Monday, September 20, 2021

Praying through troubled times (like 9/11)

[Note: This article was written for our local newspaper on September 13, 2021]

I’m still thinking about the events of 9/11, as we look back now 20 years later pondering this defining moment in our history. I don’t even know how to process it all to this day, but I do know that there’s a sovereign God in heaven who knows our hearts and whose Spirit intercedes for the saints with groanings too deep for words. 

Here are four prayer points we took to the Lord this past Sunday morning at Petersburg FBC. There are many more ways to keep praying, obviously, but if you’re struggling to find some handles on how to pray through your hurts and fears, maybe this can be a starting point. 

1. Let’s thank God for His presence in our times of troubles. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Over and over again in Scripture and in our own life experiences, the Lord has proven His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. When the wheels come off, when darkness seems to gain the upper hand, when terror strikes, when health fails, when the factory closes, when the fire burns, when the waters rise, when children rebel, when friends turn against you – whatever trouble comes your way, turn to the One who is our refuge and strength, a shelter in the storm, the anchor for our souls. 

2. Let’s pray that God would thwart the wicked plans of evildoers. I have no problem praying against the forces of darkness, for I know that God can confuse an entire invading army and clog their chariots’ wheels. He can turn them against each other, blind their eyes, bend their swords, melt their hearts, and foil their schemes. He can send the hornet to drive them away, rain down hailstones upon them, cast a dense fog, send a destroying angel, or use disease or a plague to kill them. “Lord, do not let evil people have their way. Do not let their evil schemes succeed, or they will become proud” (Psalm 140:8). 

3. Let’s pray for our nation’s leaders. We would be wise to ask God to grant wisdom to those who make decisions on behalf of this country. Let’s pray for strong and courageous leaders who will seek righteousness over political correctness. Let’s ask the Lord to raise up men and women in positions of influence who will look to unite us rather than divide us. Let’s call out to God for our leaders to know truth and reject lies. Let’s ask God to enable our leaders and “we the people” to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty…” 

4. Let’s ask God to take what Satan intends for evil and use it to save many lives. God has a pretty impressive track record of doing just that – the ultimate victory being the resurrection of Jesus from the evil crucifixion at the hands of lawless men. Let’s keep praying that as people search for answers in the midst of life’s troubles, that God will guide their hearts to the truth of Christ Jesus and His salvation. Let’s ask God to send His church into the harvest fields with the saving power of the gospel to lovingly and clearly proclaim the hope, the joy, the peace, and the life that’s found only in the One who bore our sins, died in our place, conquered the grave, and by His grace gives eternal life to all who believe.

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