When Tripoli, Libya, woke up Aug. 22, it was to the imminent end of 42 years of rule by Muammar Gaddafi -– the longest-running Arab leader ever. In Syria, meanwhile, violent clashes continue in the streets between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and his opponents, Baptist Press reports. NATO-backed rebel forces in Libya seized control of much of Tripoli on Aug. 21 after months of brutal war tactics by Gaddafi. In one part of Tripoli, a local imam sang not the call to prayer but the national anthem of the pre-Gaddafi monarchy. While President Obama and other world leaders were calling for Gaddafi to end his claim to power, Christian leaders like Nik Ripken*, meanwhile, are praying for stability of a different kind: "Often we ask people to pray that governments provide the safety and security necessary for the Gospel to spread, such as the early church had under the Roman Empire," said Ripken, who has served 25 years with the International Mission Board and is an expert on the persecuted church in Muslim contexts. Ripken said Christians in the West can help not only by praying for the spread of the Gospel in war-torn nations but also by learning not to be persecutors themselves. "Pray today that we will not join the persecutors by denying our family, neighbors and friends access to Jesus," Ripken said.