As reports continue to pour in about the deadly attacks on Paris, France, our newsfeeds, televisions, and newspapers are full of fearful images and videos. I have already had many reactions. Anger: towards the terrorists and weak foreign policies of our nation and others. Grief: for the at least 128 lives lost and for their families. We all have a myriad of reactions to this and other tragedies and toward the cowardly perpetrators. But, I wonder if we are all praying as much as we should about this fear, terror, and injustice? How should we pray in times like this? How should we pray for Parisians; for the families of those grieving; for our governments; even for ISIS? Let me suggest three prayers we can all pray in light of the attacks on Paris.
Pray for the Comfort and Peace of the Lord.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalms 34:18)
Father of comfort and peace,
Your presence is our peace and comfort. Your nearness is our hope. Many are brokenhearted today. Draw near and bring them comfort and peace. But many of those who are hurting today can know no real comfort today, not only because of their immense temporal loss, but because they do not know You. Today families are grieving without hope. Lord, draw near to them in the crushed spirits. Bring believers with the Gospel into their lives to speak grace, truth, love and eternity into their hopeless hearts. Bring them to hope even today, Lord.
Your Word says, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”(Lamentations 3:22-23) Today, show your new, faithful mercy and steadfast love to those who do not know. Turn their grief into eternal joy.
Lord, we confess that we, as believers, too often grieve these situations as those who have no hope. But, Lord, today we, with hope, say “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
Pray for Justice.
But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalms 9:7-9)
Almighty God of Righteous Justice,
You say that vengeance belongs to You alone. Today, our hearts want vengeance. Today we see hurt, injustice and terror. We want justice for those who are grieving. We want justice against the wicked who maim and kill. We desire our nations execute justice. But Lord, our judgment and justice is often so clouded by our fear, our pain, and our sin. Today, we need You and You alone to execute justice. Bring the wicked to light. How long, O Lord, will you allow the wicked to not only trample the peoples of the earth. How long, O Lord, will you allow the wicked to trample Your great name? Remind us, Lord, that You will not tarry forever. Your justice and vengeance is coming. In the meantime, help us to pray for the nations and leaders that you raise up and tear down for your purposes and for your plans. Help us to trust that You are in control not only of the end of the story, but the means to that end. And help us to be patient as You are patient. To seek justice, but not vengeance. Be our stronghold today as You sit enthroned in Heaven and in our hearts.
Savior God, we praise you that if we are in Christ Jesus by grace through faith, we have not received justice for our sin. Jesus took Your just wrath against our sin. We praise you that we are living proof that You are just and that You deal fully and finally with the full weight of sin.
Pray for Mercy.
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44)
We need Your mercy today. We confess that we fear when we should trust You. We confess that we despair when we should hope. We confess that we despise our enemies when we should pray. Grant us mercy to pray for ISIS terrorists and those who hate You and Your people. We need mercy and we rest in mercy today. Your mercy made us Your sons and daughters even when we were your enemies. Your mercy took spiritually dead sinners from death to life. Lord, bring mercy to mind today as we remember the just wrath that was poured out on Jesus. Help us to believe that the punishment placed on Jesus is enough not just to save me, but is enough to save the wicked terrorist suicide bomber and murderer. Lord, remind me today of the great mercy that made Saul, the terrorist and enemy of the cross, into the missionary to your enemies. Pour out mercy today on Your enemies. Bring ISIS leaders and followers to the light of Your glory and grace. Lord, we know that one day their knees will bow before you as Lord. Make that day today, Lord, if it be Your will. Raise up beautiful feet to take the Gospel of grace and mercy to the terrorists. Impress on the hearts of Your people to pray for mercy and to desire that no one face Your just wrath for all eternity in hell. Show Your grace and mercy to be greater than we can imagine. You are able. You have proved it. Show your glorious mercy today, Lord.
We pray today for Paris, for those mourning, for those afraid, for ISIS, for ourselves. Be near, be swift to return, be merciful. We pray in Jesus’ great and glorious Name. The Name above Every Name. The Name that will cause every knee to bow; either now in glad acceptance of His Lordship, or for eternity in painful admission of His Lordship. For Your glory and our good. Amen.