack-the-mole against all the toxic waste in our entertainment culture—set limits on the computer, edit the playlists of raunchy music, change the TV channel…all Biblical…all good things…as far as they go…

But do you know that is NOT what the church prayed for in its very first gathering to pray? When Peter and John were arrested, detained overnight and threatened by the Jewish leaders NOT to speak of Jesus—of what their eyes had seen and their ears had heard…how did they pray?

Upon their release they gathered the church together for the first ever prayer meeting and prayed, “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." Acts 4:29-30

The church did not pray for protection. They prayed for boldness.

And what happened? The house shook, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they continued to speak with boldness.

Question: As we see America moving further away from Jesus and his Word…What is our basic inclination towards outsiders and American culture?

Are we offended so that we seek separation/protection from them?

Are we provoked to engagement? To build bridges and move in to help?

Let’s ask God for Boldness rather than protection.

Here's a great example…as we pray for the Boston bombings and all those so deeply wounded and scared by this act of terror, let's remember to pray for our enemies, pray for those who persecute us.

Let's pray for the remaining brother, Djokhar Tsarnaev, not only for justice, but also for God's mercy on him. That he would repent of his evil and that Jesus would turn his heart to Him.

I was already praying for him when I discovered a website…Adopt a Terrorist for Prayer. There you can find the names of other terrorists, what acts of terror they've committed and whether they are yet in prison. You can even see how may others have signed up to pray for them.

As the horror of the bombings fades we can really do something lasting about it as we continue to pray boldly for both the victims and the bomber. May God use this tragedy to bring many into eternal life.

As we pray for our nation, let us also pray for ourselves. Let’s make it our aim to boldly pray, boldly engage. Spend less time watching the news and getting frustrated about it. More time praying about it.

Lael writes and speaks about faith and culture and how God renews our vision and desire for Him and his Kingdom. She earned a master's degree (MAT) in the history of ideas from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has taught Western culture and apologetics at secular and Christian schools and colleges. Her long-term experience with rheumatoid arthritis and being a pastor’s wife has deepened her desire to minister to the whole person—mind, heart, soul and spirit. Lael has co-hosted a talk radio program, The Things That Matter Most, on secular stations in Houston and Dallas about what we believe and why we believe it with guests as diverse as Dr. Deepak Chopra, atheist Sam Harris and VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer. (Programs are archived on the website.) Lael has authored four books, including a March 2011 soft paper edition of A Faith and Culture Devotional (now titled Faith and Culture: A Guide to a Culture Shaped by Faith), Godsight, and Worldproofing Your Kids. Lael’s writing has also been featured in Focus on the Family and World magazines, and she has appeared on many national radio and television programs. Lael and her husband, Jack, now make their home in South Carolina.