As I reflect over the last week or so, my heart is broken over the people infected and the people we know that have died in our churches and communities because of COVID. I see Christians dying because of their deep faith in Jesus in Afghanistan. I see a country like Haiti dealing with so much disaster and then an earthquake hits this poor country. There is so much more going on around us that makes us feel so helpless and hopeless. What can we do?
Ephesians 6:10-20 encourages us to be strong in the Lord and to put on the whole armor of God. Verse 18 reminds us to pray at all times!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
I ran across this prayer from a devotional from First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS, and thought it was a great prayer for us to pray today in light of the helpless and hopeless feelings that many seem to have right now.
“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” 2 Chronicles 20:12
Father in heaven, we fix our eyes on You.
At Your right hand sits Your Son, our Intercessor, Savior, Friend.
In Him, there is no worry, no clenched fists, no wavering.
Only a heart that knows our grief and responds with tender sympathy.
As our eyes fall to the world around us, we are overwhelmed.
Friends fall sick.
Families are separated.
Image-bearers struggle for air and fear for their safety.
With the disciples in the storm we cry, “Lord, do you not care?”
But You are good and do good.
You bring low, and you raise up.
You discipline us like a father.
You tend to us like a shepherd.
Would You bring healing to the sick, deliverance to the oppressed, and rescue to the perishing?
Would you comfort those who are heavy-laden?
Would we be the human extension of Your heart of compassion?
Would Your gospel be lifted higher, that the ends of the earth might see and be saved?
O Lord, end the pandemic,
Defend and be the fortress and shield for the hurting in Afghanistan,
Bring rest and restoration to those whose lives are in ruin in Haiti
Keep us humble, under Your mighty hand.
Lead us to genuine repentance.
Fix our eyes on You.
A bitter cup we may drink, but you drank it first.
We come to You, fountain of living waters, for every thirst.