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Southern Seminary prays world will look to Christ amid war
March 20, 2003
By Jeff Robinson

Dr. Daniel Block, professor of Old Testament, prays for the war in Iraq.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) Even as war heats up in Iraq, Christians must continue to look to Christ and pray that God will bring eternal peace to the hearts of the Iraqi people, a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said this morning.

During Southern Seminary's regular Thursday chapel service, professors and students held a special time of prayer for America's war with Iraq which began Wednesday night.

Herschael York, professor of Christian preaching, said believers should continue to focus on the gospel as the only force that will ultimately liberate the Iraqi people and recreate their nation by giving them new hearts. He prayed that the outbreak of war would also lead to revival of the faith among American soldiers and citizens alike.

"As God's people, we are aware that apart from Him we can do nothing," York said in the opening prayer. "We realize that only the Lord is our comfort. All war is an admission of our depravity. I pray that this might cause us to yearn and to long for the return of Jesus Christ. Make us truly, one nation under God.

"I pray that this might even be the beginning of a time of national revival. We have seen the images from the desert of American soldiers turning to Christ and being baptized in makeshift baptisteries there on the sands, we are reminded that salvation is from the Lord."

Jim Orrick, professor of literature and culture at Boyce College, Southern's undergraduate program, prayed that God would help Christians to realize that no nation is saved by its multitude of weapons but through Christ alone.

"A horse or a tank or a bomb is a vain hope," Orrick said. "We know that your all-seeing eye is upon those who fear you so our hope is in you. Our soul waits for the Lord and (He is) our strength and shield."

Don Cox, professor of evangelism and church growth, prayed for the soldiers and President George W. Bush and reminded those gathered that God is the ultimate sovereign power.

"In this great time of uncertainty, there are two things we do know: (God's) unlimited power and (His) immeasurable love," Cox said. "We pray that our soldiers would make their call and election sure and that they war might end quickly with a minimum number of casualties. We pray for President Bush not only as our leader but also as our brother."

Kathryn Webb, associate professor of leadership and church ministry prayed that God would comfort the families and friends of soldiers fighting in Iraq. She also prayed that Christians would project a dynamic witness before a world torn by the war.

"We are here for such a time as this," she prayed. "I pray that we might be enabled to love those who may be called our enemies."

Dr. Daniel Block, professor of Old Testament, prayed that Christians would have a deep love for the Iraqi people even though the country may be seen as America's enemies in the war. He also prayed for peace in the world and for eternal peace in the hearts of all lost men through Christ.

"We pray that love would triumph over hate, that compassion would triumph over ambivalence," Block said. "We long for the day that swords would be beaten into ploughshares, that missiles would be beaten into tractors, when nation will not take up sword against nation and never again will have to learn war."

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