Does it feel like your home is a war zone? Or maybe there’s a deep silence. Many families around the world face problems that seem impossible to overcome. If there is any place the enemy prefers to attack, it’s the family.
Situations don’t always turn out the way you like. Accept this and seek how you can change to make things better. If you’re full of the Spirit, you’ll transmit the goodness of God to all those around you. Your suffering has a purpose. It may be mysterious and invisible to the world — but when your heart rests firmly in Jesus, he reveals his glory to you.
No matter how dark things seem, try to keep a long term perspective. Don’t predict doom and failure. Instead, lift your eyes up to heaven and regain hope. Believe in the prophecy of Christ resurrected.
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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
For help in difficult times…
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bless our nation
and make it true
to the ideas of freedom and justice
and brotherhood for all who make it great.
Guard us from war,
from fire and wind,
from compromise, fear, confusion.
Be close to our president and our statesmen;
give them vision and courage,
as they ponder decisions affecting peace
and the future of the world.
Make me more deeply aware of my heritage;
realizing not only my rights
but also my duties
and responsibilities as a citizen.
Make this great land
and all its people
know clearly Your will,
that they may fulfill
the destiny ordained for us
of the nations,
and the restoring of all things in Christ.
If there’s one thing I know for sure right now, it’s that the world wasn’t meant to be like this.
Nice, France. Orlando. Dallas. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. These names, and too many others like them, are my nation’s newest synonyms for tragedy. For the friends and family of those who have died, they represent moments of agony that can never be unwritten. For those whose race or sexuality or occupation has given them reason to fear the same kind of violence, they are threats, reminders that catastrophe is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
Even for me, though these names are little more than headlines to weep over and shake my fist at, they still leave me reeling. They make me wonder how much longer the world as I know it can possibly survive. They make me wonder what I can do, how I should respond, if I too am complicit in this violence.
But you, God, know these names better than all of us. They’re not just names to you. You’ve studied every detail of every life damaged or lost in these tragedies. You’ve numbered the hairs on every head, gathered every tear. The people I’ve only ever known as victims, you’ve known all along as reflections of your own image.
You know far better than I that the world wasn’t made for hatred and pain. You’re the one who knew our human race from the very beginning, the one who breathed life into our dust and called us very good. You know just how beautiful we were intended to be.
So if my heart is breaking right now, surely your heart must be breaking too.
I pray to you not as someone distant and aloof, but as someone near to me, near to us, even in the midst of chaos. I don’t have to shout to get your attention. You are close enough to hear my broken whispers. No matter how strong or weak I feel, no matter how much or how little
I can muster, I’ll start by whispering this:
Give us peace.
You are the sovereign ruler, the mover of mountains, the victor of impossible victories. You are Lord over earthquakes and tsunamis, over nations in turmoil and terrorist plots, over starving children and fleeing refugees and prisoners tortured for their faith. You speckled the sky with stars and set the earth spinning like a top. You own everything, control everything. Your hand allows each mind to think and teaches each heart to beat. There is nothing you can’t do. So I pray, even though it seems impossible:
Give us peace.
Bring an end to violence and hatred and discord. Steady the feet that rush into war and the finger poised on the trigger. Bring justice to the downtrodden, restoration to the marginalized and abused, hope to the hopeless. Guide all those in positions of power—whether that power is political or physical or social—and give them wisdom to use their power wisely. Give them, and all of us, the grace to admit when we are wrong and to seek forgiveness. Give us the grace to forgive.
Help us see your face in the faces of the people around us. Give us courage to love one another even when love seems like a risk. Give us compassion for those who are unlike us. Teach us to listen to those we disagree with, to hear stories that make us uncomfortable. Heal the hatred in the world around us by healing our own hearts first.
Give us peace by making us agents of peace.
Even now, in the midst of the darkness, I believe you are at work. I believe you have the power to fashion something new and beautiful out of our disastrous ruins. Give me patience as you work. Don’t let me rush so quickly into peace that I fail to learn from the chaos. If you’re revealing ugliness in my nation and world so that I can begin to address it and transform it, don’t let me be content to simply sweep it under the carpet. I want more than a temporary cease-fire of my own making. I want true peace, lasting peace.
If tragedy and chaos persist, keep me from apathy. Give me a heart that loves deeply enough to break again and again. Give me a passion for peace that only burns brighter as time goes by.
Thank you that your love has never stopped blazing. Thank you that no matter how many times our human race falls, you have never fallen into apathy. When we are faithless, you remain faithful.
One day, I know, you’ll give us a perfect peace that lasts forever. One day every sorrow will be erased and every tear wiped away. One day pain will be locked in a heavenly museum and hatred will be the stuff of history books.
But I dare to ask for peace sooner than that. I dare to believe, along with King David in
“I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
I dare to plead with you in the name of Jesus, in the name of the one who suffered so I could plead with you:
Give us peace.
Gregory Coles is an author and an English instructor at Penn State University. Learn more at www.gregcoles.com.
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
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by THS (California)
Please pray for us, my husband has become emotionally distant and although he has not physically left us he has emotionally abandoned me and will not speak to me. It has been two and a half months.
My son is feeling the strain between us and is only two years old. I am fighting for my marriage but I am exhausted and hurt, I pray that Jesus heals us both and allows for us to come together as one again. We are loving parents to a beautiful child, I pray Jesus can help open up my husband’s heart and show him all the love and compassion he needs to work on repairing our relationship and allowing me back into his life.
Please pray that there is peace, love, and hope restored for our family, I realize that in Jesus miracles can happen so as you pray I pray for healing and a miracle that will allow us to come back together.
I love my family and my commitment before God to be married was a serious one. I already told my husband I would not divorce him he would have to do it if he wanted out of the relationship, pray his eyes open to the seriousness of the marriage commitment and that God touches his heart and his mind so that he can think rationally once again.
All things can be accomplished in Christ, and my faith keeps me going daily, I give these worries up to God, that he has the answers and he will show me the way. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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