The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it, for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Saviour. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – he is the King of glory.
‘Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold’ (2 Corinthians 3:12).
God called Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, not to defend them in Egypt; to attack and defeat enemy nations, not to defend Israel from them. God sent Joshua to invade and conquer, not to negotiate detente. The Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, not to keep the church blessed and comfortable, but to make the church invincible. The weapons of your spiritual warfare, says Paul, are not defensive weapons, but weapons of attack. (Wesley Duewel, Touch the World through Prayer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1986)
We are not to ‘hold the fort’ until Jesus comes and rescues us; we are to storm the gates of Hell.
Do we pray in confident dependence on God in the current world crisis, where Christians are dying for their faith? Where man’s inhumanity to man seems to know no end? Where in the name of religion, militant extremists extinguish life without flinching?
‘The earth is the Lord’s!’...even as men try to destroy each other, and damage the planet in countless ways. As terror subsumes villages and people, as wars rage and greed is rampant.
With the psalmist I proclaim: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?’ (Psalm 27). God offers help for today and hope for the future. Unwavering confidence in God is our antidote for fear!
Lord, I remain in your presence and seek your direction as I cry out for my world:
‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God’ (Romans 5:1, 2).
Lord, I pray for my persecuted brothers and sisters living with atrocities I cannot comprehend or accept. Lord, teach me how to pray… (a time of quietness allowing the Lord to direct your thinking as you interact with him in prayer).
Lord, I pray for world leaders who respond to wars and the threat of wars. Grant them wisdom and intercede where human failing would create new or worsening situations… (a time for quietness etc).
Lord, I pray for people of faith that they will live according to the righteous, positive elements of their faith and not use religion as a label for extremist and hate filled behaviour. May we, who honour you, find ways to express Christian love while speaking against the unacceptable actions in the name of religion… (a time for quietness etc).
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Ephesians 6:10-18).
‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Romans 5:1).
The Monthly Prayer Focus is provided by the International Social Justice Commission