Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Proper Power

God,

Lebanon struggles to keep on the power.

Lebanon struggles with power.

Yours is the sovereignty, God. You delegate some.

And Lebanon struggles to keep it.

“Do not stay silent,” the patriarch urged, proposing a path of neutrality.

Hundreds arrived to his place in the hills, as he invites the global community

To act where the nation is stuck in its ways

And cannot form even a government.

Illegal arms. Unfaithful judges. And plots to passport Palestinians.

Stalled reforms. Dishonored martyrs. His list was long and passionate.

It was bold—the Shiite militia had warned it was war.

It was clear—the Lebanese knew his full meaning.

But was it of you?

Some say the patriarch is being political. Some say clerics themselves are at fault.

The sectarian root poisons all, they proclaim. Religion should not have power.

Maybe. But it does, God.

The question is: How is it used?

Will it lay down its life for its friend?

Politicians have power, and are also accused.

Some cut to the front of the line for vaccines.

Maybe they need to. By rights they serve. They shepherd the state of the nation.

If they fall ill who will rise to their place? Things fall apart if they fail.

So many wish them ill, God. So many say they are failures.

But not you.

You will judge them, yes. Their power is from you. They will answer for what they were given.

Yet still they are human, bearing your image.

We all fail you, in our sin.

You want our redemption. You long to restore.

Your grace invites even the evil.

So what of politicians?

Bless them.

We pray for them. We need them to do well.

We need—electricity.

And what of the clerics? Only the same.

We need their prayers—from humility.

God, pick and choose. Sort the wheat from the chaff.

Shape Lebanon how you desire.

Yet well said the patriarch in his command:

Speak out.

Each one has his share.

Give wisdom, God.

Help each one find it.

Help Lebanon find it.

Help Lebanon find itself—and with it, proper power.

Amen.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.

Categories
Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

If Muslims Can Build Churches in Egypt, Has Persecution Ended?

Image: Egypt Cabinet of Ministers Media Center
An Egyptian government infographic depicting recent progress in legalizing Christian churches.

Egyptian Christians have long struggled to build their churches.

But now, they can have Muslim help.

Last month, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam issued a fatwa (religious ruling) allowing Muslim paid labor to contribute toward the construction of a church. Conservative scholars had argued this violated the Quranic injunction to not help “in sin and rancor.”

The ruling is timely, as the governmental Council of Ministers recently issued an infographic highlighting the 2020 land allocation for 10 new churches in eight Egyptian cities. An additional 34 are currently under construction.

Prior to this, two prominent examples stand out. In 2018, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Homeland in al-Our, a village in Upper Egypt, to honor the Copts beheaded by ISIS in Libya. And in 2019, he consecrated the massive Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in what will become the new administrative capital of Egypt, alongside its central mosque.

This is in addition to restoration work at 16 historic Coptic sites and further development of the 2,000-mile Holy Family Trail, tracing the traditional map of Jesus’ childhood flight from King Herod.

And since the 2018 implementation of a 2016 law to retroactively license existing church buildings, a total of 1,800 have now been registered legally.

Persecution has long been a term applied to Copts in Egypt, ranked No. 16 on the Open Doors 2021 World Watch List of nations where it is hardest to be a Christian. But shortly after the mufti’s fatwa, which restated a ruling last given in 2009, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar gave a pronouncement of his own…

[But there are dissenting cases also.]

Ramy Kamel, a 33-year-old activist, was once dodging tanks near Tahrir Square, protesting for Coptic equality. Ten years later, he is in jail for “spreading false news” about Coptic discrimination, and “financing a terrorist group.”

Soad Thabet, a 74-year-old Coptic grandmother, was in the Upper Egyptian village of al-Karm, minding her own business. Ten years later, she is fighting for justice after having been stripped naked and paraded through town, with her Muslim attackers acquitted.

These examples show that the term persecution remains “appropriate,” said Kurt Werthmuller, a USCIRF policy analyst specializing in Egypt…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today on February 22, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

Who Will Save Algeria’s Closed Churches: the UN, US, or Hirak?

Image: STR / picture alliance / Getty Images
People in Algiers wave a big Algerian flag during a protest held today to mark the second anniversary of the mass demonstrations, commonly known as the Hirak Movement, that pushed long-time ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika out of office in April 2019.

Algeria’s Christians hope that a one-two punch may reopen their churches.

Last December, a letter from the United Nations asked the North African government to give account. And in recent days, popular protests resumed after crackdowns and a COVID-19 hiatus.

Two years ago, Protestants cheered when the Algerian Hirak [Arabic for movement] forced the resignation of then 82-year-old president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, following his announcement that he would run for a fifth term in office. Protests continued, however, as the ruling clique was slow to make changes.

Hirak supports human rights, and I have no doubt they will help the churches,” said Youssef Ourahmane, vice president of the Algerian Protestant Church (EPA).

“And the letter from the UN shows something else is wrong, and now they will have to deal with it.”

Its language reads like a teacher scolding a recalcitrant student.

“Please explain in detail the factual and legal basis that justified the closure of the 13 places of worship and churches,” stated the 7-page letter, written in French.

“Please provide information on the re-registration procedure of the [EPA], and explain the reason why this has not been finalized to date.”

Signed by three UN experts specializing in the freedom of religion and belief, peaceful assembly, and minorities, the now-open letter represents the latest chapter of international advocacy for the persecuted Protestants of Algeria.

The nation ranks No. 24 on the Open Doors World Watch List of the most difficult countries for Jesus followers. Only three years ago, it ranked No. 42.

“2020 was a very difficult year for us Protestants, who have been deprived of our places of worship,” said Salah Chalah, president of the EPA. “[But] we love our country and we regularly pray for its prosperity.”

Algerian Protestants number between 50,000 and 100,000 believers, with the great majority concentrated in the Atlas Mountains regions populated with Kabyle, a non-Arab indigenous ethnic group.

Besides the 13 churches forcibly shut down, the UN noted 40 other Protestant places of worship threatened with closure. It also rebuked the “physical force” used against church members, as well as discriminatory treatment against Christians in airports and other border crossings.

In 2018, the Algerian government denied Christians were persecuted, stating churches were closed for “nonconformity with the laws.”

But in October 2019, Chalah was one of several kicked and beaten with batons while protesting the closure of the Full Gospel Church of Tizi-Ouzou, 60 miles east of the capital Algiers. Understood to be Algeria’s largest church, 300 of the congregation’s 1,200 members gathered in solidarity as 20 police officers sealed its doors.

“May everyone know that we have been beaten and abused for one reason only—our Christian faith,” Chalah said at the time. “And because that’s the cause of our pain…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today on February 22, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: A New Judge

God,

Six months. Starting over. Sort of.

The Beirut explosion now has a new judge.

A young man, respected, dares enter the fray.

First he must scour the thousands of notes

Left behind by the judge tossed aside for his work.

Then he must weigh if those efforts were true.

Were figures indicted the right ones to fall?

And are there still others, and how will he know?

Is there a trail that pinpoints the guilt?

Or if everyone shared in a system corrupted

Is any one person a scapegoat for all?

All this takes time, God.

Victims’ families have no closure.

Damaged shops await their claims.

With the nation stuck on neutral

People say: Its by design.

But Lebanon has other frustrations also.

Still no government. Still no aid.

Parliament questions exchange rate equations,

While the needy are suffering, someone else gains.

The Maronite patriarch pleads to the world:

Let the UN guide our path back to health.

The Shiite militia rejects this agenda.

“Our problems are here. We will solve them ourselves.”

There is honor in both answers, God.

But they also called it: War.

Judge between them, for the good.

Judge.

Judge.

But God, let us fear your judgment. You are righteous, we are not.

And your verdict is eternal.

Can the young man solve the mystery?

If pressured, can he walk this path?

Give him courage. Give him wisdom.

Protect his heart. Protect his life.

Too many have been killed already.

And what of the others, God?

Do they serve the nation? Do they serve their friends?

And what do we pray for? That our side would win?

Judge them, God.

They deign to speak for the country.

We do not know their hearts.

Expose the ones of selfish interest.

Promote the ones who fear your name.

And make us like them—faithful to the right, committed to the true.

Humble in assessment of ourselves.

Yet firm in conviction, where in line with yours.

Teach us to balance:

Judge with right judgement.

Judge not lest you be judged.

God, there is a way forward.

Let Lebanon find it.

Amen.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.

Categories
Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

Interview: The Middle East Church Must Resemble Salt, not Rabbits

Image: Courtesy of The Middle East Council of Churches

Pope Francis will make the first papal visit ever to Iraq in March to encourage the dwindling faithful. War and terrorism have hemorrhaged the nation’s Christians, but he hopes they might return.

Meanwhile in Lebanon, Michel Abs, recently selected as the new leader of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), agrees with the pontiff. But in an interview with CT, he said that schools and hospitals have distinguished Christians, who he hopes might even increase in number—and quality.

And Protestants, he said, have a lever effect that raises the whole. Representing only 7 percent of the regional Christian population, they have a full one-quarter share in the council.

The MECC was founded in 1974 by the Protestant, Greek Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox denominations. Catholics joined in 1990 to complete its diverse Christian mosaic.

According to the Pew Research Center’s 2010 Global Christianity report, Orthodox believers represent 65 percent of the Middle East’s Christians, with Catholics an additional 27 percent.

But it was the Protestants who helped give birth to the ecumenical movement that joined them together. The 1934 United Missionary Council became the Near East Christian Council in 1956, and the Near East Council of Churches in 1964.

It was renamed the Middle East Council of Churches when the Orthodox joined 10 years later. Today it includes Protestant church associations in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Sudan, Iran, Kuwait, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Council leadership rotates between the four denominations. Last September, Patriarch John X. Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church nominated Abs for the Eastern Orthodox four-year term. (Protestants are next in line.)

“Despite the difficulties we face today, being one is the solution,” Abs said in his acceptance address last October.

“This vine that the Lord planted two millennia ago will continue to spread, to include ever-growing areas of the planet.”

A Lebanese Orthodox, Abs represents the ecumenical diversity of the Middle East. His father was educated by Protestants, and married a Catholic. An economist and sociologist, he is a lecturer at the Jesuit St. Joseph’s University in Beirut.

CT interviewed Abs about the regional influence of Christians, the nature of persecution, and the witness of the gospel in the Middle East:

Congratulations on your election as general secretary. From this position, how do you describe the current situation of Christians in the Middle East?

It has been a difficult decade. The emerging movement of fundamentalism has harmed both Christians and Muslims. Everyone is in danger. We have to deal with turbulent times with much wisdom and solidarity. We need a long-term vision.

But I don’t think we will be eradicated from this area. Maybe we will diminish in numbers, or increase later on, but numbers are not the most important thing, despite their importance and their psychological effects.

The quality of their presence is important too. Christians are known for the quality of what they do. With respect to others, they developed efficient institutions, like universities, schools, and media. This helps, but I am still concerned with…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today on February 19, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Vaccine Doubt

God,

The vaccine is here, and yet people doubt.

What should be hope is cynicism.

But why should it be otherwise? Our lives are full of conspiracy.

Our lives are full of sin.

Some trust not the Western make. Others reject Russia.

Even in medicine rivalry reigns. A zero-sum game of interests.

But much of the questioning hits closer to home.

“Lebanon: corrupt and incompetent.”

Can it keep the vaccine cold?

Will it distribute fairly?

God, you know.

Few others do.

At the main COVID hospital the head figure urges.

And his overworked staff deserves first in line.

But less than a third signaled solid acceptance.

A full four-in-ten will not take it at all.

What then of the nation?

The lockdown makes the cases fall. But with it the economy.

Another week. And then two more. And still two stages evaluating.

But now: A prick. And then one more. Eventually four million.

Herd immunity.

Or are we sheep?

Or are we rats—trapped in a lab?

God, you are our shepherd.

You lead us beside still waters.

But through the valley of death.

COVID has taken many, conspiracy or not.

Corruption has taken many—but that death is eternal.

And it has poisoned Lebanon far more than any virus.

It has ruined trust.

So what now?

Take the vaccination? Wait it out and wear a mask?

See if others fall ill first?

But if no trust in Lebanon, what of the world?

Are scientists, chemists, complicit?

Errors are possible. Money is made.

But is the whole world out to get me?

All we know, God, is you are not.

And yet, in the end, I will die.

You control the times and seasons.

COVID, somehow, is of you.

But so is grace, and faith, and love.

So is trust—which we must give.

Help us build it ever slowly.

One-to-one, where friendships lie.

Then let us risk to trust the stranger.

Maybe, even, rivals too?

Trust demands we become vulnerable.

As, in fact, we always are.

COVID has reminded us. Death has no escape.

And love leads to a cross.

Do we trust you, God?

The vaccine is here, and some will doubt it. Who can say if they are wrong?

Bless them. Bless us.

Walk with us to unknown future.

Give us wisdom. Heal the sick.

Amen.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.

Categories
Christianity Today Europe Published Articles

Hundreds of Churches Threatened by France’s Plan to End Muslim Separatism

Creator: Christophe Meneboeuf 

Frustrated by years of terrorism inflicted by radical Islamists, France’s parliament is debating a law to end Muslim separatism.

French evangelicals fear their churches will become collateral damage.

“This is the first time, as president of the Protestant Federation of France, that I find myself in the position of defending freedom of worship,” said François Clavairoly.

“I never imagined that in my own country something like this could happen.”

Officially named “the Law to Uphold Republican Principles,” the 459-page bill has been the subject of fierce debate this month, receiving over 1,700 proposed amendments.

The aim, interior minister Gerald Darmanin told parliament, is to stop “an Islamist hostile takeover targeting Muslims” that “like gangrene [is] infecting our national unity.”

With Muslims often crowded into the many impoverished banlieues of France’s major cities, officials fear imported extremist ideologies are leading the religious minority to avoid national integration. In addition, recent terrorist attacks have rallied popular demand for increased security measures.

In the last six years, France has suffered…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today on February 9, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Lokman Slim

God,

By all accounts, a brave man died. But some dispute if he was good.

Yet all condemn his murder.

Suspicion falls on those who doubt. All his life they marred his name.

A Shiite in the south, the militia let him be.

And now most think they killed him.

But no one says so. None accuse. In truth they do not know.

Unknown gunmen pulled the trigger. His family says they beat him first.

He spoke against militia arms. He criticized its foreign ties.

But this is not all that Lokman did. He built an archive for the war.

Every sect contests the history. With documents they now can fight.

And maybe Lebanon can know.

Maybe Lebanon can heal.

Maybe Lokman now can rest?

The nation does not have the luxury. Politics will take no pause.

Christian allies signal distance. Their Shiite partnership has failed.

Helpful here, successful there—”It did not build a state of law.”

Do they tie this to Lokman? Do they tie to the port?

Germans uncovered a stash of explosives. Authorities busted a shipment of drugs.

Six months from the blast there still is no justice.

But two others were killed who had snooped around.

God, the nation hangs its head in horror. Resignation fills the soul.

Add to the list of targeted killings. Another assassin will never be known.

All authorities promised otherwise.

Like they promised for the port.

God, what do you want from the Lebanese people?

Will this time be different? From faith, must they hope?

Or does faith permit only the hope in hereafter? That one day, injustice will all be put right?

Shallow comfort for his family. Little help to fix the state.

So should the nation rage in anger? March again to Martyrs’ Square?

That hope, also, has faded.

Some look to Washington, Riyadh, or Paris. Others to Ankara, Damascus, Tehran.

Hope not in princes, your scripture says.

Then the Lebanese mountains? Lift up your eyes. Help comes from their maker.

To rest in their glory. To reside in their shade.

For refuge from virus. For reminder of you.

Ah, but God, it does not settle. Our lives are left disquiet here.

Already you can give your comfort. Not yet does it assuage us whole.

And Lebanon is left in the lurch.

Your kingdom coming. God, we long.

May we work on its behalf.

May we not confuse your aim.

We honor you in common good. Order, justice praise your name.

But something more is all eternal: The soul that now is in despair.

If Lebanon rises it may fall tomorrow.

The kings of the moment the next one will pass.

Yet the life you redeem is kept everlasting. The joy you bestow is abundant and true.

Give this to Lebanon—all those who seek it.

And with it: Hope.

For Lokman. For justice. For love.

Amen.

Note: The family has since conducted an autopsy, and accepts the result that no signs of torture were found on his body.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.

Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Tripoli Protests

God,

The week started with cows. Humiliation and farce.

It ended with death. Tribulation and rage.

Lift Lebanon from its misery.

Somehow the livestock are now held by Israel.

Crossing a border no human can pass.

One more offense lodged amid violations.

And poor farmers suffer ‘til promised return.

But the tragedy is elsewhere, God.

And only you can interpret it well.

The people of Tripoli are pushed into protest.

The poor pummeled further as all is locked down.

Their anger exploded in riots and arson.

They stormed public buildings, besieged the elite.

Policemen were injured. One protester died.

And all of the airwaves are filled with conspiracy.

Hidden hands that will hijack the cries of the weak.

Oh God, heal.

Hold back the spirits that seek out destruction.

Help the rich of the city reach out to their kin.

But balance the powers that govern the nation.

Give leadership equal to crises at hand.

They are only getting bigger, God.

The cases of COVID are not abating.

Lockdown continues and vaccine is pledged.

But few have a confidence all will go smoothly.

Registration beginning: Will corruption select?

God, yet again, we beg of your mercy.

We humble ourselves in need of your grace.

We confess the sins that we hide and we nurture—

That rob us of power and access to you.

But Lebanon’s troubles go beyond our foibles.

They are baked in a system, the region entire.

There is only so much one can do to improve things.

So we fall to our knees, and ask what it is.

God, help the poor farmer get back his livelihood.

Comfort the family of the man who has passed.

Put food on the tables of Tripoli and elsewhere.

Mark men of integrity to lead every post.

Bless this nation, God.

Bless its people.

Amen.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.

Categories
Africa Christianity Today Published Articles

Gambia’s Christians Take a Stand in the Public Square

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Banjul, Gambia. (Atamari)

For most Gambians, the conflict over the new constitution started in 2017, when President Yahya Jammeh was forced from power and the new president promised reform.

For others who take a long view, the struggle started in 1994, when Jammeh came to power in a coup, started rewriting the constitution, and revised it regularly to suit his political purposes.

But for Begay Jabang, it started with a women’s prayer meeting in Essex, England, in the summer of 2016. She felt God say to her: “Stop praying for yourselves, and start praying for Gambia.”

In response, she founded Intercessors Gambia and launched a 31-day campaign to pray and fast for her native country. Then, when Jabang flew to the Gambia to join in the national day of thanksgiving in March 2017 and celebrate the end of Jammeh’s presidency, she discovered other Christians had also been inspired to pray.

Many small prayer groups were urgently interceding for Gambia in its time of turmoil and asking God to intervene in the nation’s politics.

This is new for Christians in Gambia. They are a minority among the 2 million people in the English-speaking West African nation. Nine out of 10 Gambians are Muslims, and a mere 5 percent are Christians.

Many of the Christians have emigrated from the country, succeeding professionally in majority-Christian countries like the United States and Great Britain. Abroad or at home, they generally don’t get involved with politics.

There are historic exceptions, including Edward Francis Small, who launched an independence movement in the 1920s with his Aku tribe of freed former slaves. And Gambian Christians served in the colonial and early postcolonial governments. But recent generations of Christians have left political affairs to the Muslim majority.

Some attribute this quietism to the teaching of the missionaries who brought Christianity to the country with colonization and the transatlantic slave trade.

Other say the recent neglect has more to do with “brain drain.” The best and brightest at missionary schools would see that, until recent decades, there was no national university in Gambia and few economic prospects, so they would use their Christian education to leave rather than stay and focus on political or economic problems at home.

When Jammeh felt his power starting to slip, however, and declared that the state would no longer be secular but Islamic, a new political engagement was awakened in Gambia’s Christian believers.

“God showed us that all the glory is for him and that he has a purpose in Gambia,” said Lawrence Gomez, a Gambian leader of the region’s International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). “He is giving us time to rise up for our country.” Gomez is part of a growing group that feels…

This article was first published in the January print edition of Christianity Today. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Breathe

God,

What do you pray for when nothing is happening?

When all that is happening is getting worse.

The nation is suffering while locked down entire.

The hospital cots trade the dead for the sick.

But with everything shuttered the other pain rises.

If no one can work, then fewer can eat.

In the north and the south some are driven to protest.

The lockdown extended, with no hope in sight.

Meanwhile the nurses are brought to exhaustion.

When doctors fall ill, demands surge for the rest.

God, there is no rest.

But yet, there is boredom.

Perhaps rather—paralysis.

What is there to do, if naught can be done?

The caretaker prime minister made his best effort.

He went to the head of each ruling sect.

He sought to encourage the forming of government.

Dismissed as “utopian,” no breakthrough was made.

Might outsider stimuli shake up the system?

A new US president takes up the helm.

And a Switzerland inquiry hits central bank leadership,

While Syrian linkage is probed at the port.

At least before long the vaccines will be coming.

The World Bank funding will help with supply.

God, please ensure equitable distribution.

Many voice fears nepotism will reign.

So in the pause, God, let Lebanon pray.

Against the spirit of corruption. Against the spirit of defeat.

For renewal of the nation. For renewal of the heart.

Breathe into Lebanon hope, love, and mercy.

Blow winds of justice, divide wheat from chaff.

Give an awareness that all are united.

COVID is killing regardless of sect.

Both Christian and Muslim are locked in their houses.

The church and the mosque—and the bar—all are closed.

Soon things will open.

Life must go on.

Help Lebanon find the life that is truly life.

Eternal, good, and giving.

Redemptive, and of you.

Amen.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.

Categories
Christianity Today Europe Published Articles

Montenegro’s Churches Get a Religious Freedom Do-Over

Image: Filip Filipovic / Getty Images
Priests and Orthodox nuns watch the funeral service for Metropolitan Amfilohije Radovic from the balcony on November 1, 2020 in Podgorica, Montenegro.

Europe’s second-newest nation made a second effort this week at greater religious freedom.

And evangelicals in Montenegro, the Balkan nation independent from Serbia since 2006, couldn’t be more pleased.

“This is a great blessing, we are out of the gray zone and drawn into legal existence,” said Sinisa Nadazdin, pastor of Gospel of Jesus Christ Church located in the capital city of Podgorica.

“We were permitted before, but now we know our rights and duties.”

Montenegrin evangelicals were pleased with the new law’s first iteration a year ago as well. But in between, the controversial text split Montenegro’s 75-percent Orthodox community, and nearly tore the nation apart.

Controversially passed last February by lawmakers aligned with the 30-year ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (which ran the regional government when the nation was part of Serbia), ethnic Serbian politicians stormed out of the session in protest.

At issue were not the general provisions of the law, which guaranteed the right to change religion, to establish religious schools above the elementary level, and to conscientiously object from military service.

Replacing a 1977 communist-era law, it also eased licensing procedures and permitted foreign-born leadership and international headquarters.

Rather, a clause in the religious freedom law required all religious communities to provide evidence of ownership for properties built prior to the 1918 integration of Montenegro into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Critics interpreted it as a challenge to the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Failure to do so would transfer ownership of hundreds of ancient churches and monasteries to the state, to be regarded as part of Montenegro’s cultural heritage.

Church leadership rallied the faithful in protests throughout the year. The end result was a narrow electoral victory for an alliance of opposition parties, including the ethnic Serbian-led Democratic Front.

Their first priority was to change the religious freedom law.

“This is the ‘Year of Justice’ in Montenegro,” Vladimir Leposavic, newly appointed Minister of Justice and Human and Minority Rights, told CT.

“Our amendments are an example of how we will fight for the rule of law, with clear norms and nondiscrimination.” Seeking to strengthen the law further, the amendments also…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today, on January 22, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

Word or Deeds: Shiite Firebrand Pledges to Restore Iraqi Christian Property

Muqtada al-Sadr

If Pope Francis can avoid the complications of COVID-19 travel and get to Iraq in March, he will hear a lot about stolen property. Muqtada al-Sadr, a leading Shiite politician fiercely opposed to the US military presence, has told Christians he will do something about it.

The issue is not new.

As Iraq’s pre-Gulf War Christian population of 1.25 million dwindled to about 250,000 today, opportunistic non-Christians laid claim to their unoccupied homes and lands. The city of Mosul, next to the traditionally Christian Nineveh Plains—where Pope Francis is scheduled to visit— located 220 miles north of Baghdad, provides telling examples of the problem.

In 2010, in the waning days of official US occupation, Ashur Eskrya’s father decided to sell his family home. Years of chaos had depleted the once 60,000-strong Christian population of Iraq’s second-largest city, representing 10 percent of its total. Property values were plummeting. Especially in hindsight, Eskrya felt fortunate to get 25 percent of its market value.

Four years later, his neighbor got nothing.

ISIS invaded Mosul, putting its Christian population to flight. In 2015, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) surveyed 240 individuals displaced by the fighting throughout Iraq. Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) had their homes confiscated.

A 2014 study estimated that ISIS made more money from selling stolen real estate than it did from oil revenue.

After the liberation of Mosul, some Christians returned, including Eskrya’s neighbor. While 42 percent had lost their property documentation altogether, according to IOM, the neighbor was able to enter a lengthy legal process and eventually regain ownership of his home.

But uncomfortable with the security situation, he returned to Erbil, 55 miles east of Mosul in Iraqi Kurdistan, where thousands of displaced Christians still reside.

He lives there today with his children, which is more than a third family can say.

This neighbor benefited from Mosul’s earlier oil boom, and lived in a home valued at $1.2 million in one of the plush city districts. But in 2006, his daughter was kidnapped and killed. In 2012, another daughter tried to emigrate through Syria, and was killed there. The parents eventually moved to Australia—with the deed to their home. But last year, they were stunned to receive news…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today, on January 21, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Solomon and Kipling

God,

How do you pray for those who accuse each other of lying and cheating? One of them must be right.

Maybe both?

These are the leaders you have raised up for Lebanon.

These are the leaders who raised up themselves.

God, in the first, we lift them ourselves. We ask that you bless them and give them success.

Join them together in all solidarity. Grant them discernment to chart the best course.

Knit the nation united and give it a government.

The people will perish if no vision found.

And God, in the second, you curse not ambition. You honor the servants who risk and who lead.

But selfish ambition you toss on the dung heap. Mix justice with mercy; expose every wrong.

God, they are many.

They may not all be Lebanon’s. They may not all be clear.

A shepherd was snagged on the border with Israel. Accused as a spy, does he just do his job?

“Violate not our borders,” shouts out from the south.

Drowned out by the din of their jets overhead.

And even as aid finds the poor of the nation, the banks make a profit off foreign exchange.

A vaccine is coming to combat Corona.

But only once lawsuits get pushed to the state.

Yet the slightest of hope emerges from Syria. A plane from Aleppo arrived in Beirut.

Dozens of passengers came for some reason. Let trade and exchange increase week-by-week.

But even now wrong is attached to Damascus. An explosive report links regime to the blast.

Meanwhile the people sit home under lockdown. Yet COVID is filling each hospital bed.

God, what to do?

One of the accusing hurled the insight of Solomon.

“Wisdom dwells not in the soul sold to sin.”

But he also took refuge in the poem of Kipling.

“Keep your virtue with crowds; be authentic with kings.”

God, of the first, guard the hearts of these servants.

Let your scriptures inspire and reproach and transform.

And God, of the second, discernment diffuses. It found in the sages and artists and scribes.

The politicians?

Maybe.

It can be, God.

If one is right, then vindicate.

If both are wrong, rebuke.

But raise up the leaders who seek out your wisdom.

For the sake of the nation, spur zeal in the good.

Amen.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.

Categories
Americas Christianity Today Published Articles

Trump and Biden Disagree on Sanctions. So Do Evangelicals Outside the US.

Image: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images The headline reads: A New Era for America

If President-elect Joe Biden makes good on his campaign rhetoric, his sanctions policy will meet the approval of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).

Back in April, as even the strongest nations reeled from COVID-19, then-candidate Biden petitioned the Trump administration for sanctions relief on the hardest-hit nations—including Iran and Syria.

“In times of global crisis, America should lead,” he said.

“We should be the first to offer help to people who are hurting or in danger. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been.”

In September, the WEA joined Caritas, the World Council of Churches, and others to similarly petition the United Nations’s Human Rights Council.

“We are deeply concerned about the negative economic, social, and humanitarian consequences of unilateral sanctions,” read their statement, ostensibly singling out the United States and its European allies.

“It is a legal and moral imperative to allow humanitarian aid to reach those in need, without delay or impediment.”

One month later at the UN, China led 26 nations—including sanctions-hit Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela—to assert that the economic impact impedes pandemic response and undermines the right to health.

This is “disinformation,” said Johnnie Moore, appointed by President Donald Trump to serve on the independent, bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

He called the WEA statement “almost indefensible.”

“Sanctions against countries that imperil their citizens and the world is good policy,” Moore said. “It has proven to be an effective alternative to save lives, alongside diplomatic channels to coerce long-term positive behavior.”

Western nations had already issued fact sheets to undermine China’s claim.

Detailing food, medical, and humanitarian exemptions, the US and European Union (EU) demonstrated that sanctions target regimes and their supporters, not the general population. Christian Solidarity International, however…

This article was originally published by Christianity Today on January 15, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

After Israel, Will Morocco Normalize with Christians?

Image: Illustration by Mallory Rentsch / Source Images: Fadel Senna / Getty Images/ Nagesh Badu / Fabio Santaniello Bruun / Unsplash / WikiMedia Commons

An excerpt, which follows an introduction about the three nations which signed the Abraham Accords to normalize with Israel:

This month, the fourth, Morocco, was granted US recognition of its longstanding claim to the Western Sahara, a mostly desert region on the northwest coast of Africa, which seeks independence.

But absent from the accords is any emphasis on religious freedom, despite the Trump administration making it a central feature of its foreign policy. And in relation to Christians, each nation has a unique situation.

The Emirates is officially 100 percent Muslim, though it facilitates the worship of its majority population of migrant workers. And following normalization, the UAE relaxed its sharia-based laws.

Bahrain has a native Christian population of about 1,000 people, descended from communities in Lebanon, Syria, and India. Three years ago, its king signed a declaration esteeming individual “freedom of [religious] choice” as a “divine gift.”

Sudan’s Christians, though only 3 percent of the population, are indigenous citizens. And following the 2019 popular revolution, Sudan implemented religious reforms, including repeal of its apostasy law.

Morocco is in between.

Long lauded for its treatment of local Jews, Morocco’s constitution recognizes Judaism and considers the 3,000-strong community as an integral part of its society. And during last year’s visit by Pope Francis, King Muhammad VI interpreted his official title of “Commander of the Faithful” as “the Commander of all believers … [including] Moroccan Jews and Christians from other countries, who are living in Morocco.”

But the omission stood out.

“He didn’t mention us,” said Zouhair Doukali, a Moroccan Christian.

“I want the government to recognize all minorities, so that we can live as Moroccan citizens.”

Estimates of the North African nation’s unofficial Christian citizens vary widely, from 5,000 to 50,000. Foreign-resident Christians are estimated at about 30,000 Catholics and 10,000 Protestants, who enjoy religious freedom in legally registered churches.

But whereas the UAE and Sudan have been improving their religious freedom image, Morocco has moved backwards, according to a new report on blasphemy laws by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

One of eight nations to have expanded blasphemy provisions since USCIRF’s last report, in 2018 Morocco doubled its fines and jail terms. It also expanded the law’s jurisdiction from only official publishers to include any individuals in public or online forums.

And proselytizing, described as “shaking the faith of a Muslim,” can be punished with up to three years in prison.

Open Doors ranks Morocco No. 26 on its World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.

But unlike the UAE, where conversion is illegal and can meet the death penalty, Morocco assigns no penalties for conversion. The government has said so publicly.

“There is no persecution in Morocco,” stated spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi, “and there is no discrimination on the basis of faith.”

Moroccan Christian sources agree there is no state persecution. Over the past decade, the government has largely left converts alone. And since all are assumed to be Muslim, there are no issues marrying other believers. (Marriage in Morocco is a matter of civil registration, whereas in some Arab states it has a religious character and Muslims may not enter into Christian marriage.)

Some Christians, however, want full human rights…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today, on January 8, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Peg to Iran

God,

Lebanon has long lived in days of opaqueness.

Everyone knows, but no one will say.

It is not a good way to run a country. Truth must be told.

Maybe it is starting to change?

An Iranian general took credit for missiles.

Resistance to Israel flows from Tehran.

Meanwhile the Christians all spoke out in protest.

“No partners in sovereignty, we have our own state.”

But the top Shiite cleric made clear his viewpoint.

“No sovereignty at all, without Soleimani’s gift.”

Completing the image, his statue was raised.

God, the Shiite militia is a check on its neighbor.

Their weapons are held apart from the state.

Their influence in government is a fact of the matter.

Their people are citizens, with all rights therein.

But some things remain opaque.

Do they kill their opponents? Do they launder their cash?

Some accuse. They deny. Some defend. Others sanction.

Terrorists or patriots? God fearing or corrupt?

The Druze politician thinks he sifts through to the essence:

“Nothing is left but a missile launching pad.”

“Let their bloc end the pretense, and govern themselves.”

Meanwhile in finance reality is spoken.

The central bank governor buried the peg.

The era is over, once bailout is managed.

The dollar economy will soon simply float.

Good or bad, God – you know.

But national wealth will soon be what it is.

God, let the national heart ache.

Comfort in part through international good will.

But make the societal response resolute.

After the individual repentance of all.

A man cannot come to you in pretense.

Our sins cannot stay opaque.

The truth must be told—and in crisis it can be.

The truth also hurts—but from humility, health.

Reveal all parties engaged in deception.

Let everyone know, and everyone say:

Amen.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.

Categories
Americas Christianity Today Published Articles Religious Freedom

Polarized Americans Still Support Religious Freedom

Image: Mark Wilson / Staff / Getty
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo address the State Department’s second religious freedom ministerial.

Last year, American support for religious freedom survived COVID-19.

The right to free speech held firm amid racial tensions.

And vigorous backing of the First Amendment endured a contentious presidential campaign.

So concludes the 2020 Becket Religious Freedom Index, which will monitor the resilience of the United States’ “first freedom” through the yearly challenges to come.

“Americans understand religion as a fundamental part of an individual’s identity,” said Caleb Lyman, director of research and analytics at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

“It is no surprise that they support strong religious freedom protections in work and public life.”

Designing 16 questions across six categories, the annual index measures perspectives on the First Amendment. Now in its second year, in October it polled a nationwide sample of 1,000 Americans, scoring their support from 0 (complete opposition) to 100 (robust support).

The composite score is 66, a statistically insignificant decline from 67 in 2019.

Becket’s report recognizes that the religious impulse is natural to human beings, and therefore religious expression is natural to human culture.

Through their law firm, they defend religious rights. Through their index, they discover if Americans agree…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today, on January 4, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

Categories
Christianity Today Europe Published Articles

Azerbaijan Archbishop: Our Holy Mission Is to Keep Peace

Embed from Getty Images

The saying is clear: To the victor go the spoils.

And morally, with it comes the burden of peace.

In November, Christian-heritage Armenia surrendered to Muslim-majority Azerbaijani forces besieging the Caucasus mountain area of Nagorno-Karabakh. The ceasefire agreement ended a six-week war that cost each side roughly 3,000 soldiers, and left unsettled the final status of the Armenian-populated enclave they call Artsakh.

Azerbaijan, however, recovered the rest of its internationally recognized territory, including the historic city of Shushi. The first Karabakh war ended in 1994, and displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes on both sides.

Archbishop Alexander, head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Azerbaijan, reached out to CT to promote a process of reconciliation.

It will not be easy.

What is your vision for reconciliation?

We are both eastern Christian communities, and we have much in common.

At the same time, 1,500 years of separation between the Eastern Orthodox church and the Armenian Apostolic church has complicated relations. We have holy books and traditions in common, but we are not in fellowship.

Both of us have been living among Muslims since Islam was introduced in our region. But the manner of living has been very different. The Orthodox church in Azerbaijan found a way to live together with Muslims, but Armenians did not. Relations were not always…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today, on January 5, 2020. Please click here to read the full article.

Categories
Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Interviews

God,

Who gets to speak? When a nation is suffering, to whom does it listen?

The powerful have a responsibility to communicate.

But by their words, they will be judged.

The prime minister, now only a caretaker, defended himself in the case of the blast.

Suspicion he spread elsewhere.

Only a portion of nitrate exploded. The rest had disappeared.

And a probe was authorized only hours before.

He painted a picture of official disfunction.

The central bank governor does not answer his calls.

But from talk in the media subsidies can continue—another six months if all ration well.

Meanwhile the head of a powerful militia boasted of weapons precise in their range.

Their number has doubled while enemies dither.

But be ready for conflict in the last days of Trump.

One speaks of troubles within the system.

One speaks of troubles the region around.

One projects weakness while trying to do something.

One projects strength while they wait with the world.

God, are these the words you desire?

Others suffer silently.

Three hundred Syrian families fled; their makeshift tents were set ablaze.

Corona facilities fill to capacity; a lockdown is looming post-holiday cheer.

God, there once was a time your voice filled not the earthquake.

God, send it again still and soft in the wind.

Let the powerful hear it: If only they listen.

Let it comfort the weak, and the lost in despair.

God, few of us will ever be interviewed.

But we all have words—fill them with wisdom, with power and hope.

Remind us the words you already have spoken.

To teach and encourage. To rebuke and correct.

We also have responsibility. We also will be judged.

Wherever we have influence, help us lead.

Through each with his own, God, guide Lebanon.

Promote every voice who looks to the whole.

Amen.


To receive Lebanon Prayer by WhatsApp, please click this link to join the closed comments group.

Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.


Sometimes prayer can generate more prayer. While mine is for general principles, you may have very specific hopes for Lebanon. You are welcome to post these here as comments, that others might pray with you as you place your desires before God.

If you wish to share your own prayer, please adhere to the following guidelines:

1) The sincerest prayers are before God alone. Please consult with God before posting anything.

2) If a prayer of hope, strive to express a collective encouragement.

3) If a prayer of lament, strive to express a collective grief.

4) If a prayer of anger, refrain from criticizing specific people, parties, sects, or nations. While it may be appropriate, save these for your prayers alone before God.

5) In every prayer, do your best to include a blessing.

I will do my best to moderate accordingly. Thank you for praying for Lebanon and her people.