Last week I was in Bosnia with a small XMA team prayerwalking in and around the city of Sarajevo. Sarajevo is known for two incidents in the recent past. In 1984 the city proudly hosted the Winter Olympics. A decade later, in 1992-95, the Olympic playground was the epicenter of a horrendous genocide attempt. The Serbian army encircled the city with troops, tanks, artillery and snipers. During this four year long siege they killed over 12,000 men, women and children and wounded another 50,000. Stan, one of our host missionaries, brought the magnitude of this conflict into perspective with a statement he made shortly after we arrived, “Everyone you see in Sarajevo lost at least one family member in the war!”
On the first day of our prayerwalk I climbed high above the city to one of the many peaks overlooking the city. As I looked down on all the mosques in the city below I recalled the time Jesus prayed for Jerusalem as he looked down on it, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” These familiar phrases became my prayer for the Muslim people of Sarajevo.