As I’m sitting here writing this there are serious, even existential, crises threatening several countries around the world, including Israel. I’m not going to enumerate, much less comment on them, because anyone who pays enough attention to the world around them to be reading a blog like this one is surely already aware of the dire situation we’re all in.
However, I will take a moment to point out that many of the scariest things which are happening seem to be having a particularly negative effect on children, and as a parent I find this very distressing. But you don’t HAVE to be a parent to also feel anxiety and distress about the situation and the apparent helplessness of our political leaders and even the Church to do much about it.
But I want to talk about what we CAN do about it and that is pray.
There are several Bible passages in which we are instructed to pray on a regular basis. A few of the more well-known passages include;
James 5:16; Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:1-2; First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Although it’s obviously not in the Bible, I also often think of an old hymn entitled “What a Friend we have in Jesus”. The first stanza goes like this;
What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
So, wherever you’re reading this, I ask you to do two things.
One, make a commitment to attend the prayer meeting at your congregation. Most congregations meet at least once a week, so find out when and where that meeting is and make a commitment to start attending it. You probably have other things to do on that day at that time but brothers and sisters, please hear me when I say that whatever it is you have to give up in order to start regularly joining others in your congregation to pray for the needs of your family, your community, your government and for the worldwide Body of Christ that you’re a part of, it’ll be worth it.
The second thing I’d ask you to do is to connect with organizations who pray for specific topics.
There are several organizations based in Israel which send out regular updates on the prayer needs of this country, including the ICEJ Prayerwave.
Another group I have a high opinion of is Moms in Prayer. If you’re a mother or grandmother or an aunt of children in school, this group, which has branches in over 100 countries around the world, will help you cover those children and their schools in prayer.
Finally, there’s a group for high school and college students which so far is mostly organized in the US but which is beginning to branch out internationally and it’s called Claim Your Campus. If you’re a young student and you want to pray for your school, this group can offer help and guidance.
There are many similar organizations which pray for specific needs and I encourage you to get involved with the ones which pray about the things that God has put on your heart.
Needless to say, these are just tools you can use if they’ll help you, but you don’t need them to start spending time in prayer every day by yourself. For that, having a specific time planned and set aside for prayer is an absolute must. If you don’t commit to that specific time, you probably won’t get much praying done. Having a special place in or near your home, whether it’s a “prayer closet” or a bench in a park or even just beside your bed can also help focus your heart and mind. Some people also like to keep a written journal of their prayer requests and many people find it helpful to have an open Bible in front of them when they pray as the Lord will guide you to specific passages which can guide and direct you.
But whatever methods, tools, guides, etc. you use to organize your prayer life, the main thing is to start praying daily and make it a priority. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we’ve run out of time and our own ideas, so it’s time to start praying to the God who is our only hope.