Grace For The Journey
It seems like deadly attacks upon innocent people are becoming almost a daily occurrence. News commentary on the radio, television, and in newspapers are full of fearful reports, images and videos of these senseless attacks.
I have had many reactions as these horrific events has occurred:
(1) Anger: towards the terrorists and weak foreign policies of our nation and others;
(2) Grief: for the those who have lost their lives and for their families; and
(3) Prayer: that God’s grace would triumph in this situation and the Gospel would come to be heard and received.
We all have a myriad of reactions to this and other tragedies and toward the cowardly perpetrators. But, I wonder if we are all praying as much as we should about these horrible acts that result in so much fear, terror, and injustice? How should we pray in times like this? How should we pray for the families of those grieving; for our government leaders; and even for ISIS and who follow their mode of operation?
Let me suggest three prayers we can all pray in light of these attacks:
1) Pray for the Comfort and Peace of the Lord.
The Bible says in Psalm 3418, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
As we invoke God’s presence He promises to give us peace and comfort. His presence and power is our hope. Many are brokenhearted today. We need to ask God to draw near and bring them comfort and peace. Many of those who are hurting and crushed today can know no real comfort today, not only because of their immense temporal loss, but because they do not know Him, who is “the God of all comfort.” (1 Corinthians 1:3) Today families are grieving without hope. We can ask the Lord to draw near to them. We need to ask God to bring believers with the Gospel into their lives to speak grace, truth, love, and the hope of eternity into their hopeless and helpless hearts.
The Bible says in Lamentations 3:22-23, “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion’ says my soul, ‘Therefore, I hope in Him!’” Today, we can ask the Almighty to reveal His unending, faithful mercy, and steadfast love to those who do not know Him so He can turn their grief into eternal joy or their hatred into everlasting love.
Maybe we need to confess that we, as believers, too often react to these situations as those who have no hope.
We need to be reminded that we have . . .
The hope of the Gospel,
The power it brings to change lives and hearts,
The promise of His coming to set things right!
2) Pray for Justice.
The Bible says in Psalm 9:7-9, “But the LORD shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall just the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the people in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You. LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
In place of a call for vengeance, we are glad that vengeance belongs to the Lord alone (Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalm 94:1-3; Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30; 2 Peter 2:3).
Today, we see hurt, injustice, and terror. We want justice for those who have died and for their families who are grieving. We want justice against the wicked who maim and kill. We desire our courts to execute justice. But, our judgment and justice is often so clouded by our fear, our pain, and our sin. We need the Lord and Him alone to execute justice.
Our pray should include a desire that God brings light and love to the evil perpetrators. Some ask how long the Lord will allow the wicked to trample upon and terrorize the people? How long will they trample on His name and character?
We need to be reminded that God will not hold off His judgment forever. His justice and vengeance is coming. In the meantime, let us pray that God will raise up leaders in our nation who will have the courage to do what is right and necessary. Let us also pray that God will protect us from the enemies’ plans and efforts and be our defender. May the Lord lead us to trust that He is in control when all else is coming apart. May He help us to seek justice, but not vengeance. May we look to Him to be our stronghold today and every day.
In the midst of all the turmoil, tragedy, and legal injustice around us, let’s praise the Lord that if we are in Christ Jesus by grace through faith, we have not received justice for our sin. Jesus took our just wrath against our sin. We are living proof that God is just and that He deals fully and finally with the full weight of sin.
3) Pray for Mercy.
The Bible says in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
The world is in desperate need of God’s mercy today.
- We fear when we should trust Him.
- We despair when we should hope.
- We despise our enemies when we should pray for them.
May God grant us the desire to pray for the ISIS terrorists and for those who hate God and His people. God’s mercy made us His sons and daughters even when we were His enemies. God’s mercy took spiritually dead sinners from death to life. He can do the same for the most hard-hearted person. God can work today to save the most wicked terrorist, suicide bomber, and murderer.
His great mercy turned Saul from one who terrorized Christians and was an ardent enemy of the cross and the followers of Christ into a missionary to His enemies and an ardent peace-maker for individual souls and society.
In the midst of all that you have heard and seen happen in the last several years, how much have your prayed that God would bring ISIS leaders and their followers to the light of His love and grace? We know that one day their knees will bow before Him as Lord, either by those who have gladly accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, or by those who have to painfully admit that they rejected Him as Savior and Lord which will result in eternal separation from Him.
- Are our prayers being lifted up for them that God would make that day today?
- Are we praying that God would help us to take the Gospel of grace and mercy to the terrorists?
May God’s love, compassion, and mercy so impress on the hearts of His people to pray for all people and to desire that no one face His just wrath for all eternity in hell. May we pray that God will show His grace and mercy to the terrorist and others who are filled with hate and revenge in ways that we could never imagine. God is able. God has done it before. May our desire be like David who prayed, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, LORD, and grant us Your salvation.” (Psalm 85:6-7)
As we pray for our nation today and what we see going on in it, as well as what is happening around the world, may these three prayers be utmost on our hearts. They are the first and best things we can do for those who fear ISIS and those who have hate, revenge, and disregard for the preciousness of life. May faith rule the day and not fear.
Our hearts are moved by what is happening in the world.
May we not be overwhelmed by these events
May we overcome with good through prayer.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”