Operation Desert Storm, the military name for the Persian Gulf Conflict of 1991, has yielded some unforeseen results. Many of America’s young men and women accepted Jesus Christ during the war. Our generation has yet to see the full results of their spiritual transformation.
On the night of January 16, 1991, the night before the start of the Persian Gulf Conflict, I was attending a church prayer meeting called specifically about the Gulf Crisis. Having some knowledge of military tactics and strategy, I hadwondered why our government was sending thousands of reserve troops into combat.
During the prayer service, God revealed to me that He had had a hand in sending in the reserve troops because there were very many believers in the reserves. These soldiers were being sent into a situation where the surrounding Muslim countries were completely closed to the Gospel. Now these nations were forced into a situation in which many Christians had come into their societies.
The Gospel was spread through our reserve soldiers to the armies of participating nations, and through those troops to the people of their homelands. This was also the door through which the Gospel went to the Muslim peoples of the world. God used the conflict to start to liberate these countries through the power of His Spirit.
Shortly after that, I had an assurance fromGod that he would also protect our troops from unnecessary destruction during the impending conflict. He reminded me of 2 Kings 6:16: “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
In this passage of scripture, the city where Elisha and his servant are staying is surrounded by an Aramean army sent there to capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant woke up the next day to go out, he saw that they were surrounded by this enemy army. In his distress, he cried out to Elisha. This is when Elisha told him not to worry, that there were more with them than there were with the enemy.
Then Elisha prayed to God: “Oh Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” When Elisha’s servant looked again he “saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” This was an angelic army of the Lord surrounding the enemy forces, and protecting Elisha. After that revelation, Elisha went on to win the war.
The evidence accumulated during the Persian Gulf Conflict fully supports the assurance given to many praying believers before the war even started. God’s purpose – to “make disciples of all nations” – was brought a little closer to fruition, even in nations that are completely closed to Christian missionaries.
Another evidence of the power of God was the great number of soldiers who became Christians during the conflict. Media reports of troops praying, attending Bible studies and church services abounded. There were even reports of miracles which took place during the action.
In contrast to the tens of thousands of predicted casualties, there were only a few hundred Americans who died and even fewer injuries. The mighty hand of God was at work during the war, no doubt due to the prayers offered for the protection of our troops and for the promotion of the Gospel in that area of the world.
Although war is a horrible thing, God had a purpose which he accomplished through Desert Storm; and those who prayed for our troops were partners in the effectiveness of His purpose.
Onward Christian Pacifists?
A quote concerning the recent Gulf War:
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” SOMEONE once said. Who are these peacemakers? They are not, as some might suppose, banner waving marchers and protesters. These only cause disunity, disloyalty, disruption and dispeace. The real peacemakers are our gallant troops and equally gallant Allies fighting to rid the world of evil in the Gulf. Peace comes after victory, victory comes after a battle.
- Rev. Canon Malcolm Widdecombe
Vicar, St. Philip & St. Jacob Anglican Church
A quote concerning spiritual warfare:
The prayers of holy men appease God’s wrath, drive away temptations, resist and overcome the devil, procure the ministry and service of angels, rescind the decrees of God. Prayer cures sickness and obtains pardon; it arrests the sun in its course and stays the wheels in the chariot of the moon; it rules over all the gods and opens and shuts the storehouses of rain, it unlocks the cabinet of the womb and quenches the violence of fire; it stops the mouths of lions and reconciles our suffering and weak faculties with the violence of torment and violence of persecution; it pleases God and supplies all our need.
- Jeremy Taylor
Purpose in Prayer