They Fasted and Prayed One Week

"If we don't leave with our families soon, I'm not sure we will ever get out alive."* A group of ten Christian leaders had met in a basement, silently at 2:00 a.m. There was utter chaos in Syria with terrorist gangs and armies competing for control of the Arab world. Christians knew they were targets. Their spokesman, Farid, stood and addressed them in a voice slightly above a whisper. 

"I have to wonder if this is really the place to raise our children. We must pray for God's direction." Farid reminded them of Hezekiah who, when threatened by the Assyrian king, sought the Lord's guidance.

Farid told them they must do the same. "Starting tonight, for the next seven days, let's each lay out this question before the Lord. Do we stay in Syria or go? For one week, let us cease all activities except the greatest one of all--prayer." They should leave quickly if God directed them to go, but if not, they were to meet back at the same place in one week. Each one would do as God directed. 

"Whether we go or stay, we take Jesus' message of love and forgiveness with us." The men nodded in agreement.

Seven days later, chaos still reigned. Gun battles had destroyed Farid's earlier route to the location, so he arrived 30 minutes late to the follow-up meeting. He wondered if anyone would be in the room having decided as he had--that he would face martyrdom alone if it came to that.

When the door swung open, Farid's jaw dropped. Twenty-five men, seated on the floor, looked up at him. The ten leaders from last week's meeting had returned--along with 15 new disciples. Each leader told how God had led him to stay. Some of the new disciples testified.

The men agreed to pool their funds and buy a plot of land, preparing for what would certainly  come. It would be the graveyard in which they would bury each other.

Farid later wrote, "As of this writing, none of us have died yet. We rejoice by greeting one another with the words, 'The graveyard is still empty!' We all know it will not stay empty, but meanwhile, we're grateful.

"Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).

Thank You, Jesus, for those who are faithfully denying themselves and finding that as the hymnist wrote, 'The cross is not greater than His grace.'"

*Tom Doyle tells this account in his book Killing Christians.