Pray For Paris

pray for Paris

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17)

Read: Ezekiel 29:1-30:26, Hebrews 11:32-12:13, Psalm 112:1-10, Proverbs 27:17

Relate: As is normally the case on weekends, I was unplugged. Once I started heading towards home last night, I stopped the incessant influx of media, social or otherwise, and would have kept it off through tomorrow if not for the fact I had to meet with some parents and teachers today. “Isn’t it horrible?” Instead of the normal “günaydın” (good morning), this is the first thing I heard from the first teacher I saw. My first thought was “that I have to be in a school on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?” I knew, however that I would probably regret saying this outloud so instead I asked, “I haven’t heard. What happened?” Her answer and what I have later read is another story that is becoming all to distressingly frequent to truly be considered shocking:

While eighty thousand fans were watching France take on Germany in football (“soccer” for Americans), two explosions roared near two different stadium entrances. Even as a disorienting fear and confusion shook those inside the stadium, mayhem quickly spread on the streets. Multiple attacks quickly spread out from there in different directions causing fear and confusion making it tough this early on to have a clear picture of just what was happening. While there were people killed right on the streets, it appears that at least six locations were specifically targeted and all of them could be labeled “chic” or “touristy”. These terrorists weren’t just out for Parisian blood but wanted to make a global statement.

The worst of these sites was the Bataclan concert hall where an American rock band was performing. The initial attack here, accompanied by shouts of “Allahu Akbar”, killed at least fifteen people but another hundred or so were taken hostage. When about an hour later more shooting and explosions were heard at the scene police stormed the place trying to save the hostages. Although some were saved, for far too many others, they were too late. The carnage found inside by insane madmen wielding bombs and  Kalashnikovs is the stuff of nightmare.

React: Although ISIS has released a tape claiming responsibility for the attack, those tape’s details were vague and leaves doubt on the matter. Most reports I’ve read at this point say that the early best guess points more toward Al Qaeda. No matter who it was, this attack can only be described as evil. The same can be said of the bombings in Beirut claiming the lives of forty-three people earlier the same day. We live in a broken, fallen world. No matter what their language, culture, background, and beliefs the friends and the families of these victims need our tears and compassion and prayer.


God, I pray now for the people of Beirut and Paris. I pray for everyone who has lost a friend or relative in these heinous attacks. Even as You bring them comfort, I pray that they would come to know the true, only Prince of Peace. I pray against the individuals and groups that had a hand this destructive evil. I pray that this violence would not met with retaliatory violence but rather with justice. Most of all, I pray that You would tear down the destructive mindset that is Islam and that the Middle East would be swept under by a revival torrent of Your love and grace and truth as millions come to know You as not just a prophet but also their Savior and their God.


31 thoughts on “Pray For Paris

  1. It is very disappointing that you choose to sully an otherwise spiritually engaging article with your offensive comments:

    “I pray that You would tear down the destructive mindset that is Islam”

    ISIS is no more Islamic than the KKK is Christian.

    • I live in a Muslim nation surrounded by Muslim friends and neighbors. I know far more than most that there are many good, decent, and noble people who are Muslim. But as a religion, Islam is evil. I say that not as an emotional response but an objective truth.

      • Beejai, your view of Islam is not based on any “truth” I am familiar with. It echoes the extreme Islamophobia popular amongst hard-line Christians online.

        As I said, ISIS is no more Islamic than the KKK is Christian. Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, an internationally respected Islamic scholar from Damascus, has written a new book called Refuting Isis.

        To justify its horrible crimes and appeal to Muslims around the world, ISIS has based its ideology on a superficial and literalist approach to the Sacred Texts of Islam – the Holy Qur’an and the Prophetic Tradition. ISIS manipulates religion to brainwash angry young Muslims, who have little knowledge of Islamic theology and jurisprudence. Therefore, the Muslim scholars are obliged to respond with a counter-narrative that elucidates the reality of Islam and its commitment to tolerance. There exists a plethora of proofs that demonstrates ISIS’ actions do not represent Sunni Islam and its claims are based on clear fallacies. The author, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi, a renowned scholar and one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world today, presents in this invaluable book a thorough refutation of ISIS’ beliefs and crimes. Providing authentic quotes that destroy the allegations of ISIS, Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi reaches the conclusion that this group does not represent Islam, its declaration of a caliphate is invalid, and fighting it is an obligation upon Muslims.

        Read it for yourself:

        • I am not associating ISIS with Islam. I am fully aware that IS is not representative of all Islam. You are arguing a point I am not trying to make.

          Islam is evil. I’ve read multiple books on the subject by both Christian and Muslim scholars. I’ve read multiple English versions of the Quran. I’ve read dozens of books of the history of Islam or various Islamic people and cultures. What is more, I am living and working with Muslims in a secular but largely Islamic culture. I do know what I am talking about. Islam is not ISIS, but it is still evil.

        • You choose to repeat your ridiculous view that Islam is “evil” without a shred of evidence.

          Simply living amongst Muslims (so do I!) does NOT make you an expert on Islam, and reading a pile of books by Islamophobes and others does not count as having knowledge of Islam.

          I know many people who have studied Islam to the highest levels (one teaches Islam at Cambridge). They live beautiful lives precisely because they follow the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.

          Conversely I have met ex-Christians who have left Christianity behind because they could not longer accept the the mass violence and retribution it portrays —whether by God’s hand (e.g., the Flood, Genesis 6), God’s command (e.g., extermination of the Canaanites, Deuteronomy 20), or God’s silent approval (e.g., taking women and children captive as spoils of war, Numbers 31) they find in the Bible.

          For Christians, I believe that condemning mass, ideologically driven, and horrific violence today means taking on the responsibility of deconstructing the violence in the Bible.

          A top evangelical scholar is attempting to do just this today. See his fascinating article, ‘Paris, ISIS, and the Christian responsibility to wrestle with Biblical violence’, here:

        • Islam is evil because it denies the Godhead of Christ.
          Islam is evil because it denies the atonement of the cross.
          Those two facts alone are enough to end the discussion, but in case someone would argue it might be a spiritual but not a social I could then post quote after quote after quote from the Quran promoting jihad. If you know Islam as much as you claim, you would know this so I won’t bother but instead make only one more point:
          Islam is evil because of the way they treat those who convert from Islam to another religion: (They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing. But if any turn renegade, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them.) One of the biggest challenges in sharing with a Muslim is overcoming the fear of what will happen to them should they convert to another (any) religion.

        • Oh! So Islam is “evil” because it denies key Christian beliefs about Jesus! LOL!

          By this (specious) reasoning:

          Judaism/Buddhism/Hinduism/Shintoism/Sikhism are all “evil” because they deny the Godhead of Christ.
          Judaism/Buddhism/Hinduism/Shintoism/Sikhism are all “evil” because they deny the atonement of the cross.

          Your “two facts alone” which are “enough to end the discussion” – are nothing but repellant examples of Christian supremacism and hubris.

          What is the surah and verse number of this Quranic quote and what is its context?

          ‘But if any turn renegade, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them.”

          Lastly – how do you respond to your own Christian scholars (see above) who call on you:

          ‘For Christians, I believe that condemning mass, ideologically driven, and horrific violence today means taking on the responsibility of deconstructing the violence in the Bible.’?

        • Paul, you just like to argue. Just a week ago you were on here trying to pick and chose scripture to talk about why Sodom was destroyed. Now you are here quoting “All scripture is God breathed…” to make a different point. If you are unwilling to maintain any logical consistency then I am left to assume you will simply take any stand convenient to winning your current point. I have no respect for that. Goodbye.

  2. I must say that while like you I feel for everyone who has been struck by this terrible action it cannot be blamed on Islam. I think any person of true and pure faith be it Christian, Islam,Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto or simply a decent human being would not condone this despicable action. These people may claim they act in the name of their religion but they are not representitive of people of faith, they are an organisation, they are fanatics. The Islam faith should not be tarred with this brush. Christianity too has people who commit heinous acts and try to justify it in the name of religion. This is the time we need to come together in a multi denominational way and decry this act of terroism. We need to stand together and support each other.

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  4. Mr. Williams sets up a strawman by quoting some of the worst of the Old Testament (about responding to an extremely violent and evil world of the time) and ignoring the love and forgiveness that Jesus taught in the New Testament. This is an argument that atheists pose against Christianity as if Christians are still that way. If you want to know about Christianity, start with the New Testament.

  5. kaykiser

    I am not setting up any straw men!

    It is YOUR OWN Christian scholars (see above) who call on you:

    ‘For Christians, I believe that condemning mass, ideologically driven, and horrific violence today means taking on the responsibility of deconstructing the violence in the Bible.’

    He cites violence by Jesus and the New Testament too.

    The New Testament says the following about the Old Testament:

    ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’

    2 Tim 3:16

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  7. Reading through this argument sounds like folks trying to sound impressive rather than caring that people are killing people because people are genuinely broken. The only One who has ever addressed the brokenness of man in a way to redeem him is Jesus. Thanks, BJ, for sticking to your guns. Truth is truth whether someone chooses to believe it or not.

  8. May the blessings of Messiah Jesus rest upon you, Bejai. Keep speaking the truth boldly and know that the God of Father Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has your back. Do not be worried about the truth haters like Paul Williams for we are on the ultimate winning side. As you boldly continue speaking the truth others may awaken and become emboldened to also stand and proclaim it as well.
    Again, I say, may God bless you.

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