PRAYER ALERT: Police stormed a Sydney, Australia cafe where a jihadist had held at least 15 people hostage for 16 hours. They used flash grenades apparently to temporarily blind the perpetrator. Some of the Sydney hostage victims fled while others were taken out on stretchers. One received CPR at the scene. Three died, including the gunman himself.
He was identified as an Iranian Muslim, Man Haron Monis. He was known for sending hate mail to families of fallen soldiers calling them murderers. He had demanded that they call on the government to withdraw from Afghanistan. He was free on bail after being charged with being an accessory in his ex-wife’s murder a year ago..
At the Lindt Chocolate Cafe, the Sydney hostage taker could be seen pacing back and forth past four windows, carrying a pump-action shotgun. He forced hostages at intervals to stand up against the windows with their hands up. Apparently he wanted the surrounding police and media to see them. Fifteen different faces were counted. A black flag also appeared in the window. It carried the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” What was the Sydney hostage taker’s intent?
He must have meant to spread terror to as many people and centers of power as possible. The Sydney hostage crisis took place in Australia’s biggest city. The cafe is located in Martin Place, in the heart of Sydney’s financial and shopping center. Martin Place is packed with Christmas shoppers at this time of year. It is the site of the state premier’s office and the Reserve Bank of Australia. It is just north of the US Consulate.
Network Ten of Australia reported that the Sydney hostage taker demanded to speak directly to Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Sky News Australia said that he demanded live radio time. He clearly wanted a global platform. But his demands were refused. Police urged that any contact from him be relayed to them so they could negotiate.
Last September ISIS called for “lone wolf” attacks around the globe, and specifically in Australia. Australia had just ordered warplanes and special forces soldiers to join the global coalition against ISIS in Iraq. ISIS supporters were ordered to seize citizens at random off the streets. They were to cut off their heads in public. About 900 police carried out the biggest raids in Australia’s history to stop them. But the Sydney hostage crisis shows that their job is far from over.
PRAY WITH US: Father God, it is You who reveal profound and hidden things. You know what is in the darkness. Light dwells with You. We pray that You shed light on every terrorist plot before it is enacted. Expose the sin in the terrorists’ own hearts. They use the Quran to justify their attacks. Show them the deceptions and hatred in the Quran. Free them from the fear of Allah and give them the fear of God. Let grace teach their hearts to fear. Let grace their fears relieve. Give them revelations of Jesus Christ in dreams and visions. Turn their murderous rage into zeal for Jesus as You did with Paul. The terrorist networks are growing quickly. But You can more quickly undermine them with revival.
Terror has struck the hearts of many Australians. It has struck people around the world who have watched the Sydney hostage crisis unfold. They know that Australia is supposed to be one of the safest countries in the world. But show that we are only truly safe with You. Again and again in the Bible You say, “Fear not, for I am with You.” Show them that if they receive You as Lord, You will be with them to the very end of the age. And forever too. That is a promise we can hold to no matter what threats come. Comfort those grieving the dead. Heal those wounded in the raid. And show them that their is no god but Yahweh. And Jesus is His Son, Prophet, Priest and coming King. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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