How would you pray if…

In light of the news that Eric Holder decided to pursue the death penalty in Jahar’s case, God placed something upon my heart that I would like to share as a challenge to all of us.

Now I realize that it is still quite possible (and I’d even argue probable) that Jahar will avoid the death penalty.  After all, he has as one of his lawyers Judy Clarke, who worked out plea deals to spare the lives of Eric Rudolph (the Olympic bomber), Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), and Jared Loughner (the Tuscon shooter). And even if this case were to actually go to trial, a jury would have to vote unanimously to impose the death penalty. If even one juror opposed a death sentence, the sentence would be life instead.  That’s what happened in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui (one of the 9/11 conspirators), who Judy Clarke also represented. In other words, she is known for being able to spare the lives of those who committed heinous crimes.

But let’s say for an instance that Jahar would end up being sentenced to death. And let’s say further that his execution were a week away from today. My question to you is this: How would you pray if you knew Jahar’s execution were a week away?

Would you pray far more often and far longer than you are currently doing? Would you pray with far more urgency and desperation?

I challenge all of us to not take that question lightly. Let us ask ourselves that question and then, in light of our answers to it, change the way we pray for Jahar. After all, death penalty or not, he is not guaranteed tomorrow.

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4 Responses to How would you pray if…

  1. Bri says:

    And I must thank you again for reading the blog and providing such wonderful thoughts in the comment sections. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that seeing a new comment from you makes my day.

    Wow, that story about the puppy is so incredibly powerful. What happened to that puppy represents what I think will happen to Jahar. Let’s say he ends up sentenced to death, but he comes to Christ before his execution. Well, they can put him to death, but they can’t truly take away his life because he will live forever in Christ. Or let’s say he receives a life sentence and ends up spending all of it in solitary. I’ve heard such a circumstance referred to as a living death. They can in some sense “kill” him, but if he’s in Christ, he’ll find life in Christ while here on earth and he’ll have eternal life to look forward to after that. Just like how they couldn’t take away the life of the puppy even though they tried, they won’t be able to take away the life that Jahar has in Jesus because no one can take that away no matter what.

    I still can’t go a day without thanking God that Jahar survived what all happened on April 18 and 19. He’s here for a reason—a beautiful reason. I truly believe God spared Jahar’s earthly life so that He could spare it for eternity.

    I imagine that it could be especially hard for Jahar to want to live some days because of his beliefs. In Islam, the only thing that guarantees your entrance into Jannah (Islamic term for heaven basically) is taking part in holy war. Not even following the Five Pillars of Islam (declaration of faith in Allah and his prophet Muhammad, prayer five times a day, fasting during Ramadan, alms-giving, and the pilgrimage to Mecca) guarantees Jannah. So he could very well feel confident that death would be a much-welcomed escape from the hellish circumstances he currently faces. I pray frequently that Jahar would find the will to live, but I should do that even more often, especially in light of the death penalty officially being on the table.

  2. Tashie W says:

    This post really makes me think. I never prayed a normal prayer for people who have killed others. I mostly say the routine “Lord, have mercy.” I never said more words than that. I think it teaches us how to love & love on a level like Jesus. Paul was a killer and God still used him. I think we often forget that.

    • Bri says:

      Prior to God calling me to pray for Jahar, I had never really prayed much of anything for murderers. I know I prayed for James Holmes once or twice, but that’s about it. God has totally changed my heart and has taught me to love more like He does. Now in addition to praying for Jahar, I’m also praying for death row inmates. I actually just got a letter back from one of them, and he’s happens to be our brother in Christ. God can change even the filthiest of sinners. As you mentioned, Paul is a good example of that.

      1 Timothy 1:12-17 is Paul writing about how God saved him despite his awful sins and used him, but it also serves as a passage that encapsulates my dream for Jahar.

    • Bri says:

      “The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'”
      – J. Husdon Taylor

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