I recently wrote about how I was going to pray like I never have before for the Christians in Iraq.
And I want to tell you what has happened to me since I began praying.
The first thing I noticed was a feeling of absolute peace. I was driving on my way to meet my beautiful friend, Trudy, whom I have not seen in nearly a decade.
And I remembered the other thing I was supposed to do.
I was going to pray to make the world more good and more light, in whatever way I could in my little corner of it.
And I was hoping that I would be able to not make a fool of myself when I saw her again, but more than that, I was hoping it would be good.
She had just come from dropping off her radiant, full-of-love daughter to the Missionary Training Center. And I was feeling nervous. I mean, I was going to be able to sit with a mother who just gave her daughter away to serve the Lord for a year and a half. I felt honored and anxious at the same time.
And this isn’t just any mother. She is one of those lights in the world that keeps the darkness away.
I love her.
So, I was on my way to see her and I was praying and my heart was just filled with peace. And I felt this overwhelming feeling that God was glad that I was doing this.
The wishing and hoping and acting on faith to try and be good and kind.
And when I saw her, she was just as bright and beautiful as I remembered. And we talked and laughed and cried and shared over chicken tacos and a burrito bowl.
It was Good. It was Light. And I drove home so incredibly…grateful. I was grateful to have been able to feel her light and to be brighter as I left her.
Since I started praying for the people on the other side of the world, I noticed that I don’t have to try to be grateful.
I don’t need something amazing to happen to feel “blessed.”
I just feel grateful and blessed no matter what.
I don’t have to look for it.
It is miraculous, this change of heart.
Joy once whispered to me from heaven that it is harder to move people than to move mountains. And I have been moved. To me, it truly is a miracle.
And then, something else happened. When we knelt for family prayer the other day, my 17 year old son prayed:
Please bless the Christians in Iraq. And…and–and, well, bless all the people there.
And after the prayer he said he felt that he needed to pray for “the enemy” too.
And we cried.
Because he was right.
And I am being reminded again of how sincere, deep prayer is more than just words.
It is true power.
More powerful than armies and money and corruption.
I am not just saying that. I know it.
We are fasting on August 23rd for the people on the other side of the world.
Not just the Christians.
We are fasting for all of the people there.
I never anticipated that my prayers for the Christians in Iraq would lead me to pray for charity to those who, in my eyes, are evil incarnate.
But, it has.
And I am filled with peace that the world is in the hands of the Almighty God, and no power is greater than He, and His power is rooted in love.
I am writing because it has been a long time since I stepped outside of my own little family and prayed for those whom I do not know with the same fervency and zeal that I pray for my own precious children.
But, here I am, praying not only for the Christians in Iraq, but for those who are commiting unspeakable atrocities against them.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust…
There was a great man who lived long ago, who saw the same kinds of evil as we are witnessing in the Middle East, and his words have echoed in my mind as I have prepared to fast:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.