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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A Prayer for Our World
“In a world where a 4 year old boy peers from a backseat while his caregivers are passed out in the front due to a drug overdose…
In a world where politics divide a country, not just by ideology, but words of absolute hatred and burning insults…
In a world where floods and earthquakes and war and famine tear apart lives and destroy futures in seconds…
In a world where heartache fills the airwaves and the pages of social media feeds; where so many statements are laced with bitterness, sadness or greed; where we remember anew each year moments of terror that broke our hearts; where we stare aghast into the grief each day because we are connected in ways we could never have imagined just one generation ago…
In that world…
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”- St. Francis”
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Sourced from reFocus Ministry. Written by Christina Embry
You are probably asking the same question. Wise men say that God already knows our prayers, our hearts. He already knows our desires as humans. So, why is it we need to pray? With all the blessings and good things God has done for us, He deserves our prayers As a matter of fact, saying thank you won’t suffice how much He has done for us. But for Him, a grateful heart is enough.
Why pray? The Bible says the prayer of a righteous person is effective and powerful, When two or more agree together in prayer then something extraordinary happens. It is part of a divine-human communication. According to the Bible, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
The Bible taught all daily pray to Lord and no need for explanations. However, read further to discover the essence of praying and uttering a prayer of praise to God.
We need to utter a prayer of praise to God as a sign of our gratitude for His greatness. We pray to God for us to find our ultimate purpose in life. The Lord surely has plans for every single individual in the world. With our prayers, we can be guided by the Holy Spirit in our journey in life. He is always willing to guide those who ask for His guidance and protection. On the other hand, it is also important to pray to God so that He can guide us in decision making, specifically if you need to make big and important decisions in life.
A Prayer for Our Nation, Our World, and Our Hearts
By Kress Drew | March 12, 2014
O Father, as I stop and think about our country today, all the hurt and pain and the way we so often break your heart, I quickly become overwhelmed by it all. And then in the stillness, I stop and I fix my hope and gaze upon you, the Lord and Lifter of my head.
Father, I come to you as you call me, just as I am; unable on my own, yet tender to your Spirit, and aware I am sitting at a table with the world who doesn’t get it. Who doesn’t know you; who’s busy, distracted, angry, misled, and confused. Yet you care for them and by your kindness I do too. For these are real people—hearts made for relationship and joy with you.
Lord, they are not the enemy. They are no different than me: flesh and blood in constant need of you. I too was blind until by your grace you helped me see. So Lord, I pray the same for them. Father, as I live in prayer with you, please grant me your heart for the lost, one person at a time. Please open their eyes to see and mine to how I can help them to see you for who you really are, the One who knows them and who loves them best.
Please let your love flow through me, full and overflowing, spreading into the hearts of those I meet; “to know you, and to love you,” this is my prayer and the cry of my heart. Thank you that although it is you alone who changes each heart, you allow me to be a part of the process and to find a place with you in your great work.
Lord, I am asking this in the simple faith of a child and with the joy that comes from years of intimacy with you. Please heal our nation, our world, and our hearts through relationship with each other and with you.
In Jesus’ wonderful Name I live and pray, Amen.
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people (1 Timothy 2:1).
Kress Drew is a high school math teacher and football coach, and also a board member of Eternal Perspective Ministries. He has been very blessed to travel overseas on different short-term mission teams reaching out to others and sharing God’s love with them.