December 24th, 2015

Answers to prayer

“For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Luke 1:37

Samuel, a foreigner in Libya, was reading his Bible during a break time at work. When one of his colleagues, Amal, asked him what he was doing, Samuel told her that he loved reading the Bible and getting to know Jesus.

Amal told Samuel that she had dreamt about Jesus. In the dream, she couldn’t see Jesus’ face clearly, but she knew it was Him. It was dark, but then a light broke through the clouds and suddenly the ground beneath her turned to water. She looked up and saw Him coming from the sky and she was very scared. She told Samuel that she always had these kind of dreams.

A day or two later, Samuel shared his testimony with Amal. God had transformed him from his former evil ways and had given him new life. Jesus had changed his heart. Amal listened intently, then exclaimed, “Thank your God to have done these things for you!”

Samuel is unable to continue ministering to Amal because of cultural restrictions between men and women. Samuel hopes to introduce her to another woman who also follows Jesus.

In another town, a couple of Libyan followers of Jesus were anointed with oil as other believers prayed for them to be empowered by the Holy Spirit with boldness to share the Good News. The next month, one of them had the opportunity to pray for a sick relative who was then healed. Another of the Libyan followers testifies how the Holy Spirit has taken away the anger that constantly simmered inside of him and has replaced it with peace. He’s been praying and studying the Word with great joy ever since.

We are coming to the end of the year of prayer for Libya, but let’s not stop praying for Libya. You will continue to receive prayer bulletins, but they will be sent out monthly rather than weekly. Let’s continue to lift up this nation to God as the Spirit reminds us. We are thankful for the testimonies, like the ones above, of recent ways God has answered our prayers. Let’s keep asking for more so that Libyans will arise and take their place before the throne of God..

Read, pray, and meditate Isaiah 60:1-3.


December 17, 2015

Shame and pain

“They shall call His name Immanuel, which means God with us.”

Matthew 1:23

Khadijah never saw her abductors approaching her as she walked home from college on a winter’s day. It all happened so fast. Even today, she can’t recall the event with any clarity. She is still haunted by the nightmare she still lived through. They kept her for three days before dumping her on her father’s doorstep. She was battered and her clothes were torn. Her family was devastated. They knew that the neighbors would talk about their family. They were wrought with shame. They decided that Khadijah couldn’t live with them anymore. What happened to her may not have been her fault, but now she was a disgrace. She was sent away—without family, without honor, disowned.

Salah is a man who was also abducted. On his way to work, he was kidnapped and held for ransom. His kidnappers threaten to kill him if the family didn’t pay up.

Mohamed was held for two months. His captors kept him blindfolded in a shipping container and beat him regularly.

These are common occurrences in present day Libya. Anyone who has money lives in fear of being targeted by thugs who will kidnap and threaten them or their family members.

As we meditate on Jesus’ coming to earth in this season of Advent, let’s pray for Libyans to find salvation, comfort, and healing in Jesus. Pray for His followers to be lead to Libyans who are hungry for comfort and salvation.

Read, meditate and pray Isaiah 11: 1-10.


December 10th, 2015

The Father’s heart

As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.

John 20:21

A Libyan believer living outside his country shares a dream he had years ago:

“In my dream, I saw myself going back to my father’s land in Libya. On his land there were olive trees. In my dream, I saw the trees and they were full of olives, bigger than the normal size olives. Their color was very dark and the oil started dripping from the olives. The harvest was ready. But I was very sad because my father was sitting. I looked to him and asked: “What’s happening? Why are you not collecting olives? The harvest is ready.” He looked at me and said, “I don’t have someone to help me.” I was sad because as I walked, I saw olives on the ground with their oil dripping out. The olives were ready to be harvested. On the other lands, everybody was harvesting their olives, except for the olives on my father’s land.

“I woke up feeling sad. I told a leader from my church about the dream. The explanation was this: The olives were the hearts of the Libyan people. The father was our heavenly Father. Nobody is helping with the harvest—the country doesn’t have workers to share the Good News. The olives leaking oil are the Libyans’ hearts that are ready for the work of God.”

“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” – C.T. Studd

Read, pray and meditate Luke 2: 8-18.


December 3rd, 2015

Chaos

Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.

Isaiah 9:7

Thoraya used to accept everything that happened as God’s will. She never questioned what life brought her way. Even though her family and tribe didn’t like President Ghaddafi, life wasn’t too bad for them. Some of Thoraya’s relatives died fighting for the rebels during the 2011 uprising, but her family felt proud that they had died as martyrs for a new and free Libya. In spite of the struggles of the fledgling government, she and her friends still enjoyed life and were content with their religion. They had no desire to question their lives.

In the past year and a half, this has changed. Life has become more unstable now than it was under Ghaddafi. Since Libya’s first elections in 2012, those in government haven’t been able to control the numerous militias and armed groups that gained power during the 2011 revolution.

These groups have fragmented and multiplied, and fighting for control in the country continues. A recent UN report estimates that 1,700 armed groups and militias are active in Libya. Some of these groups use the current instability to settle old scores and feuds between tribes.

Libyans no longer feel safe. The law doesn’t protect them anymore and the police are often too scared to intervene or, simply, not operational.

The UN estimates that 2.44 million Libyans—almost half of the country’s population—have been affected by the fighting, leading to shortages of food, water, electricity, and medical supplies. Quality of life and access to basic services depends varies widely within the country. The situation in Tripoli is worse than it was five years ago, but it is still more stable than the city of Benghazi. A majority of Libyans interviewed by the UN in August said their children were able to attend schools, while Benghazi’s enrolment rate has dropped 50% since fighting intensified in 2014.

Many Libyans, like Thoraya and her friends, are becoming more and more desperate. They find themselves engaging in frequent debates about why things are going wrong in the country? Thoraya shocked everybody when she said that their religion is the cause of all the calamity. More and more Libyans are asking questions that they would have never asked before.

Even though Libya experiences changes in government and leadership, it appears that darkness—which has gained entry through sins committed over generations—doesn’t budge.

Let’s cry out for God’s Light to break the curse over this country so that Libyans will seek and find Jesus.

Read, meditate and pray Matthew 2:1-11.


November 26th, 2015

The Word of God

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

I was 18 years old I decided to become a follower of Jesus. Something in my heart was exhorting me to do give myself to Jesus. For one day, I was His follower, and then I discarded it because I was afraid of my family and I had heard stories about how people who had been killed for converting to the Christian faith. My Muslim community was not zealous, they were ignorant of other religions and didn’t want anyone to ask questions. They expected everyone to simply accept their Muslim beliefs which were as hard and unchanging as steel.

One day I came across a humble Christian who was doing repair work for my brother. When I spoke with him he was gentle and his face shined. I figured out that he was Christian because of his name, and I was even more drawn to him. I saw him often and asked him to tell me about Christ and about the Bible. I never believed that the Bible was changed and I was amazed that my fellow Muslims claimed that it had been changed, even though the Qur’an clearly tells us that we should believe and even study the Bible. It even tells Muslims that if they have any questions, they should to ask the “people of the Book,” that is, Christians.

As I asked him about the Bible, he suggested that he could give me one and I could read for myself. He told me it was his own Bible and he didn’t own another because there weren’t any Bibles in the bookshops in Libya. I took the Bible from him and was very happy, but at the same time afraid that my family would find it . As soon as I started reading the Bible in my locked room, I felt joy filling my heart. I was attracted by it, but it didn’t go too deep.

After a week I returned the Bible to him. I asked him if he would teach me more about his faith, he returned to his country before it could happen. I asked him to bring me a copy of the Bible when he returned. And so I began to study the Bible and the teachings of Christ. I learned about the power of Christ and enjoyed the fellowship of sharing life with the Lord. I began to pray true prayers in Christ and ceased the five daily prayers, which felt like a futile duty.

One New Year ’s Eve, I prayed a simple prayer: “In the name of the angels of the Lord and in the name of the Messiah, I call on you, Lord of heaven. Free my body from sin until the end of eternity. I ask this in Jesus Christ, Amen.” I proclaimed that Christ is my Lord and Savior and Redeemer, the One who rose from the dead for me and for all mankind to save us from our wrongdoings. I no longer knew fear or lack of security because the Lord was with me – my Light and my Salvation.

I slept that night completely relaxed in my spirit. I wanted to shout out in a loud voice to let the world know what had happened: I had repented and accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Read, meditate and pray John 6:36-40 


November 19th, 2015

Libyan diaspora

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:1

An estimated 2 million Libyans live outside of Libya in neighbouring countries, mostly in Tunisia and Egypt but also in some Western countries. Few of them register as refugees, so it is difficult to know the exact number. Some of them left the country because of their ties to the Gadhafi regime; others left to further their education and didn’t return because of the insecurity and uncertainty; still others left because of the violence.

Their physical needs may not be as dire as the many African and Middle Eastern refugees who make their way through Libya to Europe. Still, Libyans living outside of their country long for friendship and connection with locals in their host country. While it’s difficult to reach Libyans with the Gospel while they remain in Libya, the Libyan diaspora presents an opportunity for them to hear the Good News.

Andrew, who used to work in Libya, relates the following experience: “I recently went to a Libyan café in a European city where many Libyans now live. I was drawn into a lively conversation with a conservative Libyan man whose parting words astonished me. He said, `I have been living here for 12 years and this is the first time I have sat down and had a proper conversation with a local.‘ In contrast, I considered my time living in Libya and the warm welcome and hospitality I had received by many local strangers.”

A Libyan believer explains further: “Libyans are very social. They like to have meals together. Social life is important, as well as respect for each other. If they see that, they feel welcome. The Bible talks about ‘love for one another’. When Christians love and care, Libyans are drawn to Jesus. But Libyans are pushed away when people attack the Qu’ran or when Christians talk to them with an attitude of, “You’re wrong and we’re right.”

Let’s pray that God’s church may offer true hospitality for those Libyans who are now strangers in another land because we, who were strangers to God, have been privileged in being accepted as friends of God.

Read, meditate, and pray Ephesians 2 


November 12th, 2015

Keep asking…

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

Youssef enjoys discussing religion with his foreign friend John, a follower of Jesus. He finds his friend’s faith in Jesus intriguing, but sometimes it seems that Youssef is more interested in talk than in really seeking the truth.

One of Youssef’s cousins, Ahmed, bought a Bible after watching a movie that he saw while abroad. When Ahmed returned to Libya, he questioned John about Jesus’ life and why He died for sin. He’s not sure if he can trust what’s written in the Bible, because, like most Muslims, Ahmed believes the Bible has been changed.

For Youssef and his cousin Ahmed, religion is about gaining points with God. They believe that you gain more points by praying in the mosque versus prayers done at home. Giving generously to the poor and needy also earns you more points.. On the day of judgement, God will put all your good and bad deeds on a scale; if the good deeds outweigh the bad deeds, it’s possible that God will allow you into Paradise. Youssef and Ahmed see that the way John talks about salvation, prayer, and fasting is different, but they think maybe John is deceived.

Tareq is another Libyan Muslim who befriended a foreigner, named Paul, working in his country. Out of curiosity, Tareq started asking his new friend Paul about his religion. After the conversation, Tareq downloaded the Bible and read the book of Revelation. He had heard some stories about Jesus before and had heard that Jesus had white hair. Tareq was greatly surprised when he read in Revelation that Jesus indeed has white hair. Some of Tareq’s acquaintances have also started reading up on Jesus and the Bible to ask Paul questions.

Libyans strive to make guests feel at home and they might ask questions out of courtesy or just to get a conversation started, but that does not always mean they have a heart’s desire to know more. And yet, God is putting Libyans in contact with His people in many different ways, and what may start out as a polite conversation may spark something deeper and encourage them to seek Truth.

The instability and chaos have destabilized Libyans out of their comfort and have led them to a search for more—especially for peace and truth. The Bible says that we should not grow weary in doing good, but that we will reap in due time (Galatians 6:9). Let’s not get weary of asking and knocking on heaven’s door for Libyans’ eyes to be opened, so that they become aware of their need for a Savior. Let’s pray that they come to Jesus and that they make their needs known to Him so that He can save and heal them.

Read, meditate and pray Mark 10:46-52


November 5th, 2015

Borders

‘For I,’ says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.

Zechariah 2:5


www.talkradionews.com

Libya has 1,770 kilometres of coastline as well as 5,000 kilometres of porous land borders, mostly in desert areas that are sparsely populated.

Gaddafi, who was slain in Libya’s 2011 uprising, allegedly claimed five billion euros ($5.37 billion) from Europe every year to offset the costs of border surveillance and the fight against people smuggling. Gaddafi used his immigration policies to apply pressure on Europe, opening and closing the gates to migrants depending on the state of Libya’s relations with EU member (particularly Italy, Libya’s former colonial power). In the absence of state authority since Gaddafi’s fall, Libya’s porous borders are being exploited by ISIS and other extremist groups, militias, and traffickers. With millions of dollars to be generated through cross border smuggling, these organizations have used trafficking of people, weapons, and drugs to finance their activities. Tribes like the Tuareg and Tebu depend on the income they receive from assisting in this cross border trafficking as their main source of income.

The lack of a united stable government and a strong police force allows the trafficking to continue. It is not only destructive to Libya, but it also exploits and endangers refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

Sub-Saharan Africans are smuggled into Libya across the southern borders (via Sudan, Niger, and Chad). Syrians, who make up a significant proportion of those trafficked, usually come via Algeria.

Tunisia has experienced two terrorist attacks this year, and authorities blame them on the poorly controlled Libyan border. In both attacks, the Tunisians who were involved had slipped over the border to receive training with ISIS in Libya.

Libya’s porous borders have allowed the forces of darkness to reap destruction in the lives of Libyans and beyond. As you spend time in prayer this week, pray that Jesus, the Light of the world, would expel these powerful forces of darkness.

Read, meditate and pray Psalm 18:7-15


October 29th, 2015

What does the church look like?

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

John 4:23

Paul befriended a few Libyans in the city where he lived. He would often ask them questions about their religion: “Why does the Qur’an talk about Jesus dying? Why do you say that the Bible has been changed? The Qur’an doesn’t say that it has?”

They had never considered these questions before, and it made them feel uncomfortable.
One day Mukhtar asked Paul if he could go to church with him. Paul already had an appointment that day and couldn’t go. He explained to Mokhtar that the church wasn’t just a physical building. Rather, church is about being in fellowship with other believers. A church can be anywhere.

But Mokhtar wasn’t satisfied and went to a church by himself. The priest welcomed him and asked his name and about where he came from. Mokhtar lied about his nationality because he was scared someone would find out. He left immediately after the service.
However, a hunger was stirred up in him. He went to Paul with his questions: “Who are they worshipping in church? God or Jesus?”

Meanwhile, Mokhtar tried to make light of his whole church experience by making fun of it in front of his other friends. However, one of his friends’ curiosity was stirred up and he wanted to go to church as well.

The current climate of violence in the name of religion is causing many Muslim Libyans to begin to doubt their faith. Yet, ‘Christianity’ as it is portrayed on television and in traditional church buildings is foreign to them and their culture. They not only need a revelation of Jesus, but also a revelation of what church really is.

Libyans who follow Jesus also long to know what church is all about.  When they watch TV, they see Christians gathering and worshiping in large buildings and it’s not possible for them.  Pray that Jesus will connect them with each other in Him in a way that fits into their context.

Read, meditate and pray Acts 2:21, 37-47


October 22nd, 2015

Kufrah

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.Isaiah 43:19

Southeast Libya is dominated by vast stretches of the Sahara Desert. In the middle of this massive desert is the small Kufrah basin. The basin houses a handful of Oases. These would be of little consequence except that they are strategically placed right in the middle of the desert.

Because of its location, Kufrah has long been a center for trade, legal and illegal. It is a hub for smuggling, drugs, trafficking, migrants and illegal border crossing. The area is ruled by tribal Cartels that defy every government, often continuing their trade and maintaining autonomy by sharing a portion of their profits with the government.

The area is also a holy place of the Senussi order, a form of Sufi Islam. This came about when the Senussi leader of 1894 decided to relocate to Kufrah for safety. Later, in 1951, the Senussi leader King Idris became ruler of Libya. He maintained that position until he was overthrown by Colonel Gadaffi’s 1969 coup.

Kufrah remains intimately linked to national politics, religion and migrant movements. It seems that Kufrah is presently dominated with the negative and harmful side of its special significance. Pray that Kufrah will instead become a place of blessing, realizing its potential to be a center of positive influence. Pray that the people will come to see who they are in Christ, and that his plans and purposes are greater and sweeter than anything they presently know.

Read, meditate and pray on Isaiah 35:4-8


October 16th, 2015

Media

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13

A well-known Libyan professor who has been working in the West wrote an article on current events in Libya on a popular Libyan news website. She wrote that, so far, she has convinced five young Libyan woman to turn back to Islam who had become Christians through Gospel messages that were shared with them through social media. However, the last of these women told her, “This is the Lord I want to follow and worship. He is a God of love, peace, and honesty—unlike what we see in Islam, especially these days of strife, conflict, contradictions, and cruelty… He is the only one who can guarantee paradise for those who believe… Look at what the Lord said to me today…” The young woman showed the professor a message on her phone which said, “A letter from your heavenly Father…”

It served as a wakeup call to the professor. While the sheikhs and religious leaders in Libya were arguing with each other and unable to answer questions or allow young people to question their religion, these young women were looking for and finding another way to God. The professor had met several teenagers who had accepted this way—the Way of Jesus—and who said that they found joy and peace in Jesus.

She quoted Scripture and spiritual conversations from this website, which resulted in many Libyans visiting the website and seeing for themselves what she was talking about. She described it as “a Libyan voice to Libyans”. We praise God for using this professor to help people find a way to access truth.

God is using digital media to not only communicate the message of the Gospel to Libyans, but also to encourage Libyan followers of Jesus. With the availability of the internet, Libyans can be reached through websites and social media. More and more people are accessing the internet through their mobile phones and are visiting Christian websites and Facebook pages, looking for answers to their questions and problems.

Not everyone is happy with this. Those in positions of authority try to block Christian sites so that they can’t be accessed from within Libya.

As we meditate on Scripture, let’s pray that Libyans would search and find the Truth about Jesus as they engage with social media. Pray that the Holy Spirit would connect believers and seekers through the internet and that no power or authority would prevent that.

Read, meditate and pray Isaiah 55:1-11


October 8th, 2015

Tuareg

Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King; sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm.”

Psalm 47:6,7


www.ibtimes.co.uk

Despite the current climate of conflict and economic depression, the Tuareg tribes met in the town of Ghat for the annual Music and Heritage Festival the beginning of June. May their singing and dancing turn into praise and worship to the King!

Tuaregs make up about 20,000 people in Libya and live in the south western corner of the country near the towna of Obari and Ghat. Originally, Tuaregs lived as nomads in the Sahara desert, and today they are also found in the neighboring countries of Niger, Mali, and Algeria. The Tuaregs in Libya speak the Tamahaq dialect of Berber.

Under the former regime, Tuaregs were marginalized, denied citizenship, and lacked political representation. Qaddafi hired Tuaregs from other countries to fight for him in the Revolution. The Tebus, another tribal group, fought on the other side with the revolutionaries. Since 2011, there have been ongoing clashes between the Tebus and other tribes. A major source of this conflict is related to disputes over control of southern trade routes as well as key oilfields. Recently, elders from both the local Tuareg and Tebu tribes agreed on a ceasefire, which will hopefully result in a peace agreement.

With the growing presence of Islamic groups in the south of Libya, pray that the Tuaregs will not become radicalized, but that they will have their needs addressed and met—for economic development, job opportunities, state support of their language and culture, and greater access citizenship and associated rights.

Read, pray, meditate Romans 15:9-13


October 1st, 2015

Dreams and Visions

“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.”

Joel 2:28

When Waleed was 10 years old, he had a dream: a door opened for him into Heaven and behind that door people were wearing white clothes and there was a Great Light around them.Then when he was a teenager that door opened for him again in the same way. Through many years of thirsting for the Truth, putting all his effort in the 5 ritual prayers, crying out to God, he met someone who followed Jesus who introduced him to the Bible.

The night on which Waleed accepted Jesus as the Savior and Redeemer, Christ appeared to him in a dream again:  Jesus was crucified and hanging on the Cross, all pierced.  He was watching Waleed’s approach to the Cross.  When Waleed woke up in the morning he told his mother that he had dreamed of Christ crucified and pierced on the Cross.

She told him: “That means that you have had a powerful victory over something” and she didn’t reproach him. The next night Christ appeared to him in a wonderful picture and opened the Bible for him and read from the Book of life and told Waleed: “I am the Truth and the Life.”

The vision continued and after two days, Christ appeared to him with a loud noise. The Bible was open and its words were being proclaimed by a Light.  He had never seen such light in his life.  When he woke up he remembered a dream he had when he was 10 years old.

He knew the secret in his heart – his love for Christ and the religion of Love and fellowship with the Lord in life.  He knew that he had received eternal life because of his love for Christ.  Now he lives for Christ without his family knowing because he knows what would happen – it could cost him his life. Yet, he tries to share his faith with individuals that he meets.

Waleed says: “I tell you that I did not know the meaning of life until I met Christ and learned of my love for Him in my heart”

God is using dreams and visions to draw Libyans to Him. A Libyan follower of Jesus explains that Libyans place huge importance on dreams. If someone gets a vision or a dream they take it seriously and they’re ready to listen and to receive Jesus. When they get a Bible “they won’t only read it but ‘eat’ it.” Let’s continue to ask for dreams and visions of Jesus to be increased.

Read, meditate and pray 1 John 1:1-7


September 24th, 2015

Tobruk

“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”

Romans 10:3

Tobruk, a port city on Libya’s eastern Mediterranean coast, close to the Egyptian border, has a population of about 120,000.

The city has a strong, naturally protected deep harbor. It is probably the best natural port in North Africa, but has no obvious landing sites as it is surrounded by cliffs and desert.  The surrounding desert area is lightly populated with nomadic herdsmen who travel from oasis to oasis.  Tobruk was made famous in the Second World War as a strategic stronghold for the allies who were under siege as they tried to delay the German advance into Egypt.  After Libya’s independence in 1951, King Idris of Libya had his palace at Bab Zaytun in the city. Tobruk was traditionally a stronghold of the Senussi royal dynasty and one of the first cities to rebel against Gaddafi.  Right at the start of the 2011 revolution, the city came under the control of the NTC (National Transitional Council) that opposed Gaddafi.

In September 2014 the HOR (House of Representatives), the internationally recognized government of Libya, relocated from Tripoli to Tobruk after a militia named Libya Dawn seized the capital in August 2014 and set up a rival assembly – the GNC ( the General National Congress ).

The city has seen less violence than other Libyan cities, but hasn’t been exempt from it. In May 2015 gunmen tried to assassinate Abdullah al-Thinni, Prime Minister of the HOR at the time, on his way to the airport, but he managed to escape.  The attack was linked to tribal leaders in Tobruk.
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Tobruk is playing a key part in Libya’s current affairs. Several peace deals between the governments in Tobruk and Tripoli have been rejected.

Recently this was posted on a Tobruk Facebook page:

“Do not think too much, but forgive much.
God opens the door by forgiveness and not by thinking.
Ask forgiveness from the Almighty God and repent to Him.”

Maybe this is the key for the people of Tobruk and Libya to be reconciled to each other. As we take time to pray for this city, pray for their reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ.

Read, meditate and pray 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.


September 18th, 2015

Eid al-Adha

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:29

Omar, a single man in his early thirties, is usually social and outgoing.  Lately he’s been very depressed with the situation in Libya.  He fought on the side of the rebels during the 2011 revolution, but hasn’t been involved with any militia since then.  Just walking around town can be dangerous these days.  One day as he was doing shopping for his family he got caught in crossfire and had to run for his life.  “I just want peace, peace, peace . . .” he says.  He’s not working and spends most of his time at home in front of the TV or surfing the internet, hoping that this might help him to forget.  He’s ashamed of his country and embarrassed by all the injustice and killing of innocent people by different groups, especially the Islamic State. The IS killings in Libya shocked the whole world this year, but he and other Libyans like him are even more horrified by the barbaric executions than the western world.

This coming week is the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca), one of the pillars of Islam.  Many Muslims like Omar who won’t go on the Hajj, will still celebrate Eid al Adha, the feast of sacrifice, when a sheep is sacrificed like Abraham did thousands of years ago. After early morning prayers at the mosque where the story of Abraham is read (slightly different from the Bible), men will return home, to kill and slaughter their sheep (sometimes a camel is shared between families) and the women will spend the rest of the day to prepare different dishes.  The following two days they will visit friends and children will walk around in their new clothes.

Many people like Omar are tired of all the fighting and they hope that the festivity of Eid al-Adha might bring some relief (even just momentarily) from the ongoing fighting and bad news.  As you read and meditate on the (true) story of Abraham, pray for the Holy Spirit to bring revelation when they read the story in the mosque, that Jesus, the Lamb of God, is God’s ‘great’ sacrifice for their sin and shame.  The Quran mentions clearly that Abraham’s son was ransomed by a ‘great’ sacrifice (a ram which God provided). Let’s ask that they will also become spiritual heirs of Abraham’s blessing.

Read, meditate and pray Genesis 22:1-18


September 10th, 2015

Martyrs’ Day

Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.
Psalm 116:15

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
Mexican Proverb

Every year on September 16th, Libyans commemorate Martyrs’ Day in honor of those who fell victim under the dictatorial regimes of Benito Mussolini (who ruled when Libya was an Italian colony) and Muammar Gaddafi. Solemn remembrance ceremonies are held throughout the country.

Recent years have also seen Christian martyred for their faith. In February and April 2015, the world was shocked by the brutal murders of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians. However, even before these incidences, Christians in Libya suffered.

On May 30, 2014, an Iraqi Christian boy named Danny went out to play with his friends and never returned. He was shot and killed because of his faith. Danny’s mother gave her testimony in a televised interview on Sat 7, a station that broadcasts into the Arab world.
“When we heard the news of his murder, our family and friends wept. But I found myself singing hymns. Even I was shocked at my reaction.

“When we went to see him for the last time before his burial, it was very hard, but I said to Jesus, ‘Please give me your eyes to see my son and please give me the strength to be able to endure.’ I went, still singing hymns, to see my son.

“In the car, I closed my eyes and saw a vision of Danny wearing a white garment and a crown of flowers. I saw Jesus seated on the throne and the angels around him welcoming my son.

“After that the Lord comforted me and the people that came also comforted me and wept for Danny. But I told them, “My son is alive in the Kingdom and may the name of the Lord be glorified.”

“Most of the people that came were non-Christians and were amazed at how calm I was and how I was comforting myself.”

What the enemy meant for evil, God turned for good—and the testimony of forgiveness toward the killers and the message of the cross were broadcast out to the world.

As you meditate on Revelation 12, what reason does scripture give for persecution and martyrdom? How can followers of Jesus in Libya walk victoriously? Pray for them as the Spirit leads you through these verses.

Read, meditate and pray Revelation 12:9-12


 September 3rd, 2015

The Tebu

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2
Two girls were speaking softly in a police cell – not in Arabic, but Tedaga. One of the police woman in the jail also spoke their language.They had been arrested for being drunk (which they weren’t) and they were cursing the Libyans for arresting them unjustly.  They were very scared that their families would find out they were in jail (bringing dishonor on their family) so they phoned home and made up a story.  One of them was training to be a nurse so they asked a guard to pretend she was a doctor and say that she had to work late.At 3 AM one of their mothers phoned and after the call, the girl grabbed the cleaning liquid and tried to swallow it, but the other girl wrestled her to the ground and called for the guard to bring milk as an antidote. The guard forced her to drink milk and she slept.
The next day an uncle came, talked with the guard for a long time, gave the girls food and they were finally released.The girls and the police woman areTebu. The Tebu in Libya are from the Teda tribe and live in the southeastern corner of Libya near Kufra. Prior to the civil war the approximate population of theTeda was 4,000 in Libya, 10,000 in Niger and 28,500 in Chad.They are mostly nomadic or semi-nomadic herders, but they also cultivate dates and grain in the oases. Clans have priority use of certain oases, palm groves, cultivable land and springs. Social relations are based on reciprocity, hospitality and assistance.  Theft and murder within the clan are forbidden and stolen animals must be returned.Under Muammar Gaddafi, the Tebu(Toubou) minority suffered massive discrimination.  In 2007 they were stripped of their Libyan citizenship and were denied access to education and health care. In 2008 an armed group – the TFSL (Toubou Front for the Salvation of Libya) staged an uprising against the government.  The Gaddafi regime continued to evict them and demolish their homes.During the 2011 Revolution the Tebu sided with the rebel anti-Gaddafi forces and participated in the Fezzan campaign, capturing several towns.They call themselves the “Rock People,” because their ancestral homeland is the rocky Tibesti Mountains.Pray they will find the true Rock and build their lives on Him.Read, meditate and pray: Matthew 7:24-27

August 27th, 2015

Cry Out
Arise, cry out in the night, At the beginning of the watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him …”
Lamentations 2:19

The news of all the fighting and resulting casualties in Libya is so overwhelming that it can numb our senses so that we forget that real people are involved.  The following is a message, a desperate cry from a Libyan living in a desert town that’s not often in the news:“I went to the hospital today to visit my best friend’s brother.  He’s been shot by an unknown shooter.  In the room I saw a kid around 7 or 8 years old. Both of his legs were cut off because of these random mortars. He was sleeping with his mother in the house’s yard when the mortars fell on them.  His mother was torn apart and died instantly while he lost his legs.In the hospital room he was playing a video game, smiling, trying to overcome his pain with amazing will.  But I couldn’t stand the scene.  I rushed out of the room and started crying very hard, I can’t take it anymore.  What kind of horrible people will do this?  Who has a twisted and sick mind enough to take away the innocence of a child?  My friends tried to comfort me.  They told me to be easy on myself, to be strong just like that kid.I went back to the room and smiled to him and he smiled back at me.  I tried so hard to control my tears…and my emotions.
Look how far we’ve come. This is a nightmare.  This is not real. I want to wake up. I want my dead friends back. I want people to go back the way they were before. My God, help us.I really can’t take this anymore.  I had enough of this. There is a roar inside of me that says….. Stop….. No more killing… Please God, take this pain away.”Let’s unite in prayer on behalf of this man and many other Libyans who are suffering. May their suffering lead them to the One who wants to dry their tears.Read, meditate and pray Revelation 21:1-7

August 20th, 2015

Tripoli

Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”

Romans 15:21

Tripoli, Libya’s capital and largest city (with a population of about 2 million) is situated in northwestern Libya along the Mediterranean coast. Until July 2014, post-revolution Tripoli was relatively stable in comparison to Libya’s second largest city in the east, Benghazi. All of this changed after the Islamists lost the legislature in the June 25, 2014 popular election.Just weeks after the election, clashes between militias erupted around Tripoli International Airport, lasting almost six weeks and leaving 47 dead and 120 wounded. The airport and millions of dollars in aircraft were destroyed, and a massive fire broke out at the oil repository near the airport. This caused weeks of fuel, food, and power shortages for Tripoli residents.Misrata’s Operation Libya Dawn eventually took control of the airport, and three days later, members of the former government’s General National Congress (GNC) established the National Salvation Government with Omar Al-Hassi as its prime minister. By September 1st, most of the government ministries in Tripoli had been taken over by armed militias.Meanwhile, the legitimately elected government, led by Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni, fled the capital and sought refuge in the far-eastern town of Tobruk. By early August, most Western and Arab embassies, as well as the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), had pulled their staff out of Tripoli and are now working from Malta and Tunis.Very few foreigners are now living in the city, and the value of the Libyan currency has dropped by nearly 50%. Prices are rising while government distributions are decreasing and yet living conditions have improved in the capital over the past year. People have electricity, fuel, and food, but the city remains unstable. In November 2014, Tripoli’s iconic Ghazalla statue was destroyed, and there have been attacks on a number of Ottoman-era Sufi shrines in the city. In January 2015, Tripoli’s largest and most modern supermarket was set ablaze by extremists, and later that month there was a terror attack on the luxurious Corinthia Hotel, killing 13. Kidnappings by criminal elements are also increasing and large amounts of money are asked for ransom. Even though on the surface things look calmer than the east of the country, there’s always this underlying current of fear.In spite of fighting in certain neighborhoods and the danger that some children (and their families) face to get too school, they do their best to attend classes as it’s giving them an opportunity to get out of the house and be occupied.Let’s take time this week and lift this city to the throne of God; that its inhabitants will cry out to the living God and find Truth, peace and safety.Read, meditate and pray Jeremiah 29:12-14

August 14th, 2015

Miracles

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:1-2

Joy, a follower of Jesus, came to Libya with her husband and her children to look for better job opportunities. Through the years she had grown close to her Libyan neighbors. They noticed her devotion to God and was surprised to learn that she also fasted, even though she wasn’t a Muslim.

One day, Joy’s employer, Asma, told her that she had cancer. She had to go for surgery and she was afraid that she would die. But Joy told her, “You will not die. If you believe in Jesus and if I pray for you, you will go for the surgery and you will not die.”

Joy placed her hand on Asma’s abdomen and prayed for healing in the name of Jesus. Asma had the operation in another city, but she stayed in contact with Joy, and she was very grateful that she survived.

Assad is a follower of Jesus. He became sick and everybody believed he would die. God will punish him for turning his back on Islam, they thought. However, through the prayers of believers worldwide, God healed him miraculously. When his neighbor, Hana, heard about his recovery.  She decided to follow Jesus so that He would heal her, too, of her cancer. The doctors thought she would have been dead already, but through the prayers of many she became stronger.

Through the obedience of those who follow Jesus, Libyans can witness that there is power in the name of Jesus.  In the Quran it’s also mentioned that Jesus healed the sick.  Let’s pray for the power of Jesus to be revealed through miracles.

Read, meditate and pray Acts 4:1-14


July 30th, 2015

Access to God’s Word

“But the word of God cannot be chained.”

2 Timothy 2:9

The Bible, as well as other Christian literature in the Arabic language, wasn’t welcome in Libya under Ghaddafi’s rule. And today, it still isn’t.

Abeer, an Arab woman from another country, had a strong friendship with her Libyan neighbor, Asma. Asma was generous and gave her gifts and clothes for her children. Accepting and giving gifts is important in Libyan culture. To show her appreciation and friendship, Abeer wanted to give Asma a Bible, but Asma refused it. “This is wrong,” she said. “If I accept it I might be considered an infidel. God will think I’m bad.”

Mohammed was a policeman guarding a believer who was imprisoned at the police station. Mohammed was very curious about the Bible in the believer’s possession. He had heard about the Bible—and how he mustn’t read it. But this made him even more curious. He asked if he could look at the Bible and the believer gave it to him, pointing out a few passages and explaining how the Psalms brought comfort and what the Gospels are about. Mohamed gave the Bible back to the prisoner and went away. But a few minutes later he was back. He wanted to show it to his friend.

Muslims believe that the prophet Mohammed received the first revelations of the Quran during the month of Ramadan. Some of the verses in the Qur’an actually encourage people to read the Bible, but there is still a lot of fear and resistance that prevents people from receiving and reading the Bible. Yet the Holy Spirit uses these verses in the Qur’an and also the fact that the Bible is forbidden in Libya to stir up a curiosity in people about the Bible and Jesus.

Now people are able to download the Arabic Bible from a website and read it on a mobile device. This is possible because of the lack of central government. But people are afraid that extremist groups might hack into their computers or phones to target and kill them. Fear still keep people captive and away from the Truth.

As we meditate on this week’s passage, pray for an increased desire and curiosity to read the Bible. Pray that the Holy Spirit would open their understanding.

Read, meditate and pray Luke 24:25-27; 44-46


July 23rd, 2015

Sex Trafficking

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

Psalm 10:17-18

Human trafficking is a profitable trade in Libya. Under the rule of Ghaddafi, trafficking was a state sanctioned and state controlled industry. A few well connected traffickers controlled most of the migrant transit from sub Saharan Africa toward Europe. After the 2011 revolution, trafficking became a wildly more prosperous and chaotic business. Anyone with a few strategic connections could take part in the multi-million dollar industry of trafficking.

The dark side of this business comes when migrants can no longer pay for transit. In such cases migrants are often held in detention centers, tortured, sold into labor camps, sold as sex slaves or killed. This brutal treatment is a shared evil with the former regime. Ghaddafi himself was infamous for victimizing hundreds of slaves in private sex dungeons.

One witness of sex trafficking in Libya said, “They would simply take the girl they wanted. They had no conscience, no morals, not an iota of mercy even though she was a mere child.” Another reported, “One just disappeared and they never found her again, despite her father and brothers searching for her. Another was found three months later, cut, raped and lying in the middle of a park. She had been left for dead.”

Despite these great evils, we rejoice in a God who holds these forgotten ones in His hands. He never forgets their pain or leaves them alone. Use the Psalm below to cry out on behalf of slaves in Libya.

Read, meditate and pray Psalm 10


July 16th, 2015

Loneliness

God sets the lonely in families.

Psalm 68:6

There are some church buildings in Libya where Christians from other countries gather to worship. Libyans, however, are forbidden by authorities and their society to visit these places.

Jesus appeared to Rafiq when he was a teenager. It was a glorious moment that had a great impact on him. Soon after that he met an older relative, Ahmed, a follower of Jesus who explained the Gospel to him. At that point, Rafiq decided to follow Jesus.

Many years have since passed, but Rafiq still follows Jesus. He feels lonely at times. He has never been to a church and longs to be part of a gathering of believers—people from his nation—to worship together. But he is not allowed to visit expat churches. He really would like to see what it’s like when believers come together. He has never experienced it. He loves studying the Bible, but he has a deep longing for fellowship.

Another Libyan tells his story: “Many years ago I went to an expat church in the city to confess my faith in Jesus. However, the pastor refused to meet me. One of the others in the church spoke to me. I told him ‘I am Libyan’. He said, “That is impossible, you can’t be a Libyan.” I replied, “The truth sets us free and I am living in the love of Christ.”

As I left the building, I realized why the pastor had refused to meet with me – there were policemen waiting at my car. One of them asked me to come and speak with him in his car. He told me I was crazy. “What do you think you are doing?” he asked. I told him I was studying different religions and I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to go into a church. Before I left he asked for my telephone number, my address, where I was studying, and other things. Because of that I have never been able to go back to church. When I asked my friend about it, he said that the church was forbidden to preach in my country and whoever converts to the religion of Christianity will face death.”

One of the most difficult things for Libyan followers of Jesus is loneliness. They long for fellowship with other believers and for the mutual encouragement of standing strong in their faith. We, as the body of Christ, can encourage and strengthen our Libyan brothers and sisters through our prayers.

This week, Muslims celebrate the Eid al Fitr, a three day feast to mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Libyan Christians my feel even more their longing for a spiritual family to celebrate their faith in Jesus together during this time.

Read, meditate and pray 1 Corinthians 12:12-27


July 9th, 2015

The Narrow Gate

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”

Matthew 7:13

Ahlam always believed that God created and loved her. At the age of six she started praying and fasting. She loved reading the Quran, crying as she did out of love for God. At the same time she had questions she dared not ask because she didn’t want to anger God.

One night she dreamt that she was in a dark place among dead bodies and skulls. A bright white hand stretched out, took her hand, and lifted it. She tried rejecting it and felt her hand drop down, but the hand didn’t let go of her. She screamed and jumped out of bed. She was disturbed and sensed that this wasn’t a normal dream, so she asked God to explain it to her.

One day as she skimmed through different TV channels, she saw a pastor who said, “The Lord lifts you from death into life.” The words pierced her and she wondered, was she dead and could the Lord give her life?

Ahlam pleaded with God to show her the right path. Five times a day she performed the ritual washing that preceded her prayers, but she sensed God telling her that He could hear her prayers without washing. As she kneeled on her prayer rug, God told her that He could hear her anywhere. But Ahlam wasn’t ready to let go of these rituals yet.

Then in another dream, she saw a shining light with no beginning or end. Her spirit left her body and she found herself at a small open door that led to heaven. Before entering she said, “In the name of Jesus the Living One from Nazareth.” An angel spoke and gave her a new name. Joy consumed her in this peaceful place.

In the days that followed, Ahlam asked God to teach her as she struggled with doubt. She watched TV as someone read, “Enter by the narrow gate, because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Wide is the gate and broad the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” From that day on she believed in Jesus. She started reading the Bible and as her relationship with the Lord grew, she knew she was being transformed into a new person in the Spirit.

“Every day I’m cleansed from the inside,” Ahlam says. “Jesus has changed the way I see others and the way I act.”

Praise God who loves all people. He invites them to Him, saying “Here I am, knock on the door.”

Read, meditate and pray John 5:24-29.


July 3rd, 2015

A Desire for Forgiveness

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness deeds are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

Isaiah 64:6

In Ramadan many Muslims practice their faith with more fervor, hoping that their sins will be forgiven. A Libyan brother shares part of his journey of finding Jesus below:

My family is very loving and giving. My parents did their best to give me everything I need. We were a normal family that faced the usual struggles, which were never larger than what we could handle.

I started to pray faithfully in my adolescence. At sixteen I became very devoted to ritual prayers and gave as much time as possible to prayer. But I did not go to Friday prayers at the mosque because I thought the people were hypocritical and even the Sheikh’s sermons seemed full of fabricated and repetitious words.

Even with all my prayers, I felt that God was very far away from me. It seemed that all my prayers poured out onto the ground and I found no answer from God. Since my teenage years, I always believed that the reason for His silence was my sin, which was a barrier preventing me from moving forward in my life. I hated myself because of this sin. I prayed fervently at 3 and 4 in the mornings. I would weep and pray, asking God to draw close to me and protect me from my guilt and sin. But I never received a response from God. I felt like He didn’t accept me and wouldn’t forgive me.

Sadness was my companion and my sin was my enemy. I dedicated myself to reading the Qur’an and tried to read the entire book during the month of Ramadan, as do many Muslims during that month. I failed, and that was a big disappointment to me. I prayed, “Pardon my guilt, O Lord, for it is great.”

I loved to go to the seashore and other isolated places to seek solitude and to draw close to God in tearful prayer. I remained distressed by my sin. Something kept telling me that it would never leave me. I knew that this was the Devil who seeks to destroy all mankind. I searched the Internet for answers. I spoke with a religious leader about sin, but his words were hateful and made me more afraid. “God will curse you on the day of Resurrection!, he said. “You are like a burning coal in hell and you cannot change your life – you will burn in fire.” I was living in a sea of fear.

With a relentless desire to be forgiven, this Libyan eventually came to know Jesus. In Ramadan, many Libyans will pray more and read through the Qur’an, seeking forgiveness. And yet, they will be left feeling disappointed and empty. Use the Psalm below to cry out on behalf of the Libyans. Pray for an increased hunger for forgiveness that will push them to cry out to God.

Read, meditate and pray Psalm 51


June 25th, 2015

Drawing Closer to God- a Believer’s Story

Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 6:16
 

“I am a Libyan from a Muslim background. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I know that He was, is, and forever shall be the way, the truth and the life.

“When I was younger, I used to read and practice whatever I thought would bring me closer to God. Until one night several years ago during the month of Ramadan. After finishing praying, I heard a foreigner on television talking about how God came down to pay the penalty of the sins we all committed. I heard how God has forgiven us and offers us everlasting life if we accept His work on the cross. Something stirred in me. This was different from the story I had learned from the Qur’an, and I wanted to know more. I felt as though I had been drugged and led down a dead-end road all these years of searching.

“I watched Christian television programs and God corrected my blurry understanding and satisfied my hunger to know Him. At the time, television was the only way available to learn about Him.

“After some time, I realized that I needed Jesus in my life. I saw that He was not only a prophet who set an example for righteousness, but He was also my God who loved me. He had sacrificed Himself on the cross to save me and to give me hope, life, and comfort – especially during the most difficult periods in my life.

“I had many theological questions, but with prayer the Lord gradually revealed to me all the answers, and I came to the true path in Him. Amen.”

This month (Ramadhan) Libyans (together with Muslims all over the world) are fasting.  Let’s cry out to God on their behalf; for them to come to an understanding of the Father’s love for them through Jesus Christ.

Read, meditate and pray John 14:20-29


June 18th, 2015

Ramadan

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.”

Isaiah 11:10
 

Hend is a 20-year old woman who lives in a small Libyan village. She loves Ramadan, during which Muslims all over the world fast from dawn until sunset. Hend first started the full fast—abstaining from all food and liquid—when she was only 12 years old. She wasn’t forced to begin fasting so young; she chose to fast because she wanted to feel part of the worldwide Muslim community.

Ramadan is also a time for reciting special prayers and to read through the whole Quran. This month of fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are obligations Muslims must observe to go to Paradise). In this month it is possible to double your rewards from God and to seek forgiveness from past sins. Before dawn, every morning, Hend and her family get up to eat their last meal and pray the first prayer of the day, and then they don’t eat or drink anything until breaking the fast after sunset. After breaking the fast with dates and milk, her family gathers in the living room and one of her uncles lead them in the sunset prayer. They eat dinner, then the men of the family go to the mosque and pray the day’s final prayer while Hend, her sisters, and her mother pray at home. The day ends with a voluntary Ramadan prayer, the Taraweeh, offered as the congregation recites the Quran.

Hend loves these evenings. In addition to the special prayers, it is also time of eating and visiting friends and neighbors.

This year Ramadan is less joyful as before. Everybody in Hend’s family is worried about the future. They are longing for peace. They hope God will hear their prayers this Ramadan for a better future.

Read, meditate and pray Ephesians 2


June 11th, 2015

Challenges of Following Jesus

 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

“My life has changed completely since the day I became a follower of Jesus Christ. I have started to love all people unconditionally, no matter who they are or where they are from. I have learned to forgive people when they wrong me. In other words, I have become a new person.

“Nevertheless, there are many challenges I face as a Jesus follower in Libya. My family, and especially my parents, pressure me and constantly ask why I don’t do the Salaat—the five daily prayers in Islam. Sometimes on Fridays, I go to prayer at the mosque just so they stop harassing me about it. My parents are religious. My father goes to the mosque and my mother reads Quran every day. My relationship with my parents is strained. What’s more, we live in a society that values honor and reputation; if people knew about my faith, my parents’ reputation—as well as my whole family’s—would be tarnished. I would be considered a scandal, which would follow my family for years.

“I live in a Muslim society and therefore Islamic laws must be applied. In other words, I could be killed for apostasy, for renouncing Islam.

“Those who decided to follow Jesus in my society suffer from all sorts of persecution.”

Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, begins within a week. Many believers, like our Libyan brother who wrote the words above, struggle with the questions, “What does a follower of Jesus do in this time? How do I honor God and win my family to Him? How do I live my life as a follower of Jesus in my culture?”
Let’s stand with them in prayer.

Read, meditate and pray Acts 15:6-20


June 4th, 2015

A Story of 2 Governments

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.”

Daniel 2:20-21

Since July 2014, Libya has been ruled by two governments: the National Salvation Government in Tripoli, and the House of Representatives led by Prime Minister Abdulla al-Thinni.

The government split in to two following the June 25 election of the House of Representatives. The Islamists had lost the majority within the House of Representatives. Tensions were high thanks in part to the launch of a campaign to drive out extremists in the east of the country. Just before the representatives were due to take office, the Misrata Brigades – known also as Libya Dawn – attacked the airport in Tripoli, resulting in a battle that raged for two weeks. The airport was completely destroyed, and the nearby Brega Petroleum facility was attacked.

Deeming Tripoli unstable, the majority of the newly-elected members of the House of Representatives agreed to move the legislature to Tobruk. Once established in the East, the Misrata Brigades took over all government ministries in Tripoli and established the National Salvation Government under Prime Minister Omar Al-Hassi.

In October 2014, the Libyan Supreme Court ruled that the June election was illegal and called for the dissolution of the House of Representatives. No reason was given for the ruling, however, and it was ignored by the House of Representatives (in Tobruk) and the international community.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has been working with Libyan leaders from all sides to form a united government. UNSMIL has made the lifting of its arms embargo on Libya conditional on the formation of such a government. Meanwhile, the Libyan National Army (representing the government in Tobruk)- with the support of Egypt – has lobbied for the embargo¹s immediate removal, saying that, in the absence of weapons, chaos has increased and the Islamic State’s presence has grown.

Both sides of government have requested certain “conditions” to be met before participating in UN-sponsored talks. The House of Representatives feels that the international community has given undue platform to the
Islamists (Tripoli) simply because they “showed up with guns” following the loss of the election.

Those aligned with the National Salvation Government believe that their takeover of Tripoli was fair and that, therefore, they should have a voice.

Meanwhile, numerous other groups both within and outside of the two conflicting governments are also vying for their own agendas, which complicates the task of repairing the divide.

The majority of Libyans are fed up with the disputes between factions. Citizens wants to see stability and security restored so that they can go back to living normal lives.

As we take time to pray for the Libyan government(s) this week, let¹s ask the Spirit to reveal His plans.  What kind of government would be the most beneficial to usher in the harvest?

Read, meditate and pray Isaiah 9:6-7


May 29th, 2015

Encouragement from Jesus

I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.

Psalm 3:5

Hamid had been learning about Jesus and was captivated. Unbeknownst to his family, he dialed in to a Christian TV station and decided to follow Jesus.

Then, as violence gripped Libya, Hamid and his family decided to leave the country for a short time. During their stay in their host country, Hamid tried—unsuccessfully—to go to church. His family began to suspect his devotion to Jesus and they were not happy about it. He grew afraid until he was scared to death to return to Libya.

Hamid had a dream in which he was walking in a dark place, terrified and weeping. He met a man who asked him what was wrong. “I am afraid to continue my trip,” he replied. “It’s very dark.”

The man said, “Carry on and you’ll find a house where they help those in need.” Hamid continued walking until he found the house. He knocked on the door and a bearded man who was bright and dressed in white opened the door. The man asked him, “Why are you crying?”

“I am scared to walk in the dark,” Hamid said.

“You are now under my protection,” said the man. “Nothing should scare you. Come in.”

After this dream, Hamid returned to Libya and remained faithful to Jesus.

Khaled, another believer, told a religious man how Jesus appeared to him in a dream. The man argued with him and tried to win him back to Islam. Then one day he came to Khaled and told him about a dream in which Jesus had told him that it was time for him to work for Him.  He decided to become a follower of Jesus.

Even though there is little access to the Gospel, Libyans are responding as Jesus calls them to Him. Human strength and religious laws cannot keep Jesus out. Praise God and ask Him for an even greater outpouring of His Spirit and revelation on the Libyans.

Read, pray and meditate Joel 2:28-32


May 21st, 2015

Instability and Migrant Suffering

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 10:17-18

On April 18 of this year, a refugee boat with more than 700 people capsized in the Mediterranean between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa. Only 28 people were rescued.

Libya’s shores are only about 300 kilometers from Lampedusa. The island is sheltering thousands of illegal migrants.

Libya is frequently used as a transit country for African migrants. After the 2011 revolution that toppled Gadhafi, people smuggling became a booming business. Libya has 1,770 kilometers of coastline and 5,000 kilometers of desert borders that are sparsely populated. With no effective central government authority in place, smugglers are operating openly. The militias that control of much of Libya are allegedly making vast amounts of money in people smuggling, either through organizing it themselves or charging groups that pass through their territory. Because of the increased demand, smugglers are charging more. With each overloaded boat that departs from Libya, they make tens of thousands of dollars.

Some smugglers even use Facebook to advertise to migrants desperate to flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

According to the United Nations, more than 110,000 migrants crossed through Libyan territory in 2014 alone. At least 1,300 people died in the first three weeks of April alone, putting 2015 on track to be the deadliest year ever for migrants.

How can this illegal immigration be stopped?  How can the problems that make these migrants risk their lives to try and cross to Europe be solved?  It is a multi-faceted problem:  poverty, war, greedy smugglers, uncaring governments and corrupt officials. Jesus told us that God knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, so how much more does He value the lives of these immigrants?

Quiet your heart before God and ask the Holy Spirit to give you His thoughts to pray for the migrants, the smugglers and the different governments (Libyan, African, Middle Eastern and European).  Does the global church have a responsibility?

Read, meditate and pray Matthew 25: 31-46


May 15th, 2015

The Way, the Truth and the Life

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 14:6

Yahyah grew up in a typical Islamic environment. He started studying the Qur’an when he turned 8 years old. After high school, he befriended a young man named Radwaan at university. Radwaan had been a follower of Jesus for a couple of years, but he didn’t tell this to Yahyah at first. Months later when he told him about his faith, Yahyah was shocked. He decided to stop talking to Radwaan because he was an ‘infidel.’  But two weeks later Yahyah was compelled to reconcile with his friend and find out why he rejected Islam.

They spent hours and days discussing both religions. Yahyah tried to defend Islam and destroy Radwaan’s faith, but he discovered that his own arguments were weak and groundless in comparison to Radwaan’s.

Yahyah’s confusion increased by the day. The debating revealed that his faith was insincere, simply something he had inherited from his family. He renounced Islam. He became an atheist and despised people who were religious, especially Muslims and Christians. Soon he fell into depression. His mind told him to give no more thought to God, yet his heart was seeking a savior.

Then he was in a serious car accident and miraculously survived. As he recovered he considered his eternal destiny. Where would he go after death? If God were real, would he go to heaven or hell? Earnestly he sought truth and scoured the internet to learn more about Jesus. The more he read about Jesus, the more he loved Him, but something was telling him to stay away from Jesus.

Then one day he started crying out of desperation, calling out for God to reveal Himself. Shortly after, Yahyah had a dream. A man came to him, his arms open as if to hug Yahyah. All the man said was, “Jesus.” Yahyah woke up knowing that Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life and he immediately accepted Him as Lord and Savior.

Read, meditate and pray: John 10:9-16


May 7th, 2015

Effects of the Ongoing Violence and Instability

Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter-On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter.

Ecclesiastes 4:1

A fight erupted during the middle of the children’s ball game. The heat and humidity made everyone irritable, but the uncertainty in the country was the true source of the underlying tensions. As the children started to yell and hit at each other, one of the fathers came out and attacked his children’s offenders. They ran home and told their own father what had happened. Enraged, he grabbed one of his guns as he rushed out screaming curses on the neighbor children and their father. With the pull of trigger, the man killed his neighbor.

As word spread, the brothers and cousins of the murdered man all traveled from their town into the city, bringing more guns and bigger weapons. In revenge, they killed the murderer and destroyed his house with rocket-propelled grenades.

According to a survey that was completed in October 2013, nearly a third of Libyans were suffering from mental health problems due to the ongoing violence and lawlessness. The situation may have got worse since then.  People are tired of the violence and yet there’s no stop to it or the bitterness and hatred.  Their dreams of a better future have been shattered.  Let’s lift them up to the throne of Grace; for their ears to be opened to the Good Shepherd’s voice.

Read, pray and meditate Isaiah 30:15-21


May 1st, 2015

Workers

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

John 15:8

In recent history Libya has attracted foreigners from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East with its job opportunities and attractive salaries.  Some are highly skilled and work in medicine, engineering projects, business, and education. The less-skilled do menial jobs, saving as much as they can to send to relatives back home.

The number of foreigners has declined due to the ongoing violence and political instability, but many remain. Some of these foreigners are nominal Christians who see their religion as part of their cultural identity while others are in a relationship with the Living God. Amongst the latter are some who view their jobs as an extension of their calling to be light and salt to the world.

However, most foreign believers have been silenced by fear. Over the past years some have been killed, attacked or detained because of their faith. The message seems to be this: keep a low profile, and don’t share the Gospel.

This week many countries will celebrate Workers’ Day. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send more workers and to call workers from both inside and outside Libya to the harvest field. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the obstacles that prevent believers to answer His call, and pray for them to be overcome.

Read, meditate and pray Romans 10:13-16


April 23rd, 2015

Sebha

And should I not pity …, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left-and much livestock?

Jonah 4:11

Sebha is a desert town located near an oasis in southwestern Libya with a population of about 130,000. Historically, it is the capital of the Fezzan region. It was one of Gaddafi’s traditional strongholds and was the last city to fall to the rebels in the 2011 revolution.

Since 2012, Arab ethnic and black African tribes have clashed against each other, competing for local power and international recognition. Tension between the Tebu fighters of black African origin and Arab ethnic tribes remains a constant factor of instability.

Because of the lack of government control, the southern border regions offer an ideal safe haven and staging area for regional Islamist extremist networks. At the beginning of 2015 Islamic State affiliates launched an attack on government soldiers close to Sebha and killed 14 of them.

Sebha is an important transit town for Saharan travel with heavily laden trucks bearing human and other cargo for destinations such as Chad, Niger and Algeria. Spiritually this town is very dark and heavy. Women are involved in the occult and witchcraft and are sought out to put curses on other people. Yet, there have been some seeds of the Gospel sown in this town:

Many years ago an Egyptian Coptic Christian family lived next door to Halima’s family in Sebha. Halima and her sisters played with the children and were very curious about their different religious celebrations. One Good Friday Halima asked them about this specific day. Her friends were about to explain, when the mother interrupted and quickly took her children away.  Years later, Halima (who moved to a different town) still wondered why this family was so scared to talk about their faith, but more importantly, this incident stirred in her a curiosity about Good Friday and Jesus.

Read, meditate and pray Jonah 3:5-10


April 17th, 2015

Families of Believers

God composed the body… but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

1 Corinthians 12:24-26

A foreign Arab man and his friends were beaten and imprisoned on charges of proselytization. While his wife experienced God’s grace, she also felt a battle raging inside of her. The landlord and neighbors were pressuring her to leave. When she tried to visit her husband in prison the police and authorities treated her with hostility. Fears plagued her: “Am I making the right decisions? Should I have done things differently?” Her children were ostracized at school and by their friends. Then one day they visited their dad, whose bloodied face indicated that he was being beaten. Their young son vomited when they got home and struggled with nightmares.

The families of believers in countries like Libya know suffering. Their unbelieving family members pressure them to renounce their faith. Some believers can’t find work to support their families. Their children are ostracized at school. Others fear that their spouse or children could be kidnapped or killed. This pressure strains relationships and marriages. The enemy’s tactic is to intimidate and bring division.

Let’s stand with local believers and their families in their suffering, and lift them up to the throne of Grace.

Meditation of the week: Psalm 18


April 9th, 2015

Revelation of Jesus

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 16:16-17

The question burned in me. “Ahmed, do you dream?”

“Yes, of course,” he said.

“Have you ever seen a man in white in your dreams?”

“Yes!” he replied.

“Well, Ahmed, tell me about you’ve seen.”

He told me that he had seen this man many times in his dreams, but he didn’t know who he is. “But he instructs me to do things, like visit my lonely grandmother, and give money to the poor.”

I smiled. Yes, I knew this man, too, even though I had never seen him in a dream. I asked, “And you do these things, even though you don’t know who he is? I mean, you don’t know if he is good or if he is bad. Who is he?”

“Oh, he is a good man,” Ahmed firmly explained. “I know that for sure.”

I told Ahmed that the next time this man comes to him in a dream, to ask him his name.

Pray for Ahmed and many others like him who are primed for a personal revelation from the Son of Man himself.

Read, meditate and pray John 3:13-18


April 2nd, 2015

Who is Jesus?

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”

Colossians 1:15

Ali is a shopkeeper in the medina, the old town. When Susan, a foreigner, entered his shop, he asked her, “Are you a Christian or Muslim?” She said that she was a Christian. He suggested she read the Qur’an because there’s a chapter about Jesus and Mary in it. She replied that all she needed to know was already in the Bible.

“So what does the Bible have?” Ali wanted to know.

“All I need for life,” Susan replied

Ali was getting ready for an argument. “Who is Jesus?” he asked. Susan told him that Jesus is the Word of God.

“Who is God and where is He?” Ali demanded.

“He is the creator of the universe; He is in heaven and His Spirit is as close as your jugular vein. And do you know who the Qur’an and the Bible say never sinned?”

Ali replied that everybody sinned. Susan remained silent, so Ali suggested that none of the messengers (prophets) sinned. Susan replied that only one person didn’t sin.

“So it was Jesus?” Ali wanted to know, by now quite eager to get the answer.

Susan replied, “As Christians, we don’t just believe everything we hear, we search the Holy Scriptures and ask God to show us”.

Many Libyans might say that they believe in Jesus. They acknowledge that He’s the Word of God, but for them, Jesus was just a good man, another prophet from God. They deny his death on the cross (and thus his resurrection) and that He is the Way to the Father. Only the Spirit of God can reveal to men that Jesus is the Son of God.  Let’s keep on asking for this revelation to our lost friends in Libya.

Read, meditate and pray John 1:1-37


March 26th, 2015

Sirte

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalm 46: 9-10

The beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by affiliates of the IS in Libya has shocked the world.  The Christians had been kidnapped a month before in Sirte, a coastal city that lies halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi.

Sirte served as an administrative centre under Italian rule, which lasted from 1911 until 1934. When oil was discovered nearby, the village grew in prominence and its population expanded to almost 80,000. It was also Gaddaf’s hometown. He was born there and, ultimately, he died there. Gaddafi¹s wealth funded much of the town¹s development. It became known as a rich town with luxurious homes, most of which were completely destroyed during the revolution.

 

Sirte has expanded as a base of operations for militants since the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. A government official has estimated that around 1,000 militants are based in the City.

 

In December 2014 an Egyptian Christian doctor and his wife were murdered in their home in the same city. The attackers also abducted their 13 year old daughter. Her body was found a few days later. The chairman of the local council of Sirte stated that the attacks were religiously-motivated.

 

The city is a bastion of Ansar alSharia, an Islamist group blacklisted by the United Nations. The Islamist-backed Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) coalition control some parts of Sirte. In December they launched attacks against nearby oil installations. In February an armed group attacked the Mabruk oilfield some 170 kilometres southeast of Sirte, killing four petroleum facilities guards and seizing three Filipino workers.  The attackers claimed to be members of the Islamic State (IS).

 

As we take this time to pray for Sirte, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God¹s heart and His purposes for the city.  Give us feedback on info@pray4libya.net

 

Read, meditate and pray Psalm 75


March 19th, 2015

Mothers

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.”

Isaiah 40:11

Mothers are highly respected in the Libyan culture. Someone once explained, “Heaven is under the feet of the mother. You have to make sure that you are kind to your mom. If you don’t treat her right, she might tell God and then you’re in trouble, because she has a special relationship with God.”

Fatma keeps a video clip of her oldest son on her phone that was made during the revolution. In the video he explains his reasons for fighting in the revolution. He had been living in Malaysia and decided to return and help his country.

One day he called his parents to tell them he would see them at lunch. Fatma was excited that she would get to see him after a long absence (she hadn’t seen him since his return from Malaysia). However, that afternoon some men came to the door with the body of her son–who had just been killed in the fighting. It was the last day of the revolution.

It’s been hard for Fatma to cope with his death. Fortunately a family moved in next door, and the young children from that family have brought her some comfort.

This week on March 21, Mother’s Day will be celebrated in Libya. For many mothers this will be a sad occasion, a reminder of the children they’ve lost, not only in the revolution, but also in the violence afterwards. Others live in fear, wanting to keep their children safe. They worry every time their children leave for school or run errands to the local shop.

Read, meditate and pray Matt 11:25-30


March 12th, 2015

A Modern Day Saul?

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,”

Matt 5:44-45

Abdullah is a committed, devout Muslim. His aim in life is to encourage Muslims to be better Muslims and to convert non-Muslims to Islam. He also works for a security branch of the government.

One day his unit arrested Ayoub, a foreign Arab believer, on charges of proselytizing. The unit commander ordered Abdullah to beat Ayoub. Abdullah paused and phoned his religious leader, asking, “If I beat this Christian, will God be pleased?” “Yes,” came the reply. So Abdullah gave Ayoub the beating of his life. After all, he really wanted to please God. He would beat Ayoub and then return to him later to convert him to Islam.

Another time he was told to confiscate Ayoub’s Bible. Again he phoned the religious leader: “Will God be pleased if I take this Bible from him?” Again, his leader said yes.

After being released from prison, Ayoub started calling Abdullah often. At first, Abdullah wasn’t too friendly. “Why is Ayoub phoning? Shouldn’t he hate me for all the beatings I gave him?” But Ayoub didn’t mention the beatings; he just talked about God’s love. Over time Abdullah started to warm up to him.

Sometimes Abdullah talked about Islam, how he serves God, and how he prays. Ayoub shared about God’s love and what it means to have a relationship with the living God.

Abdullah knows the 99 names of God in the Qur’an. He knows that God is great and powerful, but he doesn’t know that God is love and that God loves him.

Read, meditate and pray Acts 9:1-21


March 5th, 2015

Fears of Believers

“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.”But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

Luke 12:4

Ahmed is a new believer that came to faith through a television show.  He’s encouraged to know that there are others like him and he connects with them online, but he’s too scared to meet them face-to-face “How can I know that I can trust them and that they won’t give me away to the police?” he asks.

During a 3-month time of prayer and fasting for Libya, a few expat believers decided to dedicate 3 days to focus on breaking the spirit of fear. The following week some of them were arrested and detained; Egyptian brothers were tortured and one lost his life as a result of it.

Since then there have been more reports of people being killed or arrested because of their faith. To carry the name of Christ is dangerous in Libya, and to obey the great commission could cost you your life. Some foreign believers are treated more lenient, but local believers have no laws to protect them. In fact, the law condemns them). Many believers fear that a family member might kill them as an act of ‘obedience to God’. Sometimes an employer will withhold wages if he knows that an employee is a believer. Some religious groups seemingly exist with the sole purpose of killing any local who professes the name of Jesus. Fear keeps our believing brothers and sisters from sharing the Good News and fellowshipping together.

Would you consider fasting for Libyan believers this week?  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you how to break the Spirit of fear over believers.

Read, meditate and pray Matt 10:16-33


February 26th, 2015

Perceptions about Christianity

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. ~Colossians 4:6

Fatima is a single woman in her early twenties who lives in a small town. She never appears without her headscarf in the presence of a man (except her father, brothers, nephews and, some day, her husband) and she prefers to wear a long coat over her clothes when she goes out. She knows that a woman’s reputation should be guarded, so she dresses modestly and respectfully. She loves traditions and religious feasts that they celebrate together. These make her feel a part of her family as well as a part of Libyan society and the larger Muslim community all over the world.

Fatima doesn’t know much about Christianity but what she has been led to believe about it upsets her: Christians wear revealing clothes, they drink and smoke, and they have sexual relations outside of marriage. Her family hates the rumors that people want to Christianize Libya. They abhor the idea of their women going out in miniskirts and smoking. They don’t want the corrupt Christian lifestyle that they see in Hollywood movies entering into their society.

Some women would like to have more freedom to choose whether to wear the headscarf or not. But they still view Christianity negatively, as something Western.

A revelation of who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him is needed to attract them to Him. How could our lives as believers inside and outside Libya contribute to them seeing a true picture of Jesus? How can we pray for expat and local believers?
Read, meditate and pray Romans 12


February 20th, 2015

Benghazi

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it

John 1:4

In the east of the country is Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city. On February 15th, 2011, the spokesperson for the victims of the 1996 Abu Salim Prison Massacre was arrested. The small peaceful demonstration that followed was violently ended two days later when police opened fire, killing 14. This sparked the country’s revolution that led to Gaddafi’s downfall and to the state of chaos that still rules the nation.

Historically, the people of Benghazi have been known as carers and protectors of any destitute person who comes to them. Like the city’s prominent landmark, an old square-sided lighthouse, Benghazi has served as a welcoming beacon for lost people. But now, the city is as spiritually lost as ever.

Since 2011, members of the army and the police as well as social activists have been murdered in cold blood—in mosques, schools, even inside their homes. Fighting continues on a daily basis between opposing militias and parties. Much innocent blood has been shed.

One woman expressed her frustration after another round of fighting: “Buildings are constructed of rocks and cement and we can rebuild these again. But the souls of the young people of Benghazi are being massacred by terrorists.”

The past two years have also seen an increase of attacks and killings on expatriate believers and churches. Many Christians have either left or been forced to leave the city and country.

As you take time this week to pray, ask for God’s mercy on Benghazi. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s destiny for the city and its people.

Read, meditate and pray  Isaiah 59


 February 12th, 2015

4th Anniversary of Feb 17 Revolution.

…but now He has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken – that is, things that have been made- in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

Hebrews 12:26-27

Khaled is 30 years old and lives in a town a few hours from Tripoli. When the revolution started, he joined enthusiastically when it reached his town. A few months later he commented, “These past months have been like hell. War is really ugly—I never knew that before. Gaddafi is not human, he is a devil himself. I was close to death so many times. We were fighting every day to keep alive until the other rebels came and saved us. That day was a holy day, the day of our victory.”

Two years later, discouraged by the ongoing violence and acts of aggression against expats, he said, “Some of these so-called revolutionaries have done the most horrible things to civilians in the name of the revolution.” Like many other Libyans, Khaled wanted to leave the country, but decided to stay for his family.

Now, three years later, disillusionment and despair have sunk in: “The sad thing is that innocent people get caught in the crossfire, as if human life is worth nothing. People here suffer everyday with armed robbery, crossfire, and so on. I realize now that the problem wasn’t with Gaddafi. Libyans are very empty—and when they have a chance they will expose the darkness inside of them. But maybe this is human nature. Sometimes, I feel despair. Is this really what we look like? Is this truly human nature? I really want to live in a place with peace, with no war, no hate. I feel lost and crazy in this situation, wondering; is there a light at the end of this tunnel?”

Read, meditate and pray Hosea 2: 14-23.


February 5th, 2015

Life for the Youth

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

The ongoing violence since the revolution is impacting the children of Libya, shrouding their lives in an environment of fear.

Ahmed is 13 years old. While sitting in school writing their final exams a bomb exploded just two blocks away. It was such an everyday occurrence that he just looked up and continued with a sigh. But when a military plane flew very low over the school two days later, he and his classmates ducked and broke out in cold sweat. They thought they were under attack.

His 15-year-old brother, Mahmoud, fell asleep in class once and when the teacher hit a ruler on his desk to wake him up he burst out in tears.

In safer times, Ahmed used to play football in the street with his friends. His parents won’t allow him out anymore. They’re afraid he might be kidnapped. Sometimes his dad sits outside visiting with other men in the neighborhood, and then he and his friends can play under their fathers’ watchful eyes.

Like all local families he knows, Ahmed’s family owns firearms for protection. Even his brother Mahmoud walks around with a gun.

Ahmed feels bored at home. He’s frustrated and angry, and yet there’s nothing he can do to change the situation. Sometimes he just wants to hit somebody to get rid of all the anger inside of him. When his friend took his favorite pencil the other day, he flared up. He felt like he could have killed him if the teacher hadn’t interfered.

Read, meditate and pray Isaiah 11:1-10.


January 29th, 2015

The Berbers

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

John 8:36

“Salaam” thought he was the only member of the Amazigh tribe who knew Jesus. Everyone else in his village and area of Libya were non-Arab Muslims.

Imagine “Salaam’s” surprise when one day he met two believers in Jesus from a neighboring country who spoke his language! Tears of joy ran down their faces as they spoke easily with each other and as the believers described how thousands of Amazigh have become Christians in the neighboring country.

The Amazigh, also known as Berbers, are the original inhabitants of North Africa. Libyan Berbers live in towns in the Jabal Nafusa mountains, along the coast in Tripolitania and in desert oases in Cyrenaica and Fezzan. Many Libyans who claim Arab descendency also show traces of mixed Berber ancestry.

Since the 2011 revolution, the Amazigh in Libya have openly displayed their flag and taught the Tamazight language to their children. The symbol on their flag proclaims them as “free and noble people”. They are a hopeful and hard working people.

Before the arrival of Islam, the Amazigh identified as Christians, Jews or polytheists. Today the majority of Amazigh are Muslims, although some consent that the religion was forced upon them centuries ago.

Read, meditate and pray John 4:1-42.


January 22nd, 2015

Derna

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

Derna is a port city in eastern Libya with a population of over 100 000. It lies between the Green mountains, the Mediterranean Sea, and the desert. The city is home to people of mixed origins.

It is a stronghold for radical groups including Ansar al-Sharia, classed by the UN as a terrorist organization. In April 2014, an offshoot of the group announced it had implemented Islamic sharia law in Derna. The self-proclaimed “Shura Council of Islamic Youth” has reportedly opened Islamic courts and established a religious police force in the town. Dozens of masked members have appeared in military fatigues, regularly parading in pick-up trucks brandishing rocket launchers and heavy machine guns and toting the black and white flag used by jihadists. In August the Shura Council posted a video online showing the public execution of an Egyptian man accused of murder in a Derna football stadium.

Derna has a long history of Islamist radicalism. Marginalized during the Gaddafi era, it contributed more foreign fighters per capita to Al-Qaeda in Iraq than any other town in the Middle East. It has also provided scores of fighters for ISIS in Syria. The majority of senior jihadists in Libya are former Al-Qaeda members and there is an ideological fight between them and followers of ISIS.

In November 2014 some Derna factions pledged allegiance to ISIS (and the leadership of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi), but it is unclear which ones and how much support they have. In the same month the bodies of three anti-ISIS activists were found beheaded in the town. The three, who had relayed information about the city through social media, had been kidnapped a few weeks before. The city seems to be a spiritually dark place.

Spend some time in praise and worship as you lift up Derna to the throne of God; inviting His truth and light into Derna. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s heart for the inhabitants and the extremist groups. What are His purposes and plans for them? You can send words or Scripture you receive to info@pray4libya.net or post it on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Read, meditate and pray 2 Chronicles 20:15-22.


January 15th, 2015

Seeds of Eternity

For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what it please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11

The roots of the Gospel in Libya go back 2000 years. We see people from the country participating in the Gospel story – there was Simon of Cyrene (in Eastern Libya) as well as those present at Pentecost. Today the ancient ruins of Libya are the silent witness of the presence of the early church.

In modern times seeds of the Gospel have been sown in different ways. The truth about Jesus has been shared; some people have received portions of Scripture; others have been touched through the prayers of believers. Some of the ‘sowers’ have paid a high price for their sowing.

Some tourists visited one of the towns where you can still see the remains of an early Church. They met a young believer. He was amazed to hear that Libya was mentioned in the Bible (in Acts). He asked them if Simon of Cyrene was from their Cyrene. He was very proud and encouraged that his country was mentioned in the Bible.

How can we pray for the seed that has been sown? Ask the Spirit to show us how to pray for the seed of the Gospel that has been lying dormant for a long time?

Read, meditate and pray Ezekiel 37.


January 8th, 2015

Proclamation

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle

Ps 24:7-8

As she sat in the police cell, unaware that she was going to appear in court that day, a persecuted believer felt God giving her Psalm 24 to pray over Libya. Later, as the guards drove her to the courthouse, she saw graffiti on a wall: “Lift up your head, O Libya”. God has not forgotten Libya. He has good plans for the country.

Proclaim God’s name over Libya and her people, and invite the Light into the country. Call forth the mighty warriors from this land and this people. Beckon the men and women of peace to open the door of the Gospel and to welcome in the King of kings.

Have you received specific promises for this precious country? Pray them out or ask the Holy Spirit for scripture or promises to pray. You could proclaim God’s greatness and power over Libya in songs of praise and worship.

Read, meditate and pray Isaiah 35.


January 1st, 2015

Pulling Down Strongholds

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2 Cor 10:4-5

Gaddafi made use of witchcraft to keep him in power and protect him against his enemies. While he’s no longer in authority, the powers of darkness that gained access through generations of occultism, sins and curses still rule. In the last 4 years a lot of blood has been shed. It could appear as if Libya has become the playground of Satan; darkness creeps in wave after wave.

Strongholds over Libya include witchcraft, pride, self-righteousness, anti-Christ (denying the death, resurrection, and sonship of Jesus), death, and humanism.

Through Jesus we come boldly to the throne room. Allow the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and, in humility and confidence in Jesus, let’s tear down these strongholds in prayer; uprooting the works of the evil one so that we can prepare the ground for the Kingdom.

Ask the Spirit if there are any other forces or mindsets that we should tear down. Stand against them and continue asking the Spirit for more revelation.

Invite some other believers to fast one or more days this week for the country. Finish your time of prayer in praise and thanksgiving to our King of kings.

Read, meditate and pray Psalm 97.