It happened again.
Another terrorist attack occurred over the weekend, leaving France reeling and the rest of the world grieving.
The hashtag #prayforparis has been showing up everywhere, and while that’s a good thing (assuming our prayers are directed to the LORD God of the Bible), I can’t help but wonder what people are praying for.
I have found that in my shock and devastation, it’s easy to stick close to the surface.
“God, help them!”
“God, comfort the grieving!”
“God, let justice be served!”
“God, please destroy ISIS!”
I want to be clear that there’s nothing wrong with these prayers. These are the kind of raw, unfiltered prayers that our God delights in hearing, as we run to Him in our grief and our sorrow.
But I also wonder whether you feel – as I do – a longing to go deeper in prayer with our Savior over this tragedy that surely breaks His heart even as it does ours.
How does He want us to pray?
What does He want for Paris? For our world?
How does He want His children to respond?
As much as I need to pour out my heart to Him, oh, how I also long to get to the center of His heart.
And so I’ve searched the Scriptures for what He has to say about warfare.
And His big-picture-plan for the world, and ultimately, for His kingdom.
I’d love for you to hit your knees right alongside me, praying the Scriptures on behalf of the whole, wide, desperately needy world.
Prayers for Times of Terror
Thank God for telling us the truth about warfare, and acknowledge to Him that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Ask the Lord to give you His perspective for those committing evil acts, as ones who are pawns in the hand of God’s true enemy and yours, Satan himself.
Praise the Lord that He is delaying His return for a reason that is good and, in fact, perfect: His patience is a result of His desire that none should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Pray that many would come to Christ through repentance, both the terrorists and the terrorized.
Pray for government officials in the wake of terrorist attacks, that they would make decisions that allow Christians to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. Confess to God that this is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:1-5).
Lift to the Lord your brothers and sisters in Christ who are geographically close to the terrorist attacks. Pray that God would open up to them a door for the Word, so that they may share the gospel of Christ (Colossians 4:3).
Revel in the truth that everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith, which is the victory that has overcome the world (I John 5:4).
Pray for yourself, and for all Christ-followers across the globe – that you will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday, because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is your refuge (Psalm 91:5-9).
Thank Jesus for telling us ahead of time that we will have tribulation in the world. Praise Him for the peace that comes from knowing that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Ask God to keep this hope fresh in your heart, and that you would have opportunities to encourage other believers with these words.
Praise Jesus for being your source of peace with God and with man. Acknowledge that He is the One who breaks down the dividing wall of hostility between people groups, that He might create in Himself one united family of God, so making peace, and might reconcile us all to God in one Body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility (Ephesians 2:14-16). Ask that He would bring this peace to pass in the world – a true peace founded on faith in Jesus Christ – not by force, but by His Spirit bringing about revival and awakening.
Repeat back to God the truth that there is no other God besides Him, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Him. Pray that all the ends of the earth would turn to Him and be saved, for He is God and there is no other (Isaiah 45:21-22). Pray that He would help you grab hold of His Kingdom perspective, and to view the world events in context of His plan.
Pray that all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and that all the families of the nations will worship before Him. For the kingdom is the LORD’S and He rules over the nations (Psalm 22:27-28). Pray that across the globe, people would turn to Him for salvation, giving Him the glory He is due.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for assuring us that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17b). You are always and forever in control, and while You aren’t causing acts of terrorism, You are allowing them. And so I trust You, Lord. I trust that this pain will not be wasted. Because in Your economy, loss means gain and humility brings exaltation and devastation precedes restoration. Thank You for mourning with us in our pain, even as You look ahead to the victory You know is coming. Please help me to keep the big picture of Your plan for the world ever at the forefront of my mind.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
tell of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
It’s in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.