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.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersThe Prayer of JabezShort PrayersThe Lord’s PrayerThe Prayer of St FrancisSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerSinner’s PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessIntercessory PrayerIrish Prayers and BlessingsAdvent PrayersChristmas PrayersThanksgiving PrayerHoly Week Prayers for Each DayEaster PrayersPrayers for My HusbandPrayers for My SonPrayer Quotes
Now available is our new Daily Prayer devotional! An easy way to find start your day with prayer, read today’s prayer and sign up to receive by email.
O Lord Christ, Hope of the World, Savior of the Nations:
In Your blessed incarnation, You took upon Yourself human flesh (John 1:14), flesh like that of every child born in the history of the world (Gal. 4:4–5), that You might bear the sins of all humanity on a cross (John 1:29).
In Your earthly ministry, You served humankind without regard to race, even contrary to prevailing racial views of the day (Matt. 15:21–28; John 4);
From the first days of Your Church, it pleased You to gather together people without regard to race or origin (Acts 2);
Through the centuries, Your Holy Word, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, have borne and continue to bear witness to the truths of both reason and divine revelation—that all people are created by God, that all are equally accountable to God, and that all are equally beloved by God and redeemed by Christ (Romans 5).
You, O Lord, teach us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), and that my neighbor includes everyone I meet in my daily vocations, and specifically without regard to race (Luke 10:25–37);
Forgive me, O Lord, for my many sins of commission and omission where I have failed my neighbor in thought, word or deed, especially where I have begrudged another Your compassion and love based upon race or anything else (Romans 7:19f.);
Strengthen Your Church, O Lord, that she may be a beacon of joyous unity in the Gospel and a light of blessed forgiveness and grace, calling all to repentance and to trust in Jesus as the only Savior from sin (Acts 2:38–41);
Let Your Gospel flow forth into every crooked, corrupt and hardened heart, to bring repentance, faith in Your Gospel and joy in the manifold uniqueness of Your created peoples—a very foretaste of heaven itself (Rev. 7:9);
O Lord, grant justice in Your left-hand kingdom, especially in the governments of this nation and of all the earth. Correct wrong. Punish and thwart evil, and especially racist evil. Grant peace that Your Gospel may flow all the more freely, especially to those most blinded by evil. Remind us, O Lord, of Your own prayer for those who crucified You, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24). Let us not be overcome with anger, but overcome hatred with love.
Finally, O Lord, grant faith, peace and hope to the bereaved.
Lord, have mercy;
Christ, have mercy;
Lord, have mercy. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
I don’t know about you but I have a hard time watching or listening to the news. In fact, I don’t.
The state of our nation is disturbing, discouraging, and to be honest, baffling.
It’s clear there is a fight going on for the soul of our nation. It’s possible you and I don’t share the same home country but we do share this: Friends, we are at war.
This isn’t a war fought with guns and air strikes. Wars of this kind are won on our knees.
Let me ask you, Do you have a war time strategy?
Or are you spending more time watching the news, complaining about it and cluck-clucking in bewilderment than actually engaging in the battle?
I’m guilty of it.
But I’ve decided as a child of God, it is my responsibility to join the fight. No, not in some political campaign or with comments and arguments on Facebook, but in prayer for our country, on my knees, with the Word of God and these war room verses spread out in front of me. Taking time in prayer for our nation and its leaders is something I CAN do.
If you are wondering how you can be in prayer for our nation, you’ve come to the right place! We will soon be observing the National Day of Prayer and I don’t know of a more critical time of prayer for the nation. Will you join me?
I invite you to play a part in praying for the nation. Let’s turn off the news and news feeds and let’s spend ten minutes a day praying these Scripture prayers for our nation.
Let’s be in prayer for the leaders of our country; let’s join our hearts and offer up prayers for the nation and its leaders. We have weapons strong enough to destroy strongholds. We’re insane crazy not to use them!!
So how about it? Let’s be a force of people praying – men and women in our bathrooms as we dress for work, on our knees in our war rooms, in our cars, at lunch breaks, whenever and wherever. Let’s charge heaven with the prayers of the faithful. Let’s be a dadgum army.
Below you’ll find suggested Scripture prayers for our nation.
10 War Room Prayers For Our Nation:
Below are ten suggested references, followed by my own sample prayers. Please note my prayers are not Bible translations. They are included for those who would like examples of how to pray. You can use these as intercessory prayer points for the nation.
II Chronicles 7:14
Lord, I come to You with this prayer for our land. You promise that when your people pray, humble themselves, and seek You, You will hear and answer. You even promise healing in the land. Lord, our land needs healing and I believe it starts with me. I humble myself before You right here, right now. I’m seeking Your face. I ask You to grant me a repentant spirit so I may be an instrument that ushers in Your blessing for this nation.
Lord, Your blessing has been upon this nation and I thank You for your kind mercies! But Your Word says the blessed nation is the one whose God is the Lord and our nation has turned from You. God, on behalf of myself and my people, I confess our disregard of You. Bring Your people to repentance and let this nation once again be one who calls You “Lord.”
Righteousness exalts a nation, Lord. Not flagrant personalities and foul speech. Not the boastful pride of man or “progressive” lifestyles or quick talking politicians who present themselves as the solution for the world. Righteousness, Lord, righteousness is what we need. Oh Lord, let Your righteousness rain down on us and spring up from within every home and community in our land!
Many of the things I hear coming out of the mouths of those in the media make me shudder, Lord. Fear of You is sorely lacking and I humble myself before You to beseech Your mercies on behalf of a people who don’t fear or acknowledge You. Forgive us, God! Strike a fear in the heart of Your people! Show us the seriousness of our sin and the holiness of Your majesty. Let us see and understand You as God… King… Sovereign One… Ruler of heaven and earth. And let us be wise!
Lord, You promise that the gates of hell will not overcome Your church. You have a people and You have a plan that will not fail. No matter what, Your purposes will prevail. You are in Your church and indwell Your people. In this we take great hope. Strengthen Your people, Lord! Strengthen Your church in this country! Let us rise to the battle cry and faithfully stand firm! Stir up our passions and desires for purity, holiness, and intimacy with You. Let us walk in the unquenchable fire of Your Spirit.
II Corinthians 6:17
God, call Your people to come out and be separate. All across this land, call Your people to set aside wordly wisdom, pride and appearances, materialism, the need for approval, idolatry of all sorts. Lead us out and lead us up. We are a holy nation, a royal priesthood, set apart for worthy purposes. Stir in each and every heart to come out and be different!
Oh Lord, we need to see You as You truly are, not as what others say You are. Let Your people see You high and lifted up! Let us see You as holy. Let us understand Your nature, character, and sovereignty. Let us know Your word. Sweep across this land and reveal Yourself like never before. Let us know You, God!
Cause each of Your children to shine brightly in this dark land, Lord. Let each light take it’s place on a lampstand and draw others to You. May those without Christ see our good works and glorify You. We pray that many will come to know You and confess You as Lord.
Lord, we believe in Your sovereignty. We know You are the One who sets up rulers and kings. The buck stops with You. We pray for our leaders and future leaders…and those who elect them… to have wisdom, knowledge, and discernment, for these things come from You.
We pray for Your Kingdom to come, Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We know Your will is for righteousness, salvation, and truth. We pray for these things to define our lives, our marriages, our homes, our communities, and our nation. We ask for Your church to be vessels that usher in Your Kingdom and fulfill Your will. Grant us, Your servants, success as we seek to glorify Your name.
There you have it, 10 war time Scriptures to pray for the nation and to pray for our leaders. I encourage you to stop right now, take ten minutes, and write out the Scriptures above. Let’s offer a prayer for country, leaders, and God’s mercy, and let’s start today. Armed with promises to trust God for, we CAN make a difference through the power of prayer!
Before you go, be sure to join our email community below for free prayer cards, challenges, printables and more resources for growing in your walk with Christ.
Use These 10 Verses To Pray For Our Nation
By Jason Soroski
As our nation finds itself in yet another highly divisive election season, our tendency can be to draw firm lines between ourselves based on which candidates we support, and that can in turn lead to personal dislike for one another, anger towards those who lead, and eventually division.
As Christians, we are to live in a fine balance; standing for that which is true while seeking unity amongst ourselves whenever possible, standing firm in the faith while showing grace to those who do not, holding our leaders accountable while praying for their wisdom and well-being.
We are to learn from the words of Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”
We are to be those who stand in the gap, who lift up our nation with all it favors and faults before the throne of God, and pray that He continues to work in our midst.
Scriptures to Pray For Ourselves:
1) I Timothy 2:1-2 – I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
2) I Peter 2:17 – Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
RELATED: What praying accomplishes in times of tragedy
3) Romans 13:1 – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
4) Jeremiah 29:7 – Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
5) II Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Scriptures to Pray for our Leaders:
6) Psalms 2:10-11 – Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
7) Proverbs 11:14 – For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.
RELATED: A prayer for our country and our leadership
8) Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
9) Job 12:23-25 – He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
10) Proverbs 2:1-8 – My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2) turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding- 3) indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4) and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5) then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6) For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7) He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8) for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
May we be faithful, informed and thoughtful when praying and talking to others about our politics, and as we ask for God’s wisdom and righteousness to be evident in our nation’s policies and leaders.
Jason Soroski is a writer, worship pastor, and homeschool dad. Connect with Jason on Twitter or at JasonSoroski.net.
An interesting look at whether you should vote for the lesser of two evils.
Prayers to Encourage Your Christian Life
This article is part of a series of prayers that are published on GodUpdates. Here are more posts about prayers that we thought you might like!
- 14 Daily Prayers To Jump Start Your Morning
- 9 Fruits of the Spirit Prayers to Pray to be More Like Jesus
- 5 Prayers for Protection and Safety
- 3 Simple Prayers You Need to Pray Regularly
- 4 Simple Prayers for the Grieving Heart