In today’s media-saturated America, everyone has an opinion. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow – there is no shortage of viewpoints. But how many of those perspectives bring you back to a place of passionate, persistent prayer for the nation?
“Viewpoint” allows the expression on the political, social and moral issues of the day. At times, you may not agree. But in the end, you will be energized to pray for America, with the prism of Scripture and a decidedly Godly direction as your guide. Plus, you can blog your comments to every article, have your say.
Read – then pray with an enlightened, more informed viewpoint for your nation and its leaders.
American “Can’t Fix” the Mideast
Change is painfully and wonderfully slow
By Nikolas Grosfield
The Washington Post recently published an article about Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s views on the Middle East. First, Clapper thinks resolving problems in the Middle East should be a multinational effort. He wants “to improve intelligence coordination and information sharing” with other countries. Second, he says America is defeating the Islamic State—“They’ve lost a lot of territory. We’re killing a lot of their fighters”—but the end is still unseen: “We’ll be in a perpetual state of suppression for a long time.” Third, Clapper notes various social, political, economic, and arms problems in the Middle East; then opines: “I don’t have an answer. The U.S. can’t fix it.”
The director is probably right. In fact, the troubles in the region go far beyond what he identified. One is determining just how big the Middle East is. Is it the area represented by the 22 nations of the League of Arab States—which includes ten countries all over Africa and excludes such states as Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan? According to the CIA World Factbook, Egypt is out, but Israel and Armenia are in. If Merriam Webster is right, the region extends from Libya to Afghanistan. And some people might use “Middle East” and “Muslim-majority” nations interchangeably, which can include places like Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Whatever the boundaries, the Middle East is home to hundreds of millions of people. They have immensely variant backgrounds and goals: religious, sectarian, tribal, linguistic, racial, national, partisan, cultural, historical, and geographical differences abound—not to mention current wars, terrorism, corruption, illiteracy, and demagoguery.
But are these complications too great to be overcome? Or has the world never seen their like?
No doubt money and military might from a superpower like the United States can go a long way toward helping the region. And if allies—and especially some Middle Eastern states—cooperate, many problems can be contained in a group effort. But governments can ease and appease, while never actually producing long-term heart change in their citizens, let alone in the people of other lands.
One-on-one encounters and relationships are needed. Horizontally, Westerners and the people of the Middle East can build bridges toward each other. Middle Easterners can build bridges among themselves, too. But more importantly, vertical submission to Christ is the real way to truly “fix” the Middle East. Christians (and Muslims) who put less stock in politics, guns, and wallets—and who trust more in the God of the Bible—can prayerfully and lovingly effect lasting change in the Middle East.
Befriending Middle Easterners can have the following benefits: a) you discover that the region is only frightful sometimes and in some places, not always and everywhere as pundits or politicians imply; b) you can learn and be blessed at least as much as you teach and bless; c) you realize just how many Christians and not-yet Christians live in the region. Consider the following anecdotes about a few of my friends from the Middle East—where I visited nine nations and lived for more than four years:
- An Egyptian Muslim played tennis with me regularly and asked me to his son’s birthday.
- A Syrian Christian priest showed my group and me his church in an Aramaic village.
- A Qatari Muslim invited a friend and me off the street into his home…for four hours.
- An Egyptian Christian grew up disliking America, now he talks of visiting it.
- A Palestinian Muslim and I are currently having a sincere and caring interfaith dialogue.
- A Lebanese Christian invited me to her wedding.
- An Egyptian Muslim shared his staunch pro-life views with me.
- Two Iranian Christians hosted my family at their house for more than a week.
- A Lebanese Druze recently met the First Lady of the United States.
- An Egyptian Christian told me he wants to live for Jesus because he loves and trusts Him.
- A Sudanese Muslim loves me like a brother and longs to visit America.
- A Lebanese Christian expressed faith in God and pleaded for prayer while fleeing a war.
- An Omani Muslim told my friend and I about his life after helping us on a hot desert day.
- An Egyptian Christian immigrated to America after suffering persecution at home.
- Two Pakistani Muslims eagerly requested and accepted English Bibles from me.
- An Egyptian Christian is my closest Mideast friend and brother: “Iron sharpens iron…”
- An Egyptian Muslim joined me to church and is curious about God being a Father.
God is at work in hearts throughout the Middle East. He hears the prayers of His people for that part of the world. And His people there may just be praying for you, too.
Nikolas Grosfield is a writer and rancher from Montana. He has written 160 articles for various media sources, spent five years in the Middle East and East Africa, and earned a B.A. in History from Cedarville University. Nik is a child of God, Elsbeth’s husband, and Ole’s daddy.
The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily represent or reflect the biblical, world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team
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