People are asking me what specific things they can pray for regarding the situation in Iraq. Oh, where to begin? Here are three big ones, and I’ll try to add more later.
- When praying for our soldier’s safety, pray specifically that they will have discernment as to where they should walk. The enemy south of Baghdad has resorted to using ghastly improvised explosives not aimed at vehicles – our up-armored trucks are now very good at surviving IEDs. But when our soldiers have to dismount, that’s when they are getting hurt. A few months ago, a soldier was shot by a sniper, and when the man’s squad went after the shooter, he led them into a house that was booby-trapped. The house exploded and killed five more brave men.
The enemy is making pressure-plate detonators out of – ironically, this time of year – Christmas lights. They remove the lights and insert small pieces of plastic tubing which, when stepped on complete a circuit and detonate the explosive. These are hidden inside reeds which are very common here, and which are found lying around all over the place. Today, an EOD team was looking for improvised explosives with their robot when a man ran out of the bushes and stole the robot! But we didn’t dare go after him because of the threat of trip wires and such. Pray they get their robot back. The thing cost about $50,000. I don’t know what the thief plans to do with it. (ebay, anyone?) Unfortunately, many times little local children are the ones who find the pressure-plate explosives, the hard way.
- Also pray that the Iraqi government will be able to get to its feet and begin working for the people. Pray specifically against corruption in their government, and for the safety of their officers. Just five days ago, an Iraqi police chief named General Qais was murdered – he was very instrumental in smoothing out the sunni-shia divisions here.
- Pray that our men and women in uniform will be drawn to examine their lives in light of eternity as a result of the privations they face here. Being away from their cushy lives in the “land of the big wal-mart”, having to face their mortality on a daily basis, and being without such things as alcohol and pornography presents these troops with a perfect opportunity for asking serious questions about “why am I here” and “where will I go if I die?” Please pray that this time will be used in that way. I feel for the chaplains here, who have a very difficult job. Today I sat in a protestant service offered by the batallion chaplain, a regency grad. Of the several hundred men and women on the patrol base, only five showed up for the service. Please pray that the chaplains who minister to our troops would see the results of their labors and be encouraged.
There’s so much more to pray for. I could go on for days. But start there, and I’ll add more when I can.