August 26, 2011

24RNS: Libya Beyond Gaddafi: Prayers Voiced for Access to Jesus

Libya Beyond Gaddafi: Prayers
Voiced For Access to Jesus

BY AVA THOMAS                                                                                                            ©2011 Baptist Press

Tripoli, Libya, woke up August 22 to the imminent end of 42 years of rule by Muammar Gaddafi-–the longest-running Arab leader ever.

In Syria, meanwhile, violent clashes continue in the streets between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and his opponents.

NATO-backed rebel forces in Libya seized control of much of Tripoli on Aug. 21 after months of brutal war tactics by Gaddafi. The rebels continue to fight for the rest of the capital city.

In one part of Tripoli, a local imam sang not the call to prayer but the national anthem of the pre-Gaddafi monarchy, according to BBC News.

President Barack Obama called it a "tipping point," asserting in a statement that Tripoli is "slipping from the grasp of a tyrant." He and other world leaders are calling for Gaddafi to end his claim to power.

Christian leaders like Nik Ripken*, meanwhile, are praying for stability of a different kind in Libya.

"Often we ask people to pray that governments provide the safety and security necessary for the Gospel to spread, such as the early church had under the Roman Empire," said Ripken, who has served 25 years with the International Mission Board and is an expert on the persecuted church in Muslim contexts. "But when stability is the stability of governments that deny their people even access to Jesus, then that is the worst form of persecution."

Ripken asks believers worldwide to pray for the kind of stability in Libya where access to Jesus is a basic human right.   

To read the rest of the story, click here.