Why Should We Pray for Jahar?

I doubt that I need to explain to anyone who contributes to this blog why we should pray for Jahar, but for the sake of those people who randomly stumble across this blog and want to understand why we’re so passionate about praying for someone who committed a disgusting act of terrorism, I feel the need to write this.

I don’t expect people to understand our feelings for Jahar, but hear me out, especially if you’re a Christian, because this mission goes to the heart of the Gospel. Despite the enormity of Jahar’s sins, we completely forgive him, we love him and care for him, we want him to be completely healed, and we want him to be in heaven one day.

But why? How can we feel this way and how can we wish so much good upon someone who has caused such pain and who has committed such evil? We feel this way for one because God has put His heart for Jahar within us, and two, because of the example and commands of Jesus.

Jesus spent a large portion of His time on earth amongst the outcasts of society, those who were considered great sinners—for example, tax collectors (who after collecting money for taxes, collected extra from people for their own use) and prostitutes. Despite knowing all of their sins, He didn’t see those people as unlovable or unredeemable; rather, He said He came to “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

His unconditional love for sinners and His great forgiveness and amazing grace are displayed even more clearly on the cross. As He was being crucified, He forgave the very people who pounded the nails in and who had caused Him to be put to death, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Those were the people that the sinless, spotless, perfect Son of God could most have chosen not to forgive; if anyone deserved God’s wrath, then surely they did. But no, Jesus forgave them.

Also at the crucifixion, we see Jesus’s forgiveness of the criminal that was hanging on a cross next to him. I’ve heard him called a thief or a murderer, but whatever his exact crime was, here was a man who had done something horrible that made him worthy of execution. Jesus had every right to condemn this man, but when the man says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42), what does Jesus say? Does He say, “Sorry dude, but you’ve hurt a lot of people and you’ve sinned against Me, so I’m not going to forgive you, and I’m certainly not going to save you. Go to hell where you belong.” No, rather He says the direct opposite: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

We see in Jesus a love that is so purely unconditional. In Romans 5:8, it says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I think we read that verse, see the word “sinners” and think, okay, Christ died for those who sinned but not too badly.  But no, the verse simply says “sinners.” It doesn’t qualify the word. And the amazing thing about God’s love is that He loved us even when we were sinners. At the time when He most should have hated us, He loved us enough to die an excruciating death on the cross.

The point here is that God loves even people who would set off bombs at a marathon. He hates sin and its consequences, but He extends His full forgiveness to everyone, regardless of what they’ve done. In fact, in 2 Peter 3:9, it says that God is “not wishing that any should perish.” That includes Jahar.

Maybe you’re thinking, okay, that’s God’s love for Jahar, but I don’t have to forgive him, and I sure don’t have to love him or pray for him. The problem with that is we see in the Bible that Jesus wants us to do the direct opposite. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)

In Luke, Jesus says something very similar: “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). We also see a similar command in Romans:

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)

Our natural inclination is to hate people who do evil things, harbor bitterness in our hearts toward them, and wish all sorts of evil upon them. That’s why we see so many people who would like to personally torture Jahar, execute him publicly in the most painful fashion, and then personally escort him to hell. But as followers of Jesus, we love, we forgive, and we pray all sorts of blessings over Jahar, especially his salvation.

We have been loved and forgiven when we didn’t deserve it, so we can love and forgive those who don’t deserve it. You can forgive much if you understand you’re forgiven.

41 Responses to Why Should We Pray for Jahar?

  1. tina martino says:

    I hope Jahar is found innocent but it seems he has already been convicted, on what grounds I do not know. A couple of questionable pictures of him at the marathon is the only thing that I have seen. The rest is what we are being told. We need to see some kind of proof Jahar was involved.

    • Bri says:

      Everything we’ve seen so far is all circumstantial, but the evidence will come out at trial. But regardless of his innocence or guilt, I am praying for him; what he did or didn’t do does not change the love God has placed in my heart for him.

  2. tina martino says:

    I am praying for him too. Seems like a great kid, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pray that he even gets a trial. They were saying he could go for life to avoid death penalty and not have a trial. Things need to be explained that make no sense in this. There needs to be a trial.

    • Bri says:

      I’d love to get answers (I personally think he’s probably guilty, but I have many questions), but ultimately I don’t want him to get the death penalty. If he can get a trial and not end up being sentenced to death, then great.

  3. Kate Evelyn says:

    Hi Bri,

    I saw your comment on my blog, and I just wanted to let you know that I & my family are still praying, and will continue to do so–it’s encouraging to know that there are others out there also praying 🙂 I would love to get to know more about this site… (I generally avoid any sort of conspiracy-theory site, and in regards to Dzhokhar also avoid the sites maintained by smitten teenagers–not to condemn them, but just saying that as Christians we should focus on God’s love, agape love, not on “he’s so cute” infatuation). But this blog seems more focused on prayer and God’s redeeming love, which is wonderful and encouraging–because prayer really does work miracles. Jesus can save anyone–He saved me, after all!–and His grace is available to all, including Dzhokhar.
    Also, have you ever seen this site? You might be interested in how it embodies Jesus’ commands to love, truly love, our enemies: https://atfp.org/adopt/terrorist/dzhokhar-tsarnaev/
    God bless,
    Kate Evelyn

    • Bri says:

      Hi Kate,

      I’m so glad to hear that you and your family are still praying. That’s wonderful. 🙂

      The people who contribute to this blog have opinions on whether he’s guilty or not, but we put that all aside on here and focus on what really matters: because whether Jahar is guilty or not, he’s still a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. And we’re definitely not “smitten teenagers” or fangirls, whatever we think about his looks. As you correctly noticed, we’re all about prayer and God’s love. We’re all about leading Jahar to Christ because God has laid him on our hearts and we know that the blood of Jesus can save him just as much as it has saved us.

      I have seen that site 🙂 A few of us from this blog are part of the 21 people who’ve “adopted” Jahar. And they put the link to the blog in the bio of Jahar, which was awesome of them.

      God bless you,
      Bri

      • Kate Evelyn says:

        Thanks for your response, Bri! I’m actually forwarding this blog on to others whom I think might be interested in joining a community of people all united in prayer! Oh, and by the way, I just wanted to clarify that I didn’t mean to sound as if I was accusing this site of being a fangirl site, etc.–I’m from Boston, so I’m just very sensitive to trying to avoid that (as in, people hear about praying for Dzhokhar and mistakenly equate it with that sort of thing). Sorry if it came across that way! 🙂

      • Bri says:

        Thank you so much for sharing the blog! The more Christians we can get united in this mission and can get to commit to pray for Jahar, the better. 🙂

        I didn’t actually think you were accusing us of being fangirls. When I typed up my comment, though, I realized that it almost seemed like I got slightly irritated sounding or something like that, which was completely unintentional. I figured you understood what we’re about because of what you said this blog seems to focus on, but I had to mention that we’re definitely not fangirls because we’ve gotten that accusation from people who want to hate on Jahar so much that they don’t bother to actually read what we’re all about.

        I’m so glad that even though you’re from Boston, you’ve decided to love Jahar and pray for him. That seems really rare, so thank you 🙂

  4. Katy says:

    I too have had a strong conviction to pray for him, since the time he was on the run and hiding in the boat. I really got this strong feeling that he was meant to be saved, I just knew it, and I still believe he will be. What gave me further confirmation was how many other brothers and sisters in Christ have also had this same prompting to pray.

    Like the anonymous poster I too had so much compassion for him and I was researching all I could to find out more. I was even trying to find out where he would be held so I could write to him.

    Jahar’s life was spared, while his brother’s was not. I believe his life was spared for a reason. It reminds me a little of the two criminals that hung on a cross next to Jesus. One believed and the other didn’t. It took that moment on the cross for the one criminal to turn to Jesus and confess his guilt as a sinner, that he was deserving of punishment for his crime… and we know that Jesus told him that he would be with Him in paradise.

    People go through awful situation and God brings about good from bad situations. He would use Jahar’s situation to convict him of his need for Jesus as savior.

    I found this site after a member on here sent me a private email on a christian site, giving me the link , asking me to continue to pray for Jahar. She didn’t realize, but her email came to me at the right time. My prayer life has been non existent for the past couple of months and my activity on the other site had been fading, so when I logged on today I received her email and I know it was God sending her my way, pushing me in the right direction. In addition to this, a friend recently died and I think I was dwelling on her death and the fact that she was not saved, that God wanted me to focus on those that are alive and lost, that need our prayers. We never know when our last breath will be or those around us, so we need to spread the word to others and pray for the salvation of others, not dwell on someone’s death, because it’s too late for them. If they died without Christ it’s too late.

    • Bri says:

      Thanks for checking out the blog! 🙂

      I am so confident that Jahar is going to be saved. I’ve gotten a glimpse of God’s pursuit of him over the past five months, and it’s just been mindblowing. Jahar survived for a reason. God placed Jahar on numerous hearts for a reason. God is working, I can guarantee that.

      Did you end up writing to Jahar yet? I have a few times, and I’ve also written Dias and Aza, who have actually replied to me.

      I’m so thankful that God was able to use me to help you out. That’s the second time He’s done that recently through Christians United For Jahar, and I’m honored to be a tool He uses to help out His children.

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend. 😦 I’ll be praying for you and for your friend’s family.

  5. bellasue says:

    Jahar did not do this crime. There is way more proof that he didn’t do it than that he did. Believe what you want because his life has been destroyed anyway so it really doesn’t matter. Maybe you should pray for those that put him in this position. And I am not a fan girl, I am someone that has studied the facts.

    • Bri says:

      I’ve looked into it too, and at one point I was leaning toward him being innocent, but now I’m not. Some people on here still hold that position. But as Christians, we believe that what matters most isn’t his guilt or innocence but that he doesn’t know Jesus. That’s what we focus on on this blog. If he really was framed, then yes, the people who framed him need prayer badly because that’s downright evil. We’re going to focus on praying for Jahar whether he’s guilty or innocent, though.

  6. Catt says:

    Please sign this petition to lift the restrictions placed on Jahar so that he may see his family more often and he may receive a fair trial. God Bless You. We believe in the concept of Innocent Until Proven Guilty!
    http://www.change.org/petitions/eric-h-holder-u-s-attorney-general-release-special-administrative-measures-on-dzhokhar-tsarnaev-immediately

  7. Ada says:

    Just wanted to check in, etc. I’m going to do research, but tell me more about praying. Does the Bible really say that what two Christians ask for in earnest (if it is for THE GREATER GOOD) will be Answered? I read this in a little kids’ book, I remember reading some verses on prayer, but I only really truly know that it comforts me and GOD Hears me and has Answered my prayer(s) before.
    In Christ,
    Ada

  8. Ada says:

    Okay, well, maybe I should rephrase that…what does GOD say about answering prayer?

  9. Ada says:

    Thank you. Congrats, and God be with you Sister!

  10. brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

    Ummmm this should have been a whole entry and not just a comment! What a beautiful prayer. I can’t stop reading it!

    Randomly, I just sent Bri “Hope in Front of Me” the other day. I haven’t heard the other song but will check it out.

  11. Ada says:

    “Not my will, but Your will be done regarding his future and his fate in this case.” How very fitting that is! It’s like God is saying (in reverse-perspective) “Calm down and trust me. I know better than you.” And thank Him that He does know better! ❤

    • Bri says:

      We can think we know what’s best for Jahar—for example, him getting a life sentence instead of the death penalty—but ultimately we don’t know what he needs. God does, though.

  12. Ada says:

    “…the attack is on today.” So are you ordering “extra” prayer? 😀 😦

    • Bri says:

      But that’s why you should want extra prayer. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

  13. Ada says:

    😦 *virtual hug*

  14. Bri says:

    Beautiful prayer. I love how it’s derived from Scripture.

    I don’t know why but this part stuck out to me: “If Jahar enters heaven before we who love him on earth are ready to let him go, weeping may endure for a night, as we experience the sorrow already felt by the victims of the bombing and their loved ones, but joy will come in the morning.” I guess we need to trust that if Jahar is sentenced to death, God will save him in time and because of that, there is reason to rejoice. After all, our brother would only be going home and set free.

  15. Ada says:

    Always, Sister, always no problem.

  16. Ada says:

    “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15)

  17. Ada says:

    I understand that (I’ve been helped while part of this prayer army, too!). It just makes so much sense, though…

  18. Ada says:

    Hey, would a sparrow fall to the ground and God not care? Your sorrows and joys are always of importance to us, no matter who else is around!

  19. Bri says:

    I used to be very selfish in prayer prior to praying for Jahar, with my prayers almost exclusively pretty much amounting to me complaining about my life. Now I hardly pray for myself, which isn’t necessarily good either. Just because his problems are arguably far greater than anything we face (after all, we have eternal life and at this moment he doesn’t…) doesn’t mean our problems aren’t worth prayer. Never be afraid to ask for prayer. We should lift up our brothers and sisters in prayer.

  20. Ada says:

    That’s what happens when people love each other as Christ loves us! Isn’t it amazing 😀
    And yes, the enemy is panicking *thunder*

  21. Bri says:

    There are definitely days when I feel like God is doing something special right at that moment in Jahar’s heart.

  22. Ada says:

    Yeah, and I used to hate the computer…
    *now opening three Outlook accounts otherwise shut off an hour a day*
    *now checking her two blogs*
    *replying in real-time*
    *complaining about the stupid computer*

  23. Ada says:

    It is nearly impossible sometimes to not day-dream (or night-dream…which would explain why I am now, literally, a border-line insomniac) about the moment Jahar comes to salvation. I mean, who wouldn’t want to witness such a thing?

    • Bri says:

      I pretty much daydream about that every day. It’s a beautiful picture to imagine.

      • brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

        Same. It’s my favorite thing to think about – or maybe tied with worshipping Jesus alongside him one day. If you get me started talking about it, I can’t stop. 🙂

  24. Sthe says:

    Hi, may I ask a question by private email? I just curious…

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