Although I’ve tweeted a lot of resources and prayers related to the martyrdom by ISIS of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya last week, I never got a chance to post anything here at the blog. That seems a huge oversight, and I would like to urge continued prayer today in response to the killings. Prayer for Egypt, and prayer for the families of those martyred for their faith.
Here are some important links & resources, as well as some of the tweets I’ve seen in recent days that included good prayers:
Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt has issued a Statement and a call to prayer for Egypt:
The Anglican Church in Egypt and the world expresses its deep condolences to the families of these men, and also to his Holiness Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Please join me in praying for peace in Libya, Egypt, and the entire Middle East. Please pray the international community will act in wisdom, correctly and efficiently, and support Egypt in its war on terror. Please pray the churches of Egypt will comfort their sons and daughters, encouraging them to resist fear and hatred. And please pray for the perpetrators of this terrible crime, that God would be merciful to them and change their hearts.
Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Such cheer may seem impossible, but it is God’s promise. Please pray for us, that we may live lives worthy of his name, and hold to the testimony exhibited by the brave Egyptians in Libya.
Dr. Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America also issued a Call to Prayer for Egypt and the families of the martyrs, which excerpted parts of Archbishop Mouneer’s statement.
As many of you know, these men were simple, Egyptian laborers who had gone to Libya to make a living. They were captured and executed by ISIS for being – as the video caption charges – “People of the Cross”. Egyptians have been shocked by this news and it is the most talked about event in our country at this time.
The purpose of the video was to foment sectarian strife in Egypt between Christians and Muslims. Those Islamic extremists clearly intended to provoke the 10 million Christians in Egypt to rise up violently against their Muslim neighbors.
But the loving and caring response of Muslims all over the nation softened the blow which many Christians felt. Up till now the Christians of Egypt have responded with restraint, sorrowfully calling out to God.
The President and dozens of political leaders personally gave their condolences to the Coptic Pope. The Prime Minister travelled to the small village where most of these men come from, sitting on the floor with their poor relatives to express his concern. All this sends a clear message that Christians are considered an integral part of the fabric of Egyptian society.
1. Pray for comfort for the families of the victims who are in a terrible emotional state.
2. Pray for the effective mass distribution of a Scripture tract we have just produced (above left), that God’s Word will comfort and challenge the many who will receive it.
3. As I write, there is news of more Egyptians being kidnapped in Libya. Lord have mercy!
Please pray for Egypt as we pass through this painful period.
Here is a page where you can find the names of the 21 martyred Egyptian Christians so you can keep their families in prayer.
Pastor Scotty Smith, one of my favorite prayer bloggers, posted a powerful prayer in response to the martyrdoms at his Gospel Coalition blog:
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them. Rev. 6:9-11(NLT)
Dear heavenly Father, images of our orange-clad Egyptian brothers, paraded along the seashore before their martyrdom, brought many emotions to play in my heart. I felt a moment of fear, then anger and disgust, and then a tad of hatred for enemies of the cross and a longing for vengeance. I felt all of these things, until I entered the sanctuary of your Word.
Father, though I don’t fully understand, I rest in the assurance that you are as sovereign over the number of your children to be martyred, as you are in control of sunrise and sunset, seedtime and harvest, the day Jesus entered our world and the timing of his return. You give and you take away, blessed be the name of our Lord.
The Lamb who was broken for our sins, is alone worthy to break the seals of your unfolding story of redemption and restoration. There’s no consternation or vexation in heaven, just exaltation of the God who does all things well—in your time and in your way. “Stuff” doesn’t just happen; sovereignty is always happening. We believe; help us when we feel weak, Father.
When will Jesus return, and when will you avenge the glory of your name and eradicate all evil? You delay because you are a merciful and grace-full God. Through Jesus, you have secured a family as numerous as stars, sand, and dust, from all nations and people groups. Perhaps among those who took the lives of our Egyptian brothers is another like Saul of Tarsus, whom you call and appoint another Apostle of Grace (Acts 7:54-59).
So we pray for grieving families in Egypt, Father, and we join the cry of martyrs in heaven, “How long, O Lord?” Grant us grace and courage, to share the gospel, serve our neighbors, and love our enemies, until this day becomes that Day. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ beautiful and triumphant name.
NY Times bestselling author and popular (excellent!) Christian blogger Ann Voskamp has written two amazing blog entries in response to the martyrdoms, challenging us all to be “people of the cross.” I commend them both HIGHLY.
Finally, a few tweets I’ve found helpful in recent days:
Let us pray for the Egyptian Church to be brave witnesses for the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to be light in the darkness.
— Joel C. Rosenberg (@JoelCRosenberg) February 16, 2015
Let’s pray God’s protection on the borders of Libya that evil may not grow. In God’s mercy, ask for His sovereign over-ruling of evil plans. — PrayNorthAfrica (@PrayNorthAfrica) February 19, 2015
Forgive us for forgetting the persecuted church, for not living it with ever fibre of our being: to live is Christ & to die is gain #Pray703
— Ann Voskamp (@AnnVoskamp) February 17, 2015