When I studied and wrote about Jonah the other day, the Lord jolted me with two instructions. The first was to look up the location of Jonah’s Nineveh and see if it is the same as where ISIS is murdering people today. It is. And the demons are just as viscous now as they were over 2800 years ago in Jonah’s time.
I read this in Holman’s Bible Dictionary about Nineveh in Jonah’s time: “They fought with the Israelites continually, their brutality renowned. They impaled their enemies on stakes in front of their towns, hung their heads from trees and covered city walls with the skins of their victims. And when they took prisoners they tortured them—men, women and children—by hacking off body parts, gouging out their eyes or tearing off their lips or hands.” Horrendous inhumane deeds, then and now: same evil brought about by the same demons.
Now I see why Jonah ran the other way when God told him to go to Nineveh. And that brings me to the second instruction God gave me: pray for the soldiers of ISIS. Some of them will turn. I sure wasn’t expecting that!
Right after I got both instructions I looked at the news on the computer and saw a video of an ISIS defector. It was God’s assurance to me and I know there will be more.
Jonah didn’t want God to do anything good for any of those murderers. And I wasn’t all that thrilled about praying for any of them either. But we have to remember who our God is. He “has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God.” He says, “wherefore turn yourselves, and live” (Eze 18:32). We can pray that some will turn. The defectors are doing just that.
Another scripture we can pray is Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” I pray some will see and witness firsthand the greatness of our God and change allegiance.
But some will need a heftier impetus and motivation to change. Some will need to be brought to their knees and stripped of their power before they would even think of changing. God has put scriptures in the Bible for that too.
We know that anyone committing such horrendous crimes against humanity are serving Satan, even if they don’t call it that. And Satan protects them, often pays them well, and feeds them a false sense of security.
But when we pray verses like “their bows shall be broken” (Ps 37:15), “his violent dealing shall come down upon his own head” (Ps 7:16), “let the creditor seize all that he has and let strangers plunder his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy to him” (Ps 109:6-13), “let their eyes be darkened so that they do not see; and make their loins shake continually” (Ps 69:23), “let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery” (Ps 35:4-6); and from the New Testament, let envy and strife be among them, “for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16). I pray to God that the above things run rampant among the ISIS ranks.
Praying these scriptures is powerful prayer. God’s mighty angels, who “excel in strength, do his commandments and hearken to voice of his word” (Ps 103:20) will attack the demons who are protecting ISIS and working in them. God’s wonderful mighty angels will wreak havoc and destruction upon the plans and devices of the enemy, stripping them of their demon protectors and bringing them to their knees—putting them in the best place possible for switching allegiance.
God’s will has always been to save even the vilest of men. Have we forgotten how rotten the Apostle Paul was before his conversion?
He was a murderer of Christians just like ISIS followers and soldiers. Acts 9:1 says he was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord.” He was in charge, the leader who called for many to be murdered. Paul was one of those who Jesus called “children of hell” (Matt 23:15) and one of the generation of vipers. “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt 23:33).
The Christians in the first century church were powerful in prayer. I believe Jesus taught his disciples to pray for their enemies the way David did, the way I’ve shown you in this article. Paul’s miraculous change of allegiance, I believe, is an indication of this.
His conversion was astonishing. It didn’t come about by the Christians praying nice things for him or being extra kind to him. It came about by him being struck suddenly blind, thrown down from his horse and having a volatile encounter with Jesus himself.
Once Paul turned, the Christians in the area had peace. And that’s certainly what we want for the current day areas where ISIS is working.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt 5:44). I don’t think we’ve fully understood this verse. In situations where someone is committed to doing the devil’s work, the only good we can do for is pray for confrontation just like the Apostle Paul got; or that they be stripped of their power and see that the power of our God is greater.
I believe that if some of us will take these scriptures and pray them over the ISIS soldiers, we will see more turn from their evil actions.
I will pray for defection and astounding conversion, but I don’t stop there. I also pray strongly that if they don’t turn or are not going to turn, then I pray Ps 139:19 “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God.” I pray, “Destroy their plans and send strife among their members and let them even kill each other and be killed, in Jesus name. Amen.”
Jonah went to Nineveh and they changed their ways. Jesus confronted Paul and he changed. Some of you will confront the evil in these ISIS soldiers with the scriptures I’ve shared. God bless you for that, and God help us all.
If you’d like to read more about this kind of prayer, let me know. I have an awesome resource book by Dr. Dale Sides that will thrill you and educate you in this area of intercession for God’s people.