Syrian refugees and local residents light candles during a sit-in against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, outside the Syrian embassy in Amman. (Reuters)

“My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight.. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus, John 18:36

Today, I finally sat down, turned on CNN, and let the crisis in Syria into my heart. I’m soul sick and weary at the violence in our world. I want justice.  I want the lives of innocent Syrians to be vindicated.  But, I’m don’t believe in “retributive justice”, so the plans to attack Syria in retaliation for their use of chemical warfare deeply troubles me.

I experience this frustrating tension often.  I’m a disciple of Jesus, therefore I must follow his example of peacemaking, non-violent resistance.  At the same time, I’m a feisty Texan and the daughter of a Marine, so I want action—these colors don’t run and all that.  What I too easily forget and what the Lord reminded me when I walked away from the news coverage, is that the banner of our King Jesus raised over me— doesn’t run either.  The Kingdom’s response to evil in this world isn’t passive! It’s extremely active and aggressive, but in the right way, or even better—towards the right enemy.

I’m a Kingdom citizen and we:

are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.

Ephesians 6:12 Living Bible (TLB)

We can wreck our eternal enemy with a completely different arsenal of weapons:  love, sacrifice, the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  We can take all of our angry, heart-broken, justice seeking energy to engage the battle with our prayers and they will become mighty weapons in the hands of our Warrior King.

And while the Pentecostal in me wants to jump up and start putting on the whole armor of God— ready to rebuke some demons and anoint some well…just about anything…in the name of Jesus— I’m often unsure of how to do the whole spiritual warfare thing authentically and orderly. I don’t want to put on a show for my own self-aggrandizement and I really, really, don’t freak my family out.

So, I’ve complied a little list here for you as you process how to engage in spiritual warfare as a Kingdom person.  Sit with God and let him inform you on your part to play in this battle.  These resources are here to help us keep our mind focused on the Kingdom.  They cover everything from prayers, to sermons on spiritual warfare, to music that has encouraged me that Jesus is Victor and Overcomer.  I hope they help and encourage you this week.

Here are my favorite peace-building, Kingdom-advancing ways to engage in the crisis in Syria.

1:  In the Bible, Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days before his first major engagement with the Enemy. Since we are engaging in a battle, I want to be battle-ready by quieting my heart and embracing discomfort for Syria and her people.  Yesterday, the Pope called for fasting and prayer for Syria.   Consider joining our Catholic brothers and sisters to pray and fast on Sept. 7.

“The world needs to see gestures of peace and hear words of hope and of peace,” Francis said.

2: Pray for peace and justice from the Book of Common Prayer. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church has put together this fantastic list for us, including this prayer for our President. This is crucial as Congress is discussing if and how the American military will respond.

For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

3:  The Mennonite Church, leaders in non-violent resistance released their response to the crisis in the Middle East.  This has been a valuable resource to me to learn, pray, and support non-violence resolutions.    

Almighty God, we pray today for all people of the Middle East, who face a time of change and uncertainty. With one mouth and one heart, together with our brothers and sisters there, we pray that God would console those who have lost loved ones.

We pray for strength for the church in the Middle East, that they might not give up hope in spite of all the challenges that lie ahead, but would instead hold steadfast to the faith of their ancestors and remain rooted in their homes and homelands.  Safeguard their presence and invigorate their witness there.

We ask that people who have been driven apart by violence may come back to each other in love, tolerance, cooperation, and wisdom. We pray that changes in the region respect principles of justice, freedom, and human dignity.

Thank you for the challenges before us, Lord, as they present us with new opportunities to serve our neighbors. Give us each the courage to work for reconciliation and peace and to advocate all just causes. 

Our faith gives us a living hope ever incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us be witnesses to that faith, here and throughout the world. Amen.

This prayer was compiled by Sarah Adams, MCC representative for Lebanon and Syria, from recent prayers offered by church leaders in the two countries. (Feb. 21, 2012)

4: Follow Sarah Bessey’s lead and light a candle for Syria

I light the candle in the middle of the house and every time I see it, I breathe out the names and their places, the people I’m carrying for the day… The little candle is lit today for a handful of friends and for Syria.

5:  Say Yes to Life (and No to War) in Syria

This post written by Marty Troyer, Pastor of Houston Mennonite Church: The Church of the Sermon on the Mount, makes a compelling argument for Christian non-violence.  He also gives some great suggestions for followers of Jesus who want to respond well to this and any conflict in the world.

As a follower of Jesus my response today (and it is evolving) is to do 3 things, and I invite you to join me in them:

  1. Pray and Protest immediately to stop our government’s escalation of violence in our names. Call, tweet, email your congressional reps and the White House. Information is below on a Protest/Vigil happening Saturday at Noon in Houston (See below my signature).

  2. Resist the pull of Christendom: refuse to offer the church’s sanction to the cause, and work to recognize how religion is being used to justify violence on both sides. Dream outside the box as a follower of Christ in a Post-Christian world.

  3. Commit long-term to a radical change in your church’s Disciple-Making culture, so that one day (perhaps when the drumbeats of war are raised next time) our churches are prepared to offer an active engaged nonviolent and DISTINCTLY CHRISTIAN alternative approach than that which Christendom affords us.  

6: Listen to music that helps keep your mind Jesus and Kingdom-centered.
[spotify id=”spotify:user:oshetamoore:playlist:4tKQEngfSGhNI2o7SICPer” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

Favorite lines:

“Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.”

“And all who hurt with nothing left
Will know that You are holy. And all will sing out

“For those without shelter from the rain. We lift our eyes to you looking for answers
When we have been called to ease the pain. We want to be your hands your feet
Without words will let our actions speak”

“Jesus, awesome in power forever. Awesome and great is Your name, You overcame
Power in hand speaking the Father’s plan. You’re sending us out, light in this broken land
We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb. And the word of our testimony, everyone overcome”

7:  Listen to sermons on Kingdom warfare for encouragement

My favorite series is The Meeting House’s “Inglorious Pastors: Waging Peace in a World of War” (From which I get this post’s name)


8:  My denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, has put together a pdf to help us pray for the world.  I love how they de-mystify prayer and engaging in spiritual warfare for our world with this encouragement:

Thinking about needs around the world can get overwhelming. So, don’t try to cover everything.
Pay attention to people, daily needs, and crises that particularly stir your heart.
9: Sheloves is hosting 25 days of prayer for Syria.  You can tweet about it with the Twitter handle #loveSyria and subscribe to the prayer list here.

Change can come. Peace can come.  As one who was born into the side of the oppressors,

I know: God hears the cries of the oppressed.

10: Learn more and resolve to not confuse non-violence with inaction. Joy over at ADeeperStory has written an fantastic piece called, “Syria: An Overview and a Call to (non-violent) Action.  It’s both informative and inspiring.

“What I do know is that as Christians, we cannot look the other way. We must not. But when seeking the right course of action, we must not confuse action with violence. Violence begets violence, not peace.”
Thanks to this list, I have a renewed sense of purpose. When we respond spiritually to earthly unrest we enter the right battle.  Join me, fellow peace-wager.  I’m praying for you all as you process your engagement this week. Please post any resources you have found helpful.
Seeking Shalom for Syria,