Like you, I have experienced a wide range of emotions of shock, profound sadness, and a surge of anger this past weekend as we watch the people of Paris mourn and the terrorists of ISIS celebrate. Colonel Kim Poole, retired from the front lines of Iraq, told our SLU 201 students that “The first line of defense against any enemy is a bended knee and a resolute heart.” Whether the enemy is against a nation or against your own spirit, this is great advice. But Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio took that a step further when he said, “If you see something, say something,” indicating this is the greatest contribution to a line of defense that the average person can give.

All of us have “seen something,” but fewer of us are speaking up. If ever a heavy responsibility has fallen to those of us training this generation to rise up as leaders and influencers for good, it is now. I have always known the importance of teaching a sure, biblical worldview, but more than ever I see that this line of defense may be the most important of all.

Students who know the truth, who have been equipped and called to lead in the name of Jesus, may be our greatest soldiers in this battle as they walk the halls of our schools and universities with purpose and confidence in the One True God they call their own.

I do not hesitate to ask that you pray for the staff of Student Leadership University as we plan our programs in 2016. What we are doing in this country and around the world will become an important part of history as our graduates rise up and become focused, purposed leaders in the world. Pray earnestly for the Christian missionaries in danger around the world and for the persecuted church suffering in ways we cannot fathom, facing not only certain death but also torture. I wear the Open Doors bracelet almost 24/7 as a reminder of what my brothers and sisters in the world are facing. Just a touch of the rubber “barbed wire” is enough to remind me to pray, to give, and to do my part in solidarity.

If we harness the force of shock, anger, and even our fears, and focus these emotions into a partnership with the ministry of Open Doors in prayer, in giving, and in action, each of us can be a part of a powerful movement that is bringing down strongholds of spiritual forces and infusing comfort to grieving Christians. Start at the Open Doors Take Action website and see just how impactful your prayers, gifts, and talents can be both in the United States and around the world.

Jesus urged us to do good to those who hate you in Luke 6:27, and I can think of nothing more pure and powerful than to pray for hearts to be turned. It has happened before in history, and it can happen again. Let’s go to the mat, on our knees, and recommit ourselves to raising up this student generation to have the heart of patriot, the soul of a saint, and the fitness of a gladiator. It is then they will have the influence of a servant leader and turn this tragedy into triumph.

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