This evening our time, President Donald Trump will meet tête-à-tête with a man whose infamy has made him an American household name: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
To say this is a historic moment would be a serious understatement. No sitting American president has ever met with a North Korean leader since the Korean War, and for good reason: The regime has been at war with its southern relative and by extension the U.S. for nearly 70 years. Last year it proved capable of building an intercontinental ballistic missile that can be armed with a nuclear warhead and reach mainland America.
If everything goes according to plan, this could become a once-in-a-generation event. What you might not know about what’s going in North Korea is that millions of Christians have been for months intentionally praying for peace.
For example, as the prospect of a summit was still barely a rumor, an astonishing diverse group of faith leaders came together to pray for peace in the Korean Peninsula. Nearly 80 pastors, ministers and Christian leaders made a commitment to pray at noon every Friday for God to intervene in this conflict.
“As American Christians with diverse approaches to force and nonviolence and yet all committed to pursuing peaceful relations among people and nations, we unite in prayer for permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said the joint statement released by the group.
“We pray for wisdom for our political, diplomatic and military leaders as they work across differences toward a goal of peace, security and freedom. We pray that God will bless the efforts of citizens who seek to bridge the vast differences between our countries.”
Not long after, on the National Day of Prayer, when millions of Americans came together in public places to cry to God for America, we also prayed for peace in North Korea. The National Day of Prayer Task Force, which I have the privilege to lead, devoted concerted multidenominational prayer for this specific issue. I have personally participated in prayer meetings with thousands of leaders focused on prayer for peace, and even attended a meeting in the White House where more than 50 of our nation’s most influential evangelicals prayed for it.
And a day before the historic June 12 summit, Christians have called for a day of prayer and fasting.
And in a serendipitous twist, on the very day President Trump and Kim Jong Un speak, the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention—America’s largest Protestant denomination—will be meeting in Dallas, Texas. That means more prayer for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Underneath the diplomatic breakthrough in North Korea there has been a growing prayer movement, asking God for a miracle in the peninsula. We pray because we know hundreds of thousands of fellow Christians have been suffering under the regime because of their faith. We pray because we believe that prayer can change things. But we also pray because we believe God calls us to be peacemakers and to seek reconciliation.
This is the kind of prayer Jesus was talking about when he told his disciples to pray “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This is an ambitious, faith-filled prayer. It’s asking God to make earth look like heaven, to make peace and justice reign in our lives and our world.
Just as the first Christians were called to pray for their world, so is the church in America called today to pray for our world. Of course, our leaders must engage these complex conflicts through diplomacy, but we must also do as our founders did when faced with questions of war and peace: we must pray. Prayer touches where words and politics cannot reach.
On June 12, the eyes of the world will be glued to TV screens watching live coverage of an unprecedented summit. But the eyes of people of faith in this country will be lifted high in the sky, calling upon God’s help. Christians will be praying to the Prince of Peace to bring peace in this intractable conflict. We might be on the brink of a miracle.
Ronnie Floyd is the senior pastor of Cross Church and president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which each year mobilizes millions of Americans to unified public prayer for the United States of America. Follow him on Twitter (@ronniefloyd), Instagram (@ronniefloyd) and Facebook.