A few month’s ago I read Heaven’s Prey by Janet Sketchley. She is a fellow author with Choose Now Publishing and the concept of the book intrigued me.
Should we pray for those who have harmed us?
A grieving woman is abducted by a serial killer–and it may be the answer to her prayers. Despite her husband’s objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as his next victim, Harry claims that the chance to destroy the one person who’d pray for him proves God can’t–or won’t–look after His own. Can Ruth’s faith sustain her to the end–whatever the cost? HEAVEN’S PREY received third place in Risen Books 2011 publishing contest and was short-listed for the 2008 Best New Canadian Christian Author Award.
I’ll be honest, I’m a Criminal Minds/SVU/48 Hours fan. For a time I watched ‘I Survived’ even though by the end of the program my heart would race with anxiety. Something about these programs, the mystery behind the criminal, the why’s and the how’s feed my security. I think in some strange way I learn from whether it’s the fictional or factual recreation of the crime and subconsciously make notes of what to do or not to do. At times I feel empowered because I overcame something similar or I realize how much more evil and sinister it could have been.
Reading Heaven’s Prey was the very same experience. The pace of the book is quick. Often I found my heart racing the with the same anxiety as watching an I Survived episode, infiltrating my own experience into the story and wondering ‘what if’? At other times I found myself a bit frustrated because it seemed an implausible scenario. Would this woman really be able to endure what she did and still beg for this man’s soul to be saved? Don’t get me wrong, once I was 10…well, let’s be more honest…15 years into healing and therapy I found the only way I could move forward was to find it in me to forgive and let God deal with these men’s souls. But, could I and would I be able to do this now if I were in the midst of the attack?
Here is a short post from Janet Sketchley on this very topic:
Called to Pray
I often find myself praying for those who may not have anyone else to lift them up: troubled kids at school, accident and crime victims, even the perpetrators of the pain. Innocent or guilty, deserving or not, they all need prayer.
There are some who we’d label monsters who have actually been redeemed. Take Saul – remember the way he persecuted Christians before his dramatic conversion? (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2) Or Mary Magdalene – who knows how bad her behaviour was before Jesus cast out the demons? (Luke 8:2)
Okay, but Saul’s zeal for God was just misplaced. And Mary was possessed. What about those monsters who seem to delight in evil so horrid that we can’t bear to read about what they’ve done?
One of the most shocking modern day examples for me is Jeffrey Dahmer, convicted murderer and cannibal, who accepted Christ before his own murder. Philip Yancey tells the story in his challenging book, What’s so Amazing About Grace? I know the Bible says God is not willing that any should perish, (2 Peter 3:9) but does it even include someone like that?
I don’t question God’s power to save. It’s the love that would save our monsters that boggles my mind. The more I learn of this Divine love, the more certain I become that God’s grace is ever bigger than I want it to be, and that it reaches to cover even the vilest monster who repents. But how can a person so far gone repent, without prayer warriors to breach the walls of darkness?
I leave judgment for the heavenly Judge. My job is to pray any time I feel a nudge in my spirit. When the nudge comes to pray for a monster, I choose to obey.
Care to join me?
*For those who have gone through a very traumatic experience please be forewarned of a possible trigger effect.*
Janet Sketchley’s debut novel, Heaven’s Prey, is a story of suspense and redemption. You’ll find her Christian living articles and book reviews at janetsketchley.ca, plus a true-life story in the award-winning anthology, A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Janet lives and writes in east-coast Canada.
Get the prologue for Heaven’s Prey (it’s not in the novel) – sign up for Janet’s monthly newsletter: http://bit.ly/JanetSketchleyNews
Heaven’s Prey page: http://janetsketchley.ca/books/heavens-prey/
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/author/janetsketchley