I published a post last night, praying for who could be one of the most evil people living today: Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, meaning “Western Education is Forbidden” (aka ISWAP).
When looking at how many people this man has killed, tortured, and otherwise harmed– and when looking at the organization from hell that he is the leader of– praying for anything but his own tortured demise and ticket to hell seems insane.
Yet, Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5). But He asks even more of us: He asks us to “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). What?!? Jesus wants us to love our enemies?
This is scandalous. Ludicrous. Absurd. Insulting, even.
But it reminds me of the conversion of the Apostle Paul.
Philippians tells us that Paul (called Saul before his conversion) was once a “Pharisee of Pharisees,” one of the sharpest and most law-abiding Jews in society at that time. Not only was Paul a “Pharisee of Pharisees,” he was a man with a deep hatred for Christ and for Christ’s followers, Christians. He even approved of the stoning to death of Stephen (Acts 7:54- 8:2).
But one day, as Saul was on his way to imprison, torture, and kill more Christians, he was met on the road by Christ Himself. Christ’s Words changed Saul forever:
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.
‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.”
(Acts 9:1-5, NIV)
This meeting with Jesus changed Saul’s life forever– so much so that his name was changed from Saul to Paul. This man, a man with a vehement hatred for Christians, came to be an Apostle who wrote a little over half of the New Testament! More than this, Paul even came to die for Christ as a martyr, like so many that he once persecuted.
As I wrote in my last post, only the love and power of Jesus Christ Himself can change a person’s life. If He can change a terrorist like the Apostle Paul, he can change the heart of a terrorist today like Abubakar Shekau.
Here are a couple of things we can pray for him:
- For his salvation.
- For him to realize the deep and evil fallacy islam is.
- For him to become broken, incredibly so, so that he knows only Christ alone can save him.
- That God would mete out fair, honest judgment for the things Shekau has done.
- That Shekau would be caught by authorities.
- For a complete heart change, where Shekau is actually on fire for Christ!
Without Christ, these prayers would be impossible to utter; but nothing is impossible with God. We must rely on Christ’s strength, and the Holy Spirit’s help, if we are to pray like Jesus.
As we look on at terrorists that are harming and killing more and more people, may we lift them up to the God of the Impossible. Only He can bring about the peace and salvation that everyone wants.
Do you know Jesus?
Jesus did not only tell others to pray for their enemies. He actually did it.
On the cross at Calvary, Jesus, with His last breaths, said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, NIV).
Jesus asked God the Father to forgive those who crucified Him, and gave the only way by which we can be saved (John 14:6)! Learn more about Jesus, what He’s done, and why it all matters, here.
Please pray for…
- The Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu. You can find their names and pictures, here.
- Those who have also been hurt by Boko Haram. May those who are hurting find rest in Jesus.
- Boko Haram members. May they be brought to Justice, and ultimately, to Christ.
- Abubakar Shekau, for his salvation and for him to turn away from from Boko Haram and all it stands for.
Thank you for your prayers!!!