Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed by U.S. forces in Iraq Friday morning after violating a travel ban prohibiting him from entering Iraq and for allegedly planning attacks against U.S. diplomats.
President Trump ordered the strike against Soleimani, a popular, top commander in Iran’s military, as a “decisive, defensive action” after repeated attacks by Iranian-backed forces on U.S. troops in Iraq.
But now Soleimani’s death is causing alarm in countries throughout the Middle East and here in the United States. Retaliation is expected by Iran and its allies. Iraq has condemned the strike by the U.S., as well.
Gen. Soleimani, 62, was over Iran’s Quds Forces, which are said to aid terrorist organizations in countries like Iraq. He was once referred to by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, as a “living martyr of the revolution” and was the second most powerful man in Iran. It is believed many organizations will want to avenge his death. All Americans currently in Iraq have been advised to leave the country immediately.
That’s why we should take the most powerful action possible in the face of this volatile situation — pray.
Here’s how you can pray for the current rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran:
Pray for our leaders. Ask God to grant discernment to our government leaders as they navigate this tense situation and seek a solution that’s peaceful yet protects our national security.
Pray for our U.S. troops. With military bases being the most likely targets for retribution, we need to pray for the wisdom of our military officials and for the safety of every soldier on the ground.
Pray for the Christians in southern Iraq. Local Christians may also come under fire because of Christianity’s association with the U.S. and the West in the mind of local Islamic extremists.
Pray for the citizens of the Middle East. Airstrikes have become a constant occurrence in the Middle East, and this added tension will only cause them to escalate. Remember, also, the innocent civilians who are in grave danger.
Having spent decades working to deliver humanitarian aid to some of the most volatile corners of our world — including Venezuela, Syria, Iraq and Nigeria — I have learned that prayer is key for any effort to achieve peace. Prayer reminds us of our dependence on God and helps us see beyond ourselves to the needs of others.
Please continue praying for those affected and those who could potentially be in harm’s way in the coming weeks and months. May God protect us and help us find a peaceful way forward.
Photo courtesy: Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash
Vernon Brewer is the founder of World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization serving the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world. Follow him @vernonbrewer.