Jesus knows exactly what we need to pray, he taught us what to pray in Matthew 6:6-9. The familiar words of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ take on a fresh meaning and power when prayed into and over the darkness of war.
Our Father, we want to lift to you our brothers and sisters in Christ, facing unimaginable fear, pain, loss and turmoil because of war, whether wars at the forefront of the media, or unseen, under-reported situations which are a daily reality for many in our world. Thank you that we are children, together with them, of a loving Father. Protect your children, Father. Comfort them. Answer them. Strengthen them and give them courage to be like Christ in the different situations they face.
We are glad that unlike an earthly father, you are our Father in heaven. You are seated in the place of all authority, sovereign over everyone and everything in this world, the undisputed Ruler. And you are perfectly good, just, loving, merciful and kind. We thank you that you are able to help. We ask that you restrain the hands of evil men, and that you would bring a swift end to warfare and restore peace to those countries impacted. When we feel overwhelmed with fear at the power of the enemy, help us to look to you our stronger, all-powerful Father.
We long that your name would be hallowed, held in high regard by all. We long that all people everywhere would recognise and submit to your authority. We long for the day when all evil will be judged, when justice will finally reign, when your name alone is exalted and all other names will bow before you. We long that many in our world would come to acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, even through the horror of war.
We long for your kingdom to come and your will be done. We are tired of living in the dawn, where your kingdom is just glimpsed. We long for your kingdom to keep advancing until the full light of day, when all darkness is destroyed, defeated by your glorious goodness, when your perfect will is perfectly done so there is be no more injustice, inequality, oppression, terror, death, mourning, tears or pain.
Give your children daily bread. Please provide fresh water, access to health care, and other necessary provisions and aid. Please would it be distributed fairly and not hoarded by the powerful and priveleged. Strengthen churches in war torn areas to be places of refuge and healing for those with broken hearts and lives. Please would many more be brought into your family through the witness of your children at such a terrifying time.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. We recognise that war started inside each of us as we rebelled against you. Please forgive us. Thank you that because of Christ’s death we can be forgiven for the things we have done wrong, the things we regret, the things we feel guilty about. We confess these to you and repent. As we have been forgiven so much, help us to forgive those who sin against us. Thank you that to forgive does not mean the wrong is taken away, or covered up, or minimised. You see all the harm that sin does, and we worship you that you will judge, you will punish evildoers, you will pay back those who have done harm. Please help your children to entrust that to you and to be freed from harbouring bitterness and resentment.
Lead us far away from temptation, please do not let your children be swayed, weakened, coerced or forced into doing what is wrong. Fill your children with your Spirit to be strong and courageous. Deliver your children from evil, from the horror and terror of war, from the hands of the enemy. Please deliver your children from all the evil that threatens, oppresses, harms and terrifies.
We are so so glad that the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Though it doesn’t feel like that right now we thank you that it is and always will be true. Help us to keep our eyes on this truth when we feel afraid. Amen.