Without a doubt you have seen the tragic and disturbing news about the Coptic Christians that were brutally murdered by ISIS in Libya. Our hearts are with the families — and all of Egypt — who are mourning the loss of their beloved ones. God bless each one of them today.
Pope Francis did not shy away from the clear religious motivation behind the mass beheading. “They were murdered just because they were Christians,” he said during a meeting with a Scottish church leader, calling the victims “brothers, who died simply because they professed their faith in Jesus Christ.”
Who are the Coptic Christians?
In Egypt alone there are estimates of 9-15 million Coptic Christians, about 10-20% of the population. The Coptic Church community is one of the oldest in the Middle East. It is thought to believe that St Mark took the Gospel to Alexandria, Egypt shortly after the ascension around 42 A.D.
By the 2nd century, Christianity began to spread to rural areas and the Scriptures were translated into the local language known today as the Coptic language, but then known as the Egyptian language. By the beginning of the 3rd century A.D., Christians constituted the majority of Egypt’s population. You can read more about the history of the Coptic church on wikipedia.
The Ancient Church of the Middle East
It is important to note that the target of ISIS has been the ancient church of the Middle East that has been unconquered by Islam through the centuries— slaughtering Christians of the ancient church of Assyria in Northern Iraq, and the Coptic Christians of Egypt. Islam was unable to completely conquer the Coptic Church of Egypt, and so they continue to this day to persecute, kill them, and burn their churches. There seems to be an intentional strategy of these extreme Islamic radical groups to go after Christians in Islamic nations in particular.
Another of their intentions is to target Islamic nations that have partnered with the West: Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, and even Saudi Arabia.
With the rise of attacks against the Jewish communities in Europe as well, it is clear about the brutal agenda of these radical Islamic groups against Jews and Christians emerging around the globe.
How to Pray
We count it a privilege that God has allowed us to bless these nations where we have traveled and lived and have come to know many friends of the Middle East over the years—Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Iran. One of the things God has put on our hearts as we have been engaged with the Middle East, and Europe, is to pray God’s blessings on these nations. We have also been praying specifically for revival, that they will return to their spiritual roots of faith in Jesus. We have walked these lands and prayed on site in the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities for God’s purposes to be realized.
Pray especially for the Christians of these nations who are facing persecution as believers in Jesus.
Let’s agree together in a prayer for the nations of the Middle East:
Father, comfort the Egyptian families who have just lost their loved ones in this brutal act. We pray you will surround them with Your presence today. Continue to strengthen Egypt so that she will arise to the destiny You ordained for her at this time in history. Bless the church of Egypt – and in particular, all of our Egyptian friends!
Bless the church of Jordan today! Bless the King, the nation, his parliament, the economy, and all those agencies who are assisting the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing ISIS.
We pray for the Assyrian, Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese Christians, in particular, and ask that you make provision for all they need today. Protect them – and pour out Your goodness upon them.
Bless Israel today and surround her borders securely as the mountains surround Jerusalem. Bless the Body of Messiah of Jewish and Arab believers. May they demonstrate Him in creative ways.
Father, glorify Your name through the church of the Middle East today. Comfort the hurting, and provide for the all those who are in need today. May You be revealed as the Messiah and Lord of all. Thank you for all You are doing in these nations that You love.
In the name of Jesus/Yeshua/Yesu3, amen!