A Prayer for the Persecuted in Our World

August 11, 2014 | 26 comments

Dear Lord,

The world is bloody-scarred. An awful mess. It groans.

And we weep.

We scroll through our news feeds and we see the horror — of people, children, at knife-point and gun-point — and we wonder what’s the point?

What’s the point of all this, God?

The world watches and waits and asks: Do you have an answer, God?

Your Word says you do. And Your Word says to pray.

We know it’s true: This cracked-up world needs more people who will do the holy work of prayer. I act like it’s the only thing I can do. But maybe it’s the very best thing I can do.

I returned to the words of the Apostle Paul this morning, who wrote:

“You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either.” (2 Corinthians 1:8, The Message)

I don’t want to be in the dark. I want to be a part of your rescue operation, Lord.

Cause me to pray, Father. Make me know how much it matters.

Lord, I stood outside my window last night, and watched a full moon rise up over the cornfield in the front yard, lighting up the tassled tops of the tallest corn, all reaching to the heavens — like we’re doing right now, God. We’re reaching for you.

The moon was this giant light against the pitch of night, and You, Lord, hung that moon in place. That light in the night, to give us a way to see in a world that is half dark, half the time.

You hung that one moon over us all. Us. All.

We are sharing this world together, this spinning mass out here in the universe. We are living under this one moon. And under you, the one true God. 

Cause us to live in peace. Come near, Father.

I watched that moon, creep higher in the sky, and I thought about how, that same moon hovers over the people trapped, dying, thirsty, on a mountaintop in Iraq. And how it hangs over the gun-wielding people who assail them. And all the victims of trafficking and genocide and war, everywhere.

Troubles assail us, but you said you’d never fail us, Lord.

Come nearer. 

I thought about how you, Jesus, sat under the same moon in the garden of Gethsemane. It’s striking to think that our moon was the very same moon over you, when you began the hard work of giving us an answer to this mess we’re in.

You fell on your face, Jesus, under the moon, praying: “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?” (Matthew 26:39, The Message)

The same moon over all of us, the same God holding each of us. And Jesus, you did the unthinkable — you did it for every one of us.

And we are the Good News people, who know the answer that God gave to us. And we are the people of Light, called to shine our lights into dark places — like the moon, never with a light of its own, but only reflecting the sun.

Let us reflect you, Lord, in this aching, bloody, warring planet. Let us bring the good news … to the day’s worst news

Cause us to face the light, in this dark world. Cause us to let your light shine upon us. And cause us to be light.

It feels like the world has gone crazy-mad. And this crazy world needs you, Lord.

My default response is to ask the doubter’s questions, and to accuse you of turning your back on us. To suggest that you aren’t paying attention.

But the better part of my two-faced heart, is putting all my hope in your promises. In your answer.

The better part of my heart reminds the rest of my heart that you are faithful, and sovereign, and good, and great.

We are still in the middle of the story. And Lord, you keep reminding us that this story you’ve been writing since the beginning? It ain’t over yet. It’s not the end of the story. You remind us that there’s so much we can’t comprehend. And you are really holding it all together, just like you promised. Help us believe it. 

Help us know that you really are paying attention. Help us remember this–

You really are paying attention, and you really have paid it forward — from the cross.

The sun went down on that day over Calvary, and the moon rose twice, and then you rose again, because Sunday came.

And you’re coming again. You will not fail us, no matter what assails us.

Keep us on our knees. Keep us facing your light. Let us be light-bearers, bringing a flame into the darkest darkness.

In Jesus’ name, compel us to pray and pray and pray again.

Amen….

Photos taken by these friends:
1- Sandra Heska King
2 – Duane Scott of Scribing the Journey
3 – Tina Howard, of SpaghettiPie
4 – Christopher Gannon, a professional multimedia photographer whose work regularly appears in USA Today, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Des Moines Register.

 

 

by | August 11, 2014 | 26 comments

26 Comments

  1. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Kneeling with you in prayer this morning Jennifer. Jonathan Cahn (author of The Harbinger) was a guest in our church yesterday, bringing sobering news, yet giving an impassioned call to pray for revival amongst God’s people. May we say yes to every opportunity to share with this aching world that Jesus is our only hope.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yes…. Saying yes with you, Caryn.

      Reply
      • Caryn Jenkins Christensen

        <3

        Reply
    • dukeslee

      Grateful for your friendship … for hearts that link over these miles. Love you.

      Reply
  2. lindalouise

    Thank you for this Jennifer. I’ve lost sleep – the images and cries flooding my heart and head. But God…and prayer. I have thought long and hard for months now about the power and wonder of prayer. This just speaks my heart. xo

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Linda. Glad to link hands and hearts in prayer with you. xo

      Reply
  3. Loved As If

    Yes. Pray.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks for being here.

      Reply
  4. Daniel Farrow

    1 Peter 4:12-19 & Hebrews 10:32-35 – Praying for our Brothers & Sisters in Chains folks. They really are our family! Jesus please break our hearts with what breaks your heart!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yes, Daniel. You’re a true prayer warrior, always leading with from the posture of prayer.

      Reply
      • Daniel Farrow

        Thanks Jennifer. I know that prayer is powerful, and I know its part of what God made me for. Jesus is worthy of our prayers.

        Reply
  5. Rubberducky2

    Sometimes all we can do is pray for the power to forgive those that persecute us, that bomb us, that prevent us from loving our enemies and ask forgiveness for our hatred of the squalor and hovels the press us to use then bomb those houses to rubble and kill our children, our wives, destroy our schools and make it impossible for use to do more than just barely exist.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you so much for your comment. For stopping by and praying with us.

      Reply
  6. Arabah Joy

    My heart breaks at the persecution that happens. I live in a place where it is common and the stories are sometimes too much to hear. Thank you for encouraging me today by remembering. That is what the scripture tells us to do “Remember.”

    Also, here’s a prayer guide for the persecuted. Lindsey includes it in printable form for easy use. http://theroadto31.com/2014/08/ways-to-pray-and-aid-the-persecuted.html

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Arabah Joy. I really appreciate your prayer guide, shared here in the comments.

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      Indeed. A beautiful sight, yes?

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you for sharing, Ai Boon.

      Reply
  7. marthaorlando

    Yes, prayer . . . more than ever . . . Thank you, Jennifer, for this most moving message.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      You are so welcome. Glad to be linking hands in prayer with you, friend.

      Reply
  8. Myra Tanner Boozer

    Beautiful prayer… I am asking for God to break the hearts of people who are sitting on easy street so to speak… Break us into pieces so that passion will arise in our hearts for the persecuted church and all the innocent that are suffering today…

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Grateful to have you here, Myra. So good to sit with brothers and sisters at the table and pray together — even at virtual tables.

      Reply
  9. Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you, Jennifer, for: 1) Articulating so clearly our thoughts and emotions surrounding the horrific events in the Middle East. 2) The scripture excerpts, like 2 Cor. 1:8 in The Message. (How incredible to think we are part of the rescue operation–through prayer!) 3) The reminder that our prayers matter very much, that prayer is the best work we can do.

    Reply
  10. pastordt

    I’m late, but I’m here. Thank you, thank you for this beautiful prayer, my friend. I join you in praying it.

    Reply

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