Henry Blackaby -- Pray and Love Your Enemy

Mar 28, 2003 01:28 PM EST

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The renowned author of the “Experiencing God” discipleship series calls on the American people to not only for the U.S. soldiers and leaders in service, but also for the Muslims in Iraq who need a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Henry Blackably challenged the faithful to pray, walk closely with God, love their enemies and trust God’s sovereignty during this “crucial time for God's people and the nation.”

After attending a March 12-13 White House briefing, Blackaby reported that God has placed "incredible believing people" in the U.S. government, including a president who sets aside time with God each morning.

We must pray, said Blackaby, for President Bush, so that he may not be distracted from his daily quiet time with God. Upon the request of Bush, he also asked believers to pray that God would protect Bush's wife and children as well.

The military, the president and more than 400,000 Iraqi Christians need a "much stronger commitment in prayer and holiness" from American believers, Blackaby said. Southern Baptists need to pray for their missionaries, too, asking God to show them what is right and give them the courage to follow his will.

Blackaby also emphasized the need to pray for Muslims in Iraq; God wants every Muslim to have a saving relationship with him through Jesus Christ.

"If we consider them an enemy, God has told us what to do: Pray for them, do good to them, bless them and feed them," he said. "It's a command of our Lord, not a suggestion."

Despite the fears that may arise from the war, Blackaby encouraged the men and women in service to remember that safety is found only in God’s will.

"He may call some of us to go into a danger zone," Blackaby said. "He did his Son, every one of the disciples, [the apostle] Paul and the early church.

"When there is a crisis, there is a need spiritually. We ought not to be surprised or fearful when God calls us to go into a difficult time or place."

Nonetheless, said Blackaby, crises may be a way to peace.

"The war may be from God," Blackaby said. "In the Bible, he has often used war for his purposes -- to punish evildoers or draw his people back to himself.

"We need to watch very carefully to see how he unfolds his purposes and be ready to be in the middle of them."

By Pauline J.