Prayer Warriors' New Battle

As war with Iraq looms, both sides of the war debate are actively engaging supporters in praying for their favored outcome.

BY: Rebecca Phillips

 

This Sunday night, people in more than 140 countries participated in the

Global Vigil for Peace

, sponsored in part by the National Council of Churches and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They were praying for peace.



Meanwhile, citizens of Georgia finished off an official

Weekend of Prayer

, three days designated by Gov. Sonny Perdue for praying in support of President Bush and his administration.



Around the country and the world, people of faith are praying for opposite results. Since the conflict with Iraq gained steam this fall, both sides of the war debate have vigorously engaged their supporters as "prayer warriors." Their vigils, services, and even websites have forged a new prayer battle--with one side supportive of the president's policies and praying for him and his administration, the other antiwar and praying for peace.

Last weekend in Alabama, Governor Bob Riley, who stirred controversy earlier this year for holding after-hours bible study sessions in the capitol building,

urged his constituents

to act as prayer warriors in the battle against Iraq and in the battle in the U.S.

"If we are going to save this country, if we are going to re-establish that belief in God, it's up to us," Riley told attendees at the Christian Coalition's "Friends of the Family Celebration."

In his proclamation declaring March 14 through 16 the official Weekend of Prayer, Perdue declared, "We know that any battle is not won by might, but by His spirit, through His love and with His strength. May the brave men and women, whether on the front lines or back here at home, be filled with His spirit and touched by His loving hand."

Though the Georgia governor's proclamation is the most official sanctioning of prayer as a response to the impending war, many independent groups have cropped up to pray for the president and for U.S. victory in a war with Iraq. The president himself seems to have taken notice, and believes that prayer is having an effect. "One thing that's really great about our country is there are thousands of people who pray for me - who I'll never see, be able to thank," Bush said in his

March 6 press conference

about the Iraq conflict. "But it's a humbling experience to think that people I will never have met have lifted me and my family up in prayer. And for that I'm grateful. That's, it's been, it's been a comforting feeling to know that is true."

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