Recently, I was listening to a radio broadcast consisting of a conversation on the topic of the terrorist group, ISIS, and thoughts on the proper response to the threat they bring to the world. There were several response options discussed, including prayer.
Eventually, a caller to the show brought up an interesting point regarding ISIS (as well as other terrorist organizations). She said that, while we must hate what these groups do, we have to love the individual terrorists themselves as they are all God’s children along with the rest of humanity. God loves them, too.
While, intellectually, I agreed with her point, I struggled with the “love the individual terrorist” part. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to love somebody who does what terrorists do. It can be easy to let our base instincts and emotions get in the way of doing what we know to be right and true. That’s why love is a decision, not a feeling.
Then prayer came back into the conversation…
We pray to end abortion and other evil practices including terrorism.
We pray to save the life of an unborn child who is in danger of abortion.
We pray for miraculous healing.
We pray for the conversion of sinners…
Then – in an “Aha!” moment – the caller suggested that starting a movement to pray, not only for the end of terrorism, but specifically for the conversion of terrorists, might be a worthwhile endeavor. After all, the bigger the sinner, the greater the need for our prayers, and a terrorist is a very great sinner.
The idea of a large group of Christians, each one praying for a specific terrorist, presents a powerful weapon in the fight against evil. But most of us don’t actually know a specific terrorist to pray for…
This brought to mind a couple of prayers that I say every day, one for the unborn (from Archbishop Fulton Sheen), and the other for the souls in Purgatory (given by Our Lord to St. Gertrude the Great):
“Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn child that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion. Amen.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“ETERNAL FATHER, I OFFER THEE THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF THY DIVINE SON, JESUS, IN UNION WITH THE MASSES SAID THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TODAY, FOR ALL THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.” – Our Lord to St. Gertrude the Great
I thought about it and came up with a Hybrid of the two prayers, aimed toward the conversion to Christ and salvation of individual terrorists. I offer it here…
Eternal Father, I offer thee the most precious blood of thy divine son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for the conversion and salvation of the terrorist whom I now spiritually adopt who, through his or her acts of hatred and terrorism, is in danger of losing his or her immortal soul. Amen.
It wasn’t until a week or so later that it occurred to me that this same prayer could be applied to others in need of conversion. Abortionists, murderers, adulterers, thieves, pornographers, etc., all need our prayers. It is a simple matter to make a small adjustment to the prayer to accommodate the “appropriate sinner”.
And then it occurred to me that the same could be applied to specific people in our own lives – the fallen away son, daughter, brother, sister, relative or friend. Or friend or relative of a friend. Or friend of a relative.
I began including this prayer (for several conversion intentions) after my daily Rosary, trusting in God that it will be beneficial.
It has been beneficial to me in that I believe that I have found a way to love the Child of God who’s evil deeds I cannot but hate.
And who knows? Some day I may be greeted in Heaven by a terrorist who turned to Christ coming up to me and thanking me for my prayers for him…
It could happen…