By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
TANTA, EGYPT (ANS) -- The violent takeover of several Iraqi towns by the extremist group, Islamic State (IS), has been devastating in recent weeks.
Islamic State fighters in Iraq
According to the Assyrian International News Agency (www.aina.org), their persecution of Iraqi Christians, which has already forced tens of thousands of men, women and children to flee for their lives, is fast becoming a genocide, religious leaders have warned.
Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod of the Syriac Orthodox church said that IS's capture of Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian city, had marked a turning point for Christians in the country.
"Now we consider it genocide -- ethnic cleansing," he said. "They are killing our people in the name of Allah and telling people that anyone who kills a Christian will go straight to heaven: that is their message. They have burned churches; they have burned very old books. They have damaged our crosses and statues.. They are occupying our churches and converting them into mosques."
Young boy praying
Children in particular are sensitive to such tragedies. Mario, a regular fan of the SAT-7 KIDS program "Why Is That?" called the studio last week to pray for Iraq and all the Arab countries.
According to spokesperson for SAT-7 KIDS, the young boy called from his home in Tanta, just north of Cairo in Egypt. As soon as Mario's voice came over the air, presenter "Mr. Know" recognized him.
"Even though Mario lives hundreds of miles away from Iraq, he is touched by the plight of families suffering there," said the spokesperson.
Mario prayed over the air:
We thank you for extending your glory to everything in our lives, Lord.
We pray for Iraq and all the Arab countries, they're in your hand, Lord. Let there be peace and forgiveness, oh Lord, in terms of those who are doing bombings. Watch over the innocent people.
Even those killing others, you love them very much. You wait for them that they may come back to you again, oh Lor d.
Lord Jesus, you said, 'Come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Yes, Lord. May we come back to you in everything, Lord Jesus.
Whether it be a small problem or a big problem, whether it be among nations or something material, or anything. If it be household problems, you will be glorified, Lord Jesus.
"The innocence and goodwill of a child's prayers are an uplifting witness during such trying times," added the spokesperson. "They give hope that God can use the next generation to shape a different future for the region according to His will."
For more information on this broadcast ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, please go to: www.sat7usa.org