It feels like our world is going crazy. News headlines scream about death and destruction from wars and highlight gruesome murders of ordinary people. Talk shows and social media platforms rage with controversy and attack the opposition with inflammatory words and threats of cancellation.
Where is God in all of this? With so much chaos, turmoil, and hostility, it can be challenging to know how to pray.
Though it often seems like things have never been worse, we’re not the first or only individuals to live in such a world. The Bible is filled with those who lived in tough and dangerous times. Like us, they struggled with how to respond and relate to God. Like us, their prayers lifted to the Heavens.
When life is hard, when it seems we can’t find the words, here are seven prayers, taken from Scripture, that can aid us in a world of hostility.
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1. Pray for the Authorities
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy to Timothy, a young man who had been sent to teach and correct the Ephesian church. Life for Christians wasn’t easy in those days. They faced hostility and persecution from both the Roman and Jewish leaders. Even though the rulers behaved unjustly, Paul urged the Christians to pray for them so that, essentially, they would leave them alone and allow them to lead peaceful lives. God doesn’t say we have to like, support, or agree with those in authority. But He does tell us to pray for them. One way to think of this is that the more we dislike a leader, the more we should pray for them.
Lord, even though I don’t like or agree with all of their actions and decisions, I pray for city, state, and country leaders. Please guide them and give them wisdom in the decisions they are faced with. Help them make policies that will enable us to live in peace and worship You.
2. God Sees and Knows
“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish” (Psalm 1:6, NASB).
King David, Israel’s greatest king, wrote most of the Psalms. If anyone in the Bible understood what it was to be surrounded by dangerous and unrighteous people, it was David.
Before he was anointed to be king, he was a shepherd who witnessed the death and destruction wild animals could bring to a flock of sheep.
After Samuel, a prominent prophet during this time, anointed him and before he was crowned, David fought in Israel’s army. He later fled from Saul, Israel’s current king, who was jealous of God’s favor that rested upon David.
David’s life didn’t get any easier after Saul’s death. He was continually in danger from outside enemies, from those within the army and palace walls, and even from his own sons. This is likely why we see so much commentary and so many prayers concerning evil people.
Psalm 1 contrasts the evil and the righteous. It ends with acknowledging how God sees and deals rightly with everyone on earth. He watches over those who follow Him and brings justice to those who don’t.
Dear God, even though it often feels like the wicked are getting away with evil, I know You see everything they’re doing and won’t let them go unpunished. Help me to wait and trust your plans for them and me. Watch over me and help me walk in Your ways. Guide my path and give me strength, patience, and focus to live for You each day.
3. God Draws Near to His People
“For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works” (Psalm 73:27-28, NASB).
While it may not be as soon as we’d like, God has promised to deal with and destroy wickedness. He has also promised to be with us in the midst of the turmoil.
Dear Father, my God, my Protector, please help me to remember that no matter what happens to or around me, You remain beside me. You are my refuge and protection. Surround me and help me to feel Your presence, to know that You are here, so that I may help others know and find peace in You as well.
4. God Doesn’t Forget the Afflicted
“Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, ‘You will not require it.’ You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan” (Psalm 10:12-14, NASB).
It’s easy for us to overlook the victims, especially when hostile people seem to take up center stage with their appearance of strength and power. But God, the source of true power, doesn’t overlook anyone. The wicked will face and tremble before the righteous anger of God. But the poor and afflicted, those with no other place to turn, will see God’s compassion and mercy.
Dear Lord, thank You for seeing and reaching out to the mistreated and beaten down. Thank You for helping the broken-hearted and those who have nowhere else to turn. Thank You for seeing and not forgetting me and my circumstances. I commit myself to You, for You are my helper. Please give me Your eyes to see those who are hurting. Give me Your heart of compassion for them, and help me be Your hands and Your voice to love and serve them as You’d have me do.
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5. God Comforts
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NASB).
God’s comfort is contagious and is rarely, if ever, meant solely for us. He gives so that we may give. He comforts us so that we may comfort others. God’s precious, indescribable gifts are always meant to be shared.
My God and Father, You are the Father of mercies. You see my pain, my worries, my troubles. Please comfort me so that I in turn may be able to offer Your comfort to others.
6. God Provides
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34, NASB).
When national and international disasters hit, it’s easy and natural to fall into survival mode and worry about how we’ll obtain what we and our families need. Even remote wars eventually impact those in other nations. But God reminds us that He knew what would happen and what we’d need before we did. He will provide for our needs.
Dear God, my Lord, and Savior, help me to trust You for my needs and my tomorrows. Help me to not worry, but to rest in the assurance that You know and provide. Give me the strength and wisdom to seek You first and to focus on what You would have me do and say in each moment, in every day.
7. Nothing Can Separate Us from God
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 3:35, NASB).
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 3:38-39, NASB).
No matter what happens in this life—no matter what people say or how they treat us or each other—nothing and no one can separate us from God.
My Lord, my Christ, my God, please help me to remember and have confidence that no matter what is happening in our world, no matter who is coming against me, no matter what I’m struggling with, You are here. You are with me. Your love surrounds me. And nothing can change that.
While our world may be thrown into chaos, while hostile people may seem to get away with evil deeds, we can rest assured there is One who remains the same, One who "sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24, NKJV). Our God is still present and He is still working. He is our anchor and our firm foundation. In Him “we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:27, NASB).
May we always rest in His unchanging promise: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28, KJV).
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Originally published Tuesday, 07 June 2022.