James Foley was a teacher in Phoenix who later taught reading and writing to inmates in Chicago. He chose to pursue a journalism career and embedded with American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2012 he began reporting on the civil war in Syria. In November 2012 he disappeared.
Now his story is global news after a video was published on Tuesday showing an Islamic State jihadist beheading him. President Obama was right: “Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world.” His mother explained why her son went to Syria: “He had incredible heart, and he always cared about people who were suffering.”
Jim Foley’s compassion was fueled by his faith. After an earlier captivity while reporting in Libya, he wrote, “prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.” After hearing of his shocking death this week, his parents told the world, “We know he’s in God’s hands . . . and we know he’s in heaven.”
If Jim Foley could suggest just one way to respond to the jihadist crisis threatening Iraq, Israel, and the world, what do you think he would recommend?
Anne Graham Lotz has been a dear and trusted friend for many years. More than 120,000 of us joined her recent intercession for America, “777: An Urgent Call to Prayer for our Nation.” Anne has been traveling in Jerusalem as part of a delegation of evangelical leaders who are showing their support for Israel during the conflict with Hamas. Now God has led her to issue another prayer call, this time for Jerusalem and the Jewish people.
Titled “911: An Urgent Call to Pray for Jerusalem,” the initiative invites us to pray on the 9th month (September) on the first day for an hour of our choosing. We are also called to fast as we pray. Anne suggests four specific requests:
- For God to pour out his Spirit of grace and supplication on Jerusalem
- For God to open Jerusalem’s eyes to recognize her Messiah . . . Yeshua . . . Jesus
- For God to break her heart for her sin and rejection of him
- For God to save her spiritually and physically as she cries out to him.
I have joined the list of those who will be fasting and praying on September 1, and invite you to do the same. Anne will send a specific prayer on that day for us to share together.
If Jim Foley could pray while in captivity, we can pray for those in captivity, whether their suffering is physical or spiritual. Missionary and author S. D. Gordon believed that “the greatest thing anyone can do for God or man is pray.” Do you agree?