Christians have been urged to pray that President Bush does not rush into a war with Iraq, with prophetic ministry leaders warning of "dire consequences" if military action is taken too soon.
The appeal is being circulated by The Elijah List, an Internet mailing of prophecy-related reports to pastors, intercessors and individuals that has drawn together statements made by several leading figures in the prophetic movement in the last few months.
They are warning of "disastrous results if we go into Iraq right now, or too soon," said Elijah List publisher Steve Schultz. He said "crisis prayer" is needed, and that God will give President Bush wisdom and patience in his decisions." The president is "a man that has proven he will listen to godly counsel," Schultz told subscribers. "Pray that this will be one of those times he will closely listen."
Schultz passed on a transcript of comments by Paul Cain -- a traveling prophetic minister associated with Mike Bickle's Kansas City Fellowship in the early 1990s -- when he spoke at a church in Oregon last weekend. Cain said he had visited Iraq "to see the gentleman that our President doesn't call a gentleman."
According to the Elijah List report, Cain went on: "He is a very interesting man, and I want you to start praying that we won't start cowboy and Indians here and get some negotiations going. We need to try some diplomacy here before we do anything else."
The Elijah List also circulated comments by Graham Cooke, whose ministry is based in the United Kingdom, from a conference in Frederick, Md., earlier in the year. There Cooke told delegates that while Saddam Hussein had no faith and was a secular politician, "one thing he has done in his country - he has allowed Christians to proselytize."
Cooke said: "We need to pray for Saddam Hussein right now. No matter what you think about it, this guy is the only one standing between the church in Iran and Iraq and a bloodbath...We need that guy alive because thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people are getting saved in the country. There is a move of God there."
Among the other statements the Elijah List also referenced was one in March by ministry partners Bob Jones and Paul Keith Davis, which said that many prophetic leaders were receiving "clear warnings about our nation's involvement in Iraq."
They added: "We must intervene through prayer and ask the Lord to cause the hearts of our nation's leaders to wisely handle this critical decision. There are certain boundaries that the Lord has set which we cannot cross in our pursuit of terrorism."
Meanwhile, the Presidential Prayer Team, founded in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has urged its members to "pray for great wisdom for all those who will be involved in deciding whether military action is needed."