IDOP 2007: Hezekiah's Pattern for Praying


Date:            October 31, 2007 

When Sennacherib the king of Assyria invaded Judea (2 Kings 18&19)
he sent a letter to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, boasting that the
Assyrian army was invincible and asserting that the God of Israel
was no god at all. Hezekiah took the threatening letter into the
temple, 'spread it out before the Lord' and prayed: 'O Lord, God of
Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all
the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give
ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see . . . Now, O
Lord our God, deliver us . . . so that all kingdoms on earth may
know that you alone, O Lord, are God.' (2 Kings 19:15-19 NIV).
The Lord answered Hezekiah's prayer through the prophet Isaiah,
assuring Hezekiah he knew of Sennacherib's belligerence, boastings
and blasphemies and reminding him that God is sovereign, righteous,
just and faithful. Finally God promised to defend and save the city
for his own sake, and the sake of his servant David.  
Today there are many 'Sennacheribs' in the world -- people who rage
against, repress, persecute, terrorise and threaten God's people.
They are bold for the same reasons as Sennacherib -- they wrongly
believe they are invincible and that our God is no god at all.
Today multitudes of Christians are persecuted, besieged, terrorised
and threatened. This may be due to external forces (like
Sennacherib) or else by repressive dictatorship or religious
intolerance or racism at a state or local level.  
On the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
(Sunday 11 November), the Church, united as one body with Christ as
our Head, stands before the Almighty God to intercede as Hezekiah
did for the persecuted, besieged, terrorised and threatened Church
and for the honour, glory and praise of the Lord our God.
A PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH -- based on Hezekiah's prayer
It is true, O Lord, that Islamic fundamentalists and militants are
struggling for Islamic ascendancy and seeking the subjugation and
even annihilation of the Church where they have control or exert
influence. Therefore Christians living in increasingly radicalised
or Islamised Muslim communities are suffering unprecedented
repression, persecution and threat.
It is true, O Lord, that totalitarian religious and political
dictators, threatened by the increasing openness of the age, are
repressing all opposition and anything else that threatens the
status quo as they fight for their survival against all odds.
Therefore Christians living under such regimes are systematically
harassed, intimidated, persecuted, beaten, imprisoned and killed.
It is true, O Lord, that in newly independent nations and emerging
democracies religion is being increasingly exploited by the
politically ambitious. Therefore Christian minorities are coming
under attack from traditionalists as well as Muslim, Buddhist and
Hindu nationalist militants and even neighbours incited to fear and
hate them.
O Lord, while we pray for protection and deliverance, also be at
work in us, purifying, sanctifying and unifying your Church.
(We suggest you print the following list of names and symbolically
'spread it out before the Lord' in your place of prayer.)

{Please Note: This was originally written in 2007, some names and places need to be updated.}
    We appeal to you concerning the incitement and threats of Al-
    Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri
    along with all other national and local fundamentalist and
    imperialistic Islamic organisations in the world.
    We appeal to you concerning the incitement of India's Hindu
    nationalist ideologues in the Sangh Parivar, the BJP and VHP
    as well as the threats and violence of the Hindu nationalist
    militants in the RSS and Bajrang Dal. We also present to you
    the militant Buddhist nationalists of Sri Lanka.
    We appeal to you concerning state leaders whose political
    ambition, belligerence, totalitarianism, megalomania,
    religious intolerance or racism hurts your people:
    President Aleksandr Lukashenka (Belarus), Muslim President
    Haris Siladjzic (Bosnia), General Than Shwe (Burma/Myanmar),
    President Hu Jintao (China), President Fidel Castro (Cuba),
    President Isaias Afewerki (Eritrea), President Susilo Bambang
    Yudhoyono (Papua, Indonesia), President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    and the wider Iranian administration along with the Ayatollahs
    and Revolutionary Guards (Iran), the 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong-Il
    (North Korea), President Choummaly Sayasone (Laos), Colonel
    Moammar al-Ghadafi (Libya), President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
    (Maldives), Northern Nigeria's Sharia governors, the ruling
    royals and the religious establishment of Saudi Arabia,
    Islamic rebel leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys (Somalia),
    President Omar el-Bashir and Islamist ideologue Hassan
    al-Turabi (Sudan), President Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan),
    President Nguyen Minh Triet (Vietnam), President Robert Mugabe
    We ask you O Lord our God to encourage, preserve, strengthen
    and deliver our repressed, persecuted, terrorised and
    threatened Christian brothers and sisters. In nations wracked
    by war and turmoil, protect, defend, sanctify, strengthen and
    unify your Church so she may emerge in days of peace and
    liberty to be a remnant that takes root and bears fruit. May
    those who seek to silence, subjugate or eradicate the Church be
    frustrated and turned back.
    We also pray for the terrorists, militants and dictators
    themselves, and ask you O Lord to display your 'arm' for the
    benefit of the Church. We pray for judgment and for mercy, for
    you are a just and merciful God. May the Church be able to say
    of them as was said of the Apostle Paul, 'The man who formerly
    persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to
    destroy.' (Galatians 1:23)
    For the sake of your kingdom and glory, AMEN
'Nothing is impossible with God.' (Luke 1:37)

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