How do you pray when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Katia are all making landfall within a week of one another? Add to that an earthquake in Mexico and the tension with North Korea. Wars, rumors of wars, social unrest, societal tension, and so much more. It’s as if all of the earth were groaning – the earth itself, and everything created in it. Dear friends, it is. The earth is groaning, and everything in all of creation is groaning.
Now is a time to learn to pray. What do I mean by this? Shouldn’t we just pray!? Yes, but we also need to learn to pray in accordance with the Word and will of God. His Word is truth. His Word speaks to what is going on in our world right now.
Matthew 24:6-14 NIV You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (7) Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. (8) All these are the beginning of birth pains. (9) “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. (10) At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, (11) and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (12) Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (13) but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
These are the words of Jesus calling us to the following:
- You will hear of wars, rumors of wars, nation against nation, famine, earthquakes. Are we hearing of such things? Yes. Of course we are. The news is full of them and they affect lives daily. We are all witness to these things. Our personal situation and circumstances that keeps us isolated from living under such conditions, should never decrease our awareness.
- We should not be surprised. Jesus Himself instructs us to notice, but not be surprised by what we see and hear. There’s a reason for this: We are to know what He has said and actually anticipate its arrival. When we see these things we should have been watching.
- These are the beginning of birth pains. These times feel like death pains, but they are actually the pains of birth into a new season of life for all of creation. We are in the midst of a holy gestation awaiting the birth of the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ into our world.
So, how do you and I, the children of God, respond to such times and events in prayer?
- We pray for mercy for persons affected, but we don’t stop there. Yes, we always pray for the mercy of our LORD to come upon those affected.
- We offer Thanksgiving in Prayer for the fulfillment of His Word. These things are the fulfillment of what is to come. This season is not short. The earth has been writhing in pain for quite some time and will likely continue for a while until all of these things have reached their fullness. Only God knows when all of this travailing will give birth.
- We travail in prayer as the earth is travailing. We join the timeless throng of those who have gone before us saying, “How long, LORD?” We cry out to Him.
- We pray in accordance with His Word. With our bibles open before us, we pray His Word, that His will be accomplished in this earth.
- We surrender to His Sovereignty. Now is a perfect time to acknowledge the Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence of our LORD Almighty. Now is a perfect time to fall on our faces before the Throne of God and offer our lives as a living sacrifice, repenting for the sins of our generation.
- We pray for boldness and power. We ask the LORD to empower us to speak boldly into this generation with the powerful and loving truth of the gospel.
There are more ways we could speak of, but these six suggestions are ways we can elevate our praying beyond the fray going on in our daily circumstance, and join God in the heavenlies, praying out of the resources of the mind of Christ.
Brother and Sisters. Pray for persons. Act with mercy and kindness. Pray in accordance with God’s Word. Seek higher wisdom. Recognize the times. Thank God for His wise control of all things. Seek to learn during times such as these. Travail in prayer before the Lord.
This is how we learn to pray in the midst of disaster, while we work and act to bring relief and healing to those affected.
Join me in prayer…
Father God, Sovereign LORD of the whole earth, Who sees every event and knows every course of every storm. We praise You for the power of Your mighty hand and wisdom that You display. Your majesty is seen in the calm sea and in the storm.
LORD God, extend Your mercy to all those who find themselves in the paths of storms that are weather events, and also the storm of systemic evil, racism, genocide, oppression, poverty, disease, abuse, and the like. We acknowledge that Your Word is true… we are a world in travail. We join our travailing voice with the travailing earth and cry out to You, How Long, Lord? How long until the birth that is to come brings rest to the laborious pains of the awaiting birth.
Give us hearts that desire to draw nearer and nearer to Your voice. We listen for Your words and voice so that we may join you in agreement with what Your Spirit is saying.
We give You thanks and praise in all things. We submit ourselves anew to You today. We lay our lives on the altar of sacrifice that we may serve you more deeply. In sacrifice we acknowledge that if these disasters were to befall us, we would still praise You. Your worthiness of praise and honor is not diminished by the storm, but indeed is even elevated because Your Word is declaring itself as true in our day. Give us prophetic and visionary ears.
These things we pray in the name of Jesus, who holds all authority in heaven and on earth.