- (Photo: REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny)
As more photos and video footage emerges of the death of ex-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, one Christian mission agency has said that it wants to see a “massive” movement of prayer for Libya.
Many churches will be praying for Libya during their Sunday services as the country contemplates a new democratic future without the former dictator.
With the National Transitional Council focused on the end of NATO’s mission and the drafting of a new constitution, David Innes of Arab World Ministries says there is a real need for sacrificial prayer.
“We would like to see a massive movement of prayer among Christians,” he said.
“God is moving and we can partner with God in prayer. We can look on with interest and with comment, but even better than that is to pray and seek God and ask that His Kingdom come and His will be done in Libya.”
Christians in Libya are asking the Church to pray for them during this period of transition.
Innes asked that Christians pray for the kind of government that would be right for Libya and “best for the Kingdom.”
Whilst it is hoped that the new constitution and government will safeguard religious freedom, Innes said it was important to pray that the Church in Libya remains strong regardless of its political future.
“We spend so much time debating and talking and wondering what kind of government will emerge there, but our words would be better directed towards Heaven, praying for the right kind of government and that our brothers and sisters would be strong no matter happens.”
Estimates as to the number of Christians in Libya vary from a few thousand to 150,000. The minority Christian community consists largely of foreigners who came to the country to work, although some media agencies report an exodus of Christians during the last nine months of conflict.
Innes said that although Islamist groups had strengthened in other Arabic nations during the Arab Spring, AWM is hopeful for the future of the Church in Libya.
He spoke of an “opening up” in the interim period and said that 6,000 Christians had responded to an article about Libya on their Facebook page, with around 180 getting in touch with AWM directly to enquire further about the Christian faith.
“When you open that door it’s hard to shut it,” he said. “We’ve even had testimonies of some who have come to faith in Libya during this time so already we’ve seen growth and we are really praying that no matter what happens politically, the church will be strengthened and be bold, and that this door that’s been opened will bear fruit.”
Innes added that even if the new constitution and government are good to Christians, the need to pray for Libyan believers is ongoing as they continue to live and grow in a majority-Muslim country.
“For the people who have come to faith, there is still the concern of ‘Can I share this with my family?’ ‘Can I share this with the people in my community?’ That’s not going to change no matter what kind of government we get,” Innes said.
He added: “There’s still that concern because a lot of pressure on believers in the Arab world comes from their families and not necessarily from the government.”