Gracious Lord God, we come to You for mercy, guidance, wisdom, and grace. Those are all great words Lord, but they really are what we need to sustain our life, and make sense of the things happening in our world. Not only is the rate of change increasing in science and technology, but it is also increasing in the evil confronting us all. Father, we believe that You have had pity upon our fallen condition and come among us in Your Son, Jesus Christ. We hold to our faith in Him and in the sacrifice He made on Calvary, shedding His blood that we could be forgiven and cleansed. Yet, Good Lord, this is a truth that is under attack both here and abroad. From the shootings in Oregon to the beheadings by ISIS, people are suffering and dying for the name of Christ. Lord have mercy on all those involved. Surround those families with a depth of Your love. Help them to feel Your peace in the midst of their tears, and the assurance that death is not the final word. We also ask, Father, that you strengthen us in our faith so that we stand the test wherever we are called to give account for the hope that is in us. We pray against the powers of darkness that would try to destroy this faith, and declare the truth that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Again, Lord, we ask for your mercy, guidance, wisdom, and grace to sustain us and the whole of Your Church throughout the world. We ask this all in the precious name of Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord. Amen.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Father, we begin our prayer with the Kyrie because we are completely dependent upon your mercy and grace. We are broken people living in a broken world. We have gone far from your holy will, and in so many areas of life are reaping the consequences. Yet we know You to be a God of grace whose arm is not shortened so that it cannot help. We also know that you care about us, Your creation, and it Your desire that all people come to you and be saved. We come to You for ourselves, and the wisdom we need for daily life. But even more, Father we come to You for our brothers and sisters in Christ in various parts of this world who are suffering and dying for their faith in Christ. Uphold them, strengthen them in their faith, and assure them of Your everlasting presence. And Father, we pray for those in ISIS, Boko Haram, and other who are causing these persecution. Take resentment and hatred from us. Do not let it lodge in our hearts, and somehow by Your Spirit touch the hearts of those who seek to do evil. We come against the powers of Satan who motivates these. Bind his power and that of his minions from influencing people toward sin. Gracious God, as we pray for the persecuted church we also pray for ourselves that our own convictions would be so strengthened that we are willing to stand by the truth of Your holy Gospel no matter the cost. Lord, as we see You work in our own lives, and in places around the world our desire is that Your name be glorified now and forever. We offer all this in the blessed name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Amen
We are in a spiritual warfare.
St. Paul writes, “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.”(Ephesians 6:12) St. Peter confirms this by saying “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”(I Pt.5:8) Don’t ever discount these warnings. The devil is a real enemy seeking to destroy all that God created for good.
Much of the evil we see around us in the world is due to the lying influence of Satan and his demonic spirits. I know we don’t like to think this way, and most of the “modern enlightened” world discounts the reality of the devil and his influence. Nonetheless, it is very real, and the source of much of what we see taking place. Think seriously about this before you dismiss it out of hand.
From before creation, when Lucifer, the glorious archangel, heard the plan of God to create mankind, his pride led him to rebel and do everything possible to destroy this new work of God. After all, mankind was to be created in the very image of God, and would ultimately be higher than the angels. He could not let that happen. He has been in opposition to God ever since.
A defeated foe:
God will complete all that He intended for mankind. He provided redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. At the cross and the empty tomb Satan’s power over death was defeated. However, until Christ’s return, God allows him to test His people, even as He did with Job. Yet, always within the limits God sets. We are tempted by the ways of the world, by our own sinful flesh, and by the influence of the devil. I use the word “influence” because he cannot make us do anything. But he uses lies, half truths, and beautiful images to influence us to sin. He also has influence in all the various rulerships of this world. Paul taught that we are not unaware of his schemes.(II Corinthians 2:11) Though I’m afraid most people are.
We are not to fear the devil. We only have the right fear of our Lord. We have the assurance that “greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world.”(I John 4:4) but we must understand and have the proper regard for the forces that oppose us.
Some church denominations have sanitized or removed hymns from their worship that speak about warfare, like “Onward Christian Soldiers” or “Soldiers of Christ, arise”. Yet, Christians are in a real spiritual battle, and, as being prepared for any battle, we must have the right equipment. The equipment God has given us is sufficient for our needs. Paul wrote, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”(II Corinthians 10:4) In Ephesians 6 Paul pictures a Roman soldier in the various part of his armor likening them to the spiritual armor we are given. Those six pieces are worth our continuing study.
There are two particular aspects of our equipment that need emphasizing. First, we govern our own lives in the righteousness of Christ, and with perseverance. Jesus has paid the penalty for all or our sins. In Him we wear the white robe of Christ’s righteousness. Now we are called to live in that righteousness. We govern our own lives so that our witness reflects the love and truths of our Saviour. (See II Corinthians 6:3-10) We can’t show the world that there is a better way of life if that way is not seen in us.
Second, and the reason for this blog, is a call to prayer. Prayer is a powerful weapon against the wiles of the devil. I seek to post on this site prayers that I invite you to pray with me. These are prayers, not for our personal needs, but for opposing the strongholds of the devil. Whether it is the persecution of our brothers and sisters in various lands, the senseless killings in our country, or even the foolishness and lack of wisdom in many of our political leaders, these are areas we need to attack with our earnest and persistent prayers.
Our Lord’s return:
We are in this battle until our Father again sends His Son among us as He promised. He alone will bring the right conclusion to all the trials we face. Part of our continuing prayer is to implore our gracious Father to send Him quickly. We, the Church, are the Bride of Christ, and our rightful place is with the Bridegroom. Until He comes let us be about our work as diligent servants and soldiers of the Cross.
May our Lord bless you daily with a depth of His grace and strength.