The Christians In Iraq Who Are Praying For ISIS To Encounter The Love Of Jesus

As ISIS militants and Iraqi troops battled just miles away, Christians in Iraq gathered to pray for the salvation of the jihadis who have so brutally persecuted them.

Led by a team from US organisation Burn 24-7, and in conjunction with a local house of prayer in Kurdistan, displaced Christians joined believers from all over the world for 100 hours of continuous prayer and worship.

"We gathered together from all over the world. People from all over the Kurdish region and the Middle East, USA, Canada [and] Europe, signing and praying in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Hebrew, Dutch, German, and English," said Kelsie, who moved to Kurdistan with Burn 24-7 in January this year to work with people displaced by violence.

The five days of worship had been planned for months, but ended up coinciding with the beginning of the offensive to take back Mosul – ISIS' last stronghold in Iraq – that began on October 17. Iraqi troops backed up by a US-led coalition began the battle to liberate the city which was overrun by ISIS militants in June 2014, and have since recaptured dozens of surrounding towns and villages.

"With the Iraqi's launching of efforts to liberate the 2.5 year captivated city of Mosul beginning just a couple days before we started our 100 hours, we couldn't help but feel it was the timing of the Lord to seek his face. This is exactly where he wanted us," Kelsie told Christian Today.

"What a powerful time having people who are persecuted believers, forced to leave their homes and all they own because they are followers of Jesus, get on their knees and pray for ISIS, their persecutors."

Over the five days, those gathered used several prayer focuses: unity in the global church, salvation for the lost, freedom for people in physical and spiritual captivity, and "for ISIS members to encounter the love of Jesus". Teams also went out to pray for the sick in local camps for the displaced, to play with children and share the gospel.

"As we closed out, even after 100 hours of continuous night and day worship the room was packed out," Kelsie said.

"You could hardly hear anyone talk because the shouting and dancing overtook everything else! Jesus was being glorified and hope released!! What a powerful five days it was, so hard to describe all that took place but that is a little glimpse."

Kelsie earlier told Christian Today of a similar prayer gatherings that have taken place just miles away from Islamic State on the front line.

"It's one thing to pray from afar for ISIS, and another to pray here, where we're 80km from the city [Mosul] with people and believers who have lost everything. Who have fled from a people group which is blatantly wanting to destroy them, and they are still praying for their salvation and for the mercy of God: that he would show up to these militants," she said.

"That is quite powerful. Every time we pray for ISIS it's a powerful time. To see people who have lost everything as a result of ISIS, praying for them, is a beautiful thing."

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