Christian leaders across Africa have been urged to urgently pray for the persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria.
Dr Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, made the call while speaking at a Pastor Leadership gathering in Kigali yesterday.
“Thousands of people are being killed for their faith in Syria and Iraq,” said Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life.
“You should pray for our brothers and sisters who are being confronted by extremist Muslim forces,” Warren added.
The mass internal displacement of Iraqi Christians, from areas under the control of Islamic militant group ISIS, has been described as a representation of an “urgent humanitarian situation.”
Warren went on to offer a prayer, asking God to relieve the pain of those persecuted in Iraq and Syria, protect their families, and use their sacrifice as a witness to those who do not know Jesus.
“Our hearts cry out for our brothers and sisters dying at this moment. We pray for those in prisons around the world right now. We thank You for their faithfulness and pray that You enable us stand strong in the face of persecution.”
“We also pray for members of churches banned in Nigeria, India and Sri Lanka.”
Warren is currently in Rwanda with leaders from more than 35 nations, including 31 African countries, Russia, China, India and the US training Rwandan pastors on the principles of being a Purpose Driven Church and The Peace Plan.
The training is in preparation for an All Africa Purpose Driven Church Continental Congress to be held between August 6 and 10, 2015 in Rwanda, which will bring together pastors and church leaders from all 54 African nations.
The Congress will coincide with Rwanda Shima Imana, a Day of thanksgiving to celebrate reconciliation and achievements.
It will be the first of five annual continent-wide conferences to take place by 2020, with the second planned to be held in Latin America in 2016.
Warren emphasised that both the leadership training this week and the Congress in 2015 will emphasise reconciliation, with Rwandan leaders sharing their stories of forgiveness and healing following the 1994 Genocide, which claimed the lives of over 1 million Rwandans over the course of 100 days.
“I believe the secret to Middle East peace is in Rwanda,” Warren said, during a press conference in Kigali on Monday.
The Purpose Driven concept Warren is teaching leaders this week is the biblical model of ministry, worship, fellowship, discipleship and evangelism.
The Peace Plan is part of the Purpose Driven model and works worldwide to Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation, through mobilising millions of Christians to combat the five global evil giants of spiritual emptiness, self-centered leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease and illiteracy/education.
The Peace Plan was birthed in 2003. Two years later, following a call from President Paul Kagame, The Peace Plan became a reality in Rwanda as the country became the first ‘Purpose Driven’ nation.