Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Valley of Fear and the Grip of Grace

Written by: Scotty Smith

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise--in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Ps. 56:3-4

Heavenly Father, because of the Internet, the world feels smaller than ever, and the struggles and suffering of humankind are inescapably before us. When King David prayed this prayer, he was a prisoner of Philistines in Gath. As we pray, Father, here are some fear-producing storylines to which we awake today. We bring them to your occupied throne of grace, confident of your mercy and might.

Father we pray for those in the trajectory of Hurricane Irma. The destruction of property is one thing, the loss of life is another. Grant wisdom and protection for the tens of thousands on edge, and on their knees. We all feel more vulnerable in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the pillaging fires in California, Oregon, Montana, and Washington.

We pray for our brothers and sisters in North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan--the five countries where Christians are most likely to be singled out for daily persecution. Father, may your perfect love tame their fears, deepen their trust, and encourage their hearts. As they suffer, we suffer, because we are family.

We continue to acknowledge our fears about the threat of nuclear madness and war. Even as you number our days and bottle our tears, so you direct the hearts of kings--all of them. Father, we trust you to restrain evil and limit anarchy.

We pray with sadness over the growing divisions in the Body of Christ in our own country. Grant us grace to conflict redemptively, dialogue respectively, and love extravagantly.

Lastly, Father, you know each of us, and the stories, struggles and people that fuel our anxiety, worry, and anger--some as old as our childhood, others as new as yesterday's phone call. Center and settle us, and intensify our awareness of the grip of your grace and the reign of your Son.

How long, O Lord, before all things are put right, everything sad is untrue, and your glory will cover the earth? Come, Lord Jesus, come. So very Amen we pray, in His glorious and grace-full name.


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