feeling internally conflicted

Today it’s exactly 100 years since the war that was supposed to end all wars began. 100 years on and devastating conflicts are still raging. And as we’ve wrestled in prayer for peace for Iraq, Israel & Gaza, Syria, the Central African Republic, Ukraine and more over the last couple of weeks, we’ve become more and more unsettled. More and more internally disturbed – but it took us a while to figure out what was causing these conflicting emotions and reactions.


Don’t get us wrong. Some of the heart-break is VERY easy to understand.

The way Christians – our family – and other minorities have been treated by the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) in Iraq is beyond any adjective we can find. On last Tuesday alone, 1500* died in Iraq.

And the situation flaring up in Israel and Gaza is surely the worst incarnation of this conflict we’ve seen for decades.

Meanwhile Syria and the Central African Republic seem to defy resolution. And the Ukraine – and the East/West power play behind it rumbles on.

And this isn’t even the end of the list.

No wonder we’re disturbed?

But it’s more, even than this.

Because the situation in Iraq is shamefully underreported and seems even to be largely – or at least proportionately – overlooked by huge parts of the church. And this silence is unthinkable given the death toll, the horrific persecution and the brutality of the violence itself.

In his update last week, Andrew White confirmed the sense we had had already feared in prayer – that IS were saying they could do anything they wanted now, as the whole world was watching Gaza.

And that watching of Gaza has also disturbed us.

Not the watching itself. Thank God the world cares about here at least…

It’s the rhetoric.

It feels that the majority of the West, and even the church, are somehow joining the conflict – internally at least. Out of literally hundreds of tweets, emails, articles, Facebook posts and conversations over the last few weeks, there have been only a handful that feel truly like they long for peace for everyone’s sake.

Instead, even the talk of peace seems so often to be charged with blame or a clear agenda for one ‘side’ or another – whatever initial concessions are given to the other.

And there is something in us – as we pray – that becomes more and more deeply grieved and unsettled by this.

So please join us in praying (and fasting if possible) for peace, asking God that:

  • A ceasefire which is actually respected – and leads to genuine talks for just ways forward – would come about in Israel & Gaza.
  • Hearts on all sides – Israel, Palestinian and all who own the conflict with partisan words wherever they are – would be softened and turned to long for peace and dialogue that build up rather than destroy.
  • The church – and media – would fully wake up and respond to what is going on in Iraq. And that Chrstians would pray for it, Syria and this whole region like they never have before.
  • And finally, that even just a fraction of the passion for peace in nations dominating our headlines would be felt for every nation in conflict today.

An unconditional prayer for peace

Lord, today we come to you in humility
and ask you to bring peace.
And we ask for this peace, your peace,
We ask simply for an end to rockets and bombs
and the fear, hatred and anguish that grips
those who fire and drop them in Gaza and Israel
and those who suffer their devastating consequences.
We lay down our judgements,
our other agendas,
our anger,
and even our righteous sense of justice
for whichever ‘side’ it has been expressed.
And we ask for peace in our hearts,
in our prayers,
in our words to others
and in our actions.
And an ability to listen, hear and respond
to you and others
with hearts that truly seek your peace and justice.

Lord, we know you are grieved by all this violence
and by everyone who is thinking aggressively.
And that we are often in the wrong too
for we sometimes say some people matter more than others
in our attitudes and opinions towards Israel and the Palestinian Territories
and also through our negligence of other lands living in terror today.
We ask you to open our eyes and realign our hearts
to your priorities and your perspective.
We confess that you alone know the answer – not us,
that you alone see everything and perceive true motives – not us,
That to you alone belongs judgement – not us.

Lord, in your mercy, soften the hearts of all involved
and give us all courage to boldly push beyond
the seemingly endless ‘justified’ need to retaliate
and the judgement of one ‘side’ or even of those who take sides.
Lord, in your mercy, open eyes to see beyond ‘popular’ places and people
So no violence is left unchecked and no people forgotten.

Lord, in your mercy, bring your peace
to Israel & Gaza,
to Iraq and Syria,
to every nation in conflict.
And within us too,
first and always start with us Lord Jesus,

* Source for statistic, Andrew White’s update 30.07.14

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