And Peter came to himself, and said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” (Acts 12:11)
What shall save us from conflicts and crisis? It is 20 days now since Qatar was plunged into bondage, as five surrounding countries abruptly cut off diplomatic relations. Reading the news, it is clear that the Middle East is not short on crisis: Syria remains engulfed by wars and the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II; Iraq faces conflict with ISIS over Mosul. In Yemen, 18.8 million are in need of aid triggered by both conflict and a naval and aerial blockade, with nearly 100,000 suffering from cholera. And now the Qatar crisis is here!
Withdrawing ambassadors and imposing trade and travel bans left the country without access to the source of almost 80% of their food supplies. Aircraft registered in Qatar cannon fly to the countries that cut diplomatic ties and vice versa. Qatar Airways had built Doha into an international hub, competing with Dubai and Abu Dhabi for long-haul travel. At some point net bookings for all airlines flying in and out of Doha for global destinations swung to minus 23,000 as a wave of cancellations hit Qatar. The airline also operates daily flights between Entebbe and Doha, making flights (now via Iran) last about two hours longer.
Reading Acts 12 paints a picture of another Middle East city in conflict. Jerusalem shed blood of innocent Apostle James, and locked up Peter in a maximum security prison for no crime. When reigning powers are strangling a helpless people, who shall deliver us from such bondage? Does Qatar presume that their oil and gas or trade savings and other international connections will deliver them? And what exactly was the church praying about in the case of the imprisoned Peter? In this homily I remind you of two points: First, there are matters that demand using human wisdom, energy, diplomacy and responsible stewardship; and we should not be lazy – all gifts and resources must be put to use to address challenges we meet – you don’t need a miracle there; God condemns laziness! But, secondly, there are also situations that require divine intervention, and only the Holy Spirit will lift that burden.
I believe our world today needs the intervention of the Holy Spirit, and prophets and prayer warriors need to stand in the gap than ever before. Is it a situation at personal or family level? Do not be assuming and proud; do not be ashamed to kneel down in surrender and confess before God your need for help. This is how Peter was delivered from prison. And in matters of regional and international peace, armies and diplomats have their have their duties, but the prayer warrior’s duty cannot be denied. There are believers affected by the crises above; and the people of God who need salvation in Jesus Christ cannot hear the gospel while the fire of guns rages on. In these matters the voice of God can be heard saying, ‘Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit’.