Arafat sniper now works for Jesus; Arafat prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” – converting to Christianity
Arafat sniper now works for Jesus
When Taysir Saada served as a trained assassin for Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization in the late 1960s, he admits he hated Christians.
If he found a home belonging to followers of Jesus, he would sometimes throw a grenade inside and shoot it up with bursts of machine-gun fire. He has no idea how many people were killed and wounded in such attacks.
Today a non-uniformed Saada, now known as Tass, patrols the dangerous Hamas-dominated streets of the Gaza Strip no longer hunting down Christians or bearing arms; the Palestinian-American has traded in his automatic weapons and grenades for the Bible, humanitarian service and apologies to Arab Christians he once persecuted. His transition from Islamic terrorist to Christian missionary is recounted in a new book, “Once An Arafat Man: The True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life.” Saada has returned to his roots, having been born in Gaza shortly after the 1948 war. His family had left a comfortable and prosperous life in Jaffa before the war, heeding calls from Arab leaders to clear the area for the “liberation” forces of the Arab armies who were coming to destroy the new state of Israel. Tired of the refugee life in Gaza, his family uprooted themselves again and made a new home for themselves in Saudi Arabia. The Saada family did well for itself in their new country, but the youngest child, who never knew his former homeland, grew up with a burning desire to return and fight for the Arab pride that had been stripped away by three successive defeats in 1948, 1956 and 1967. Without his family’s knowledge or consent, Saada traveled to Syria to sign up to fight for his childhood hero, Arafat. Quickly welcomed into a training camp in Jordan, Saada became a sniper and participated in the pitch battle of Karameh, outside of Jericho a battle that made headlines around the world and served as a recruiting tool for Arafat and Fatah when Israeli forces found themselves in a daylong standoff with thousands of Palestinian guerrillas. Saada’s role, which still causes him anguish, was to pick off Israeli soldiers with his sniper rifle. Thirty-four years later, just six months before Arafat died, Saada had an opportunity to evangelize his former boss, telling him about the God of love, peace and forgiveness he had come to know, comparing man’s life-giving Creator with the deadly destruction wrought in his former life. “Do you know how God created man?” he recalls asking Arafat. “Yes,” he said. “From the dust.” “That’s right,” replied Saada, Arafat’s former pupil in terrorism and his one-time chauffeur. “But do you know how?” “How?” asked the father of modern terrorism. “He got down and scooped up the earth and shaped it into the form of a man, says the Bible,” Saada explained. “Then he bowed down and breathed life into his nostrils. When I think about that, I ask myself how we could take the lives of so many men.” Saada said Arafat welcomed his old student back toward the end of his life and gave him plenty of time to talk in his bombed-out Ramallah headquarters fully knowing of his conversion to Christianity. Shortly after this visit, an Egyptian pastor and friend of Saada also had an opportunity to visit with Arafat who said the terrorist leader “prayed the sinner’s prayer” with him, converting to Christianity.
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Sinner’s Prayer – Recognizing the Need
The “Sinner’s Prayer” is a term that describes the words spoken by a person when he or she has recognized their sin and their need for a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It goes something like this:
Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Explanation of the Sinner’s Prayer:
The sinner’s prayer is a prayer a person prays to God when they understand that they are a sinner and in need of a Savior. Saying a sinner’s prayer will not accomplish anything on its own. A sinner’s prayer is only effective if it genuinely represents what a person knows, understands, and believes about their sinfulness and need for salvation. The first aspect of a sinner’s prayer is understanding that we are all sinners. Romans 3:10 proclaims, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” The Bible makes it clear that we have all sinned. We are all sinners in need of mercy and forgiveness from God (Titus 3:5-7). Because of our sin, we deserve eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). The sinner’s prayer is a plea for grace instead of judgment. It is a request for mercy instead of wrath. The second aspect of a sinner’s prayer is knowing what God has done to remedy our lost and sinful condition. God took on flesh and became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14). Jesus taught us the truth about God and lived a perfectly righteous and sinless life (John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus then died on the cross in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve (Romans 5:8). Jesus rose from the dead to prove His victory over sin, death, and hell (Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). Because of all of this, we can have our sins forgiven and be promised an eternal home in Heaven – if we will just place our faith in Jesus Christ. All we have to do is believe that He died in our place and rose from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). We can be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Ephesians 2:8 declares, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Saying the sinner’s prayer is simply a way of declaring to God that you are relying on Jesus Christ as your Savior. There are no “magical” words that result in salvation. It is only faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection that can save us. If you understand that you are a sinner and in need of salvation through Jesus Christ, here is a sinner’s prayer you can pray to God: “God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
Reference for above information: Watch an interview of Abu Saada here in video called: