Christians in the Middle East are suffering. They are also leading the way by living out their Christian faith within the furnace of brutal persecution. Many believers—young and old—have suffered violent deaths with the love of Jesus on their lips.
The mass beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian men—the latest horror in a litany of barbaric ISIS executions of countless Christians—is prompting Christians in the West to rise up together in an urgent call to prayer. This call comes on the heels of a video published by HuffingtonPost/Religion where a grieving Beshir Kamel, elder brother of two of the martyred men, Bishoy Astafanus Kamel (25) and Samuel Astafanus Kamels (23), responds to his losses as a believer whose feet are planted firmly on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He is unbending in his pride of two younger brothers who died for their faith, calling them “a pride to Christianity.” Along with his grieving mother, he is forgiving of his enemies and extends a hand of grace and hospitality to his brothers’ ISIS executioners.
“My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [the killer] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her sons entered the kingdom of heaven.”
“Dear God,” Kamel prayed, “please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance and the wrong teachings they were taught.”
Kamel’s example is a call for the rest of us to join in praying for those who are persecuted as well as for those who persecute them. Jesus’ Gospel is powerful and large and his Spirit easily penetrates behind enemy lines.
Last night, Gabe Lyons sent out this announcement and the video at the top of this post that can be downloaded from the 21martyrs.com website:
I know it’s late on a Friday evening but this couldn’t wait. Over the last 48 hours we have focused our creativity and resources on supporting an appropriate response to the 21 Egyptian Christian martyrs. In partnership with many other leaders and organizations, our team created 21martyrs.com as a simple place to call for action in two specific ways:
FIRST: Join thousands of churches for a ‘Moment of Silence and Prayer’ this SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd and play this video before offering a prayer of reflection.
Please invite other church leaders in your area to participate as well for a moment of unity.
SECOND: Engage the growing PRAY 703 initiative created by Ann Voskamp to guide us towards repentance and renewal during this Season of Lent at 7:03 each day. Use #Pray703 on twitter to follow her posts and mobilize others to join in here.
I’m thankful for your participation.
Please join this rising tide of prayer and help spread the word to others.