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
Dear heavenly Father, as the reach of the internet keeps getting bigger the world feels smaller than ever and, the stories and struggles of our spiritual family in Christ are much more apparent to us. More so than ever, we’re aware that we have brothers and sisters, all around the world, for whom this Scripture, about fear and trust, is a daily reality.
When King David prayed this prayer, he’d been seized by Philistines inGath. As I pray, Father, here are some other difficult, fear-producing storylines, we now bring to the occupied throne of grace—confident of your mercy and might.
Father, we pray for the Christian community in Egypt, which is undergoing a fresh round of persecution, while the not-so-civil war continues in that strife-filled country. Grant pastors wisdom for caring for the vulnerable flock, courage to your people in the face of evil, and grace for parents loving their children in the middle of such a terrifying crisis.
We also pray for our brothers and sisters inNorth Korea,Saudi Arabia,Iran,Somalia,Maldives,Bhutan,Yemen,Vietnam,Laos, andChina—the ten places in the world where Christians are most likely to be singled out for ongoing persecution. Father, may your perfect love for us in Jesus, tame their fears, deepen their trust in you, and empower them to love their enemies. We stand with them, and cry out in faith, “How long O Lord?” How long before Jesus returns to eradicate all evil and finish making all things new?
“What can mere mortals man do to me?” Plenty, but in view of who you are and what really matters, ultimately, very little. As these Christians live out your redeeming story, in nations which will one day be covered with the knowledge of your glory, give them the same grace and courage you gave Justin Martyr. When facing “mere mortal men” who would take his physical life, he responded, “You may kill us, but you cannot harm us.”
What but the gospel can create such a people, such joy, such trust? Strengthen and gladden our friends who live in harm’s way. Their labors in the Lord are not in vain. Things are not as they appear. Grant them supernatural peace and more-than-sufficient grace.
Lastly, gracious Father, we also pray our for friends on our streets and in our churches—brothers and sisters, and neighbors, who wake up today with hard medical reports, dwindling financial resources, and stories where mortal men have brought harm and are fueling fears. Bring the gospel to bear in profound, tangible, and obvious ways. And use us, Father, as answers to the very prayers we pray. How long, O Lord, how long? How long before all things are put right—the Day of no more death and dying; the Day your tear wiping hand will do its final work? So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ most glorious and grace-full name.