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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Praying for Peace in the Family
Heavenly Father, I bring my family before You, praying for peace in the family. Jehovah Nissi, Lord my God, my family is struggling and battling with the enemy right now. I pray that You give them strength, Oh Father, allow peace in their lives.
Bless them spiritually so that they will hunger and thirst after You and Your righteousness and they shall be filled. Bless them financially, guard them under Your wings. Protect them against all evil. Cover them with Your precious blood, wash them white as snow.
Heavenly Father, I bring my family before You, praying for peace in the family. Click To Tweet
Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in harmony. And always be thankful.
Psalms 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Break every chain
Conflict, prejudice, hate, jealousy and pride against one another will vanish at the sound of Your great name. The enemy will flee when he senses Your presence, he will not prevail! Remove pain, suffering, anxiety, worry and fear, in Jesus’ mighty name!
Break every chain that binds them. Release the shackles of their lives so they can live freely to worship and praise Your Holy name.
Read: Prayer for Peace in my Heart
John 14.27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Tear down the strongholds
Tear down the strongholds that restrict them from knowing You. Help them to realize they can find love, joy, peace, happiness and rest within You and You alone. Set their hearts and minds to focus diligently on You and to seek You persistently.
Remind them that You are always near and they can cast their every burden upon You to find rest. Allow us to execute love and happiness towards one another as we embrace Your gentle spirit. In Jesus’ Holy name I pray, Amen!
Additional Reading, get your copy of: Busy Lives and Restless Souls: How Prayer Can Help You Find the Missing Peace in Your Life
Lord my God, my family is struggling with the enemy right now. Give them peace in their lives. Click To Tweet
John 16.33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Romans 8:6 – So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
We have a dream that all the world abides in peace.
We have a dream that we travel hand in hand upon the earth,
creating beacons of love and understanding, peace and light.
We write our prayers of peace on paper cranes and doves,
that fly around the world calling all to peace and light.
One simple prayer, one simple dream, WorldPeace.
We have a dream that all the angels of heaven
and the God of all the universe travel by our side
as we carry the light of love and prayers of peace
to each and every mountain, valley, sea and plane;
to each and all that travel the sacred earth.
We have a dream that with each passing, with each creation,
a beacon of love and understanding is forever established,
forever ignited, forever to radiate the peace and light of
one simple prayer, one simple dream, WorldPeace.
We have a dream that all that is pure in love and light
will come continuously to touch each tiny beacon
to add light to light, and love to love;
to make the earth a beacon in the infinite heavens
that radiates into the hearts of all living things peace and love.
We have a dream that all who come,
that all who are called to each pulsating beacon
receive the infinite gifts of God’s loving blessings of
wellness and love, peace and understanding.
We have a dream that all who come to each tiny beacon
receive; each according to his need, each according to her love.
So that as we travel one by one our separate paths
we carry the love of peace unconditionally given,
to each and every vibration of this most beautiful earth;
until that never ending day arrives when each and every one
and all, forever flow in loves most precious gift; WorldPeace.
We pray our dream of WorldPeace becomes our reality;
all men are brothers, all eyes blind to race, all wars ended,
all nations embrace peace, all courts dispense justice
and all women assume their equal place in a harmonious world society
in which a new age of humanity now begins.
by Saundra (Kansas City, MO U.S.)
Gracious Lord, I am here on my knees begging you to bring peace into my home. I ask that you send your angels down to protect us and keep us safe. Lord, allow us to trust one another and allow us to be vulnerable with one another. Allow us the right words to speak and true feelings to share.
I am patiently waiting for you to grant me this request. Help us to love you more, love one another under you and love our children with all our hearts. Please cast away all negativity so that we can love one another as you love us. Guide us and teach us how to love as you love. In your son Jesus’ name I pray. Amen