JERUSALEM, Israel – The Bible calls us to do some tough things in life such as love our enemies. But what will help us do that? One author says praying for them and she’s taken on a pretty tough case.
Her book is called Love in the Face of ISIS – a book covering seven prayer strategies for crisis in the Middle East.
Author Lorraine Marie Varela and her husband, Gabriel, lead a ministry called “Inspiring Faith International.”
“God gave me the title Love in the Face of ISIS,” Varela told CBN News. “In 1 John it says God is love and so if you substitute God in the face of ISIS, there comes this whole other powerful meaning. But we know that God’s heart is for all to be saved. He just doesn’t wish for any to perish.”
Varela in Aswan, Egypt with a Muslim street vendor.
She says her book is about carrying God’s heart into conflict.
“Jesus spoke about loving your enemies. What does that look like?” she asked.
“It’s easy for us to say that when we’re sitting in the West from our comfortable homes and churches to love our enemies. But when we’re confronted with such a violent group, it really changes the dynamics of how we need to respond,” she said.
Varela adds that the first response must be prayer.
“I had a vision of being seated (in) heaven looking at the earth from God’s perspective and I knew that that was a prayer directive,” she said. “When we pray, we realign our thoughts and our attitudes, our perspective, our eyesight, our vision with what He’s saying and doing and then we change and then we come into alignment to release His strategies and directives over our situation.”
Hands of persecuted Christian in northeast Syria
In her book, she lays out the strategies.
“The Lord showed me that through His covenant names we can release strategy. He’s the Lord who is there, first of all. So, we want to cover that whole area with His presence.
“He is the Lord our provider. There’s a need for provision there’s uprisings taking place once more and so as a result, people are being displaced and women are becoming widowed and there’s a real need for physical sustenance and help.
“So there were seven different covenant names of God that He led me through to release His love over the situation over people,” she added.
Those names include the presence, the armies, and protection of God as well as perseverance for the people of God and provision, healing and peace of God.
“What I love about the book is that one, it awakens peoples’ hearts for the situation in the Middle East, but two, it awakens their hearts to what God’s purpose is over them and their families and their own life situations,” Varela said.
“So all of those covenanted names of God, they’re applicable, no matter where you live and what your situation is,” she said.
Varela sees it as a boomerang effect.
“When we pray for the needs of others, God brings that blessing back to us. And so, if I want to pray for His presence to be very real in the Middle East, and I’m dedicating my time to doing that, He’s then bringing His presence back on my home and my family,” she said.
Iraqi Christians Varela met in Amman, Jordan in July 2015, just a few months after they fled from ISIS in Iraq.
A film version of the book based on real-life stories is also in development. It will focus on the struggle of two Iraqi brothers torn from their family who fall into a gang-controlled by ISIS.
“The purpose of the film is to bring encounters for Muslim people with the heart of Jesus. And that can happen in a movie theater. That can happen in your home watching a DVD, but it’s to bring encounters in His presence to be real. And for believers to have an awakening of the need to be praying for our brothers and sisters and those in the Middle East and just to have a heart change.”