Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
A prayer alert from the Presidential Prayer Team today reads:
Situations like this one drive us to our knees in prayer to our great God, and they should. We pray for the children, who are likely scared by circumstances they can't even understand, let alone control. We pray for the school teachers and administrators - for their safety and wisdom. We pray for the FBI and law enforcement agencies in their attempts to investigate.
These are all great prayers and much-needed. But I'm starting to find this method of praying a little defensive, a little reactive. I'm beginning to crave a more offensive prayer style (offense as in football, not as in offending people!). Through the eyes of faith, I'm just barely beginning to see that our sovereign God doesn't need to respond to events - he in fact controls them in some sense.
After Jacob's death, Joseph's brothers came to him seeking his forgiveness for how they had wronged him years before. Joseph's response is now becoming the framework for my prayers: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).
All through Scripture we see God taking evil things men have done and turning them into glorious good. He took David's sin with Bathsheba and brought out of that a marriage that became the lineage of our Savior. He turned the hatred of Haman, a persecutor of God's people, into such a great victory through Queen Esther's efforts that people far and wide heard of it and put their faith in him (Esther 8:17).
He turned the chief terrorist in the days of the early church - a man named Saul, who had presided over the stoning of Stephen - into the greatest evangelist of the time, spreading the gospel far and wide. And on and on. Scripture shows us over and over that when it looks like evil is winning, the story isn't finished yet.
So I'm trying to learn to "pray in the victory" in situations like this. I'm praying for the children - but not just that they won't be scared. I'm praying that Christian parents will help their children experience the peace of God in the midst of scary times, and that their peace will become a witness to other children who are far from God. I'm praying that God will reap a harvest in all the schools in Los Angeles as a direct result of today's terror threat.
I'm praying that God will cause Muslim children - and parents - who haven't been brainwashed in to extremism to question their religion that could produce events like San Bernardino and groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Muslim Brotherhood. I'm praying that the very evil of Islamic extremism would itself drive decent Muslims to Christ.
I'm asking God for Damascus-road like experiences for the terrorists responsible for these and other atrocities. I'm asking him to reveal to them his power in a way that commands their attention, and then his grace in a way that demands their response.
I hope you'll join me in prayer - not the kind of prayer that huddles in a dark corner wishing that God would make it all go away, but the kind of prayer that says, "God, be in control of this. Do what we've seen you do over and over again. Bring good out of this evil. Your kingdom come, your will be done."