It seems daily we’re assailed by harrowing reports of conflict, hatred, and violence between people, both here domestically and abroad. These events are heartbreaking, disturbing, unsettling.
The hatred and violence between people is proof of the fallen condition of humanity. If nothing else convinces us that we human beings are deeply sinful and need a Savior, these traumatic events should.
The well-meaning efforts of people to bring peace to this extremely troubled world can only go so far. As believers in Christ, what should our reaction be?
The Lord Jesus told us that we should pray and not lose heart. If there ever was a time for us to pray, it’s now.
For what are we to pray? We’ll discuss two matters to pray for in this post.
In Matthew 6:9-13 the Lord teaches us how we should pray.
“Our Father who is in the heavens, Your name be sanctified; Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
The first part of this prayer is related to God’s need, and the second part, to our need. We’ll focus on the first part.
Today God needs us to pray for His holy name to be sanctified, for His kingdom to come, and for His will to be done on earth, just as it is in heaven. In the midst of the world’s cursing of God’s name and the rebellion of sinful mankind against God, He needs us, His believers, to pray in such a way.
Note 1 on verse 10 in the Recovery Version helps us understand why we need to pray this way:
“After the rebellion of Satan (Ezek. 28:17; Isa. 14:13-15), the earth fell into his usurping hand. Thus, the will of God could not be done on earth as in heaven. Hence, God created man with the intention of recovering the earth for Himself (Gen. 1:26-28). After the fall of man, Christ came to bring the heavenly rule to earth so that the earth could be recovered for God’s interest, so that the will of God could be done on earth as in heaven. This is why the new King established the kingdom of the heavens with His followers. The kingdom people must pray for this until the earth is fully recovered for God’s will in the coming kingdom age.”
In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 the apostle Paul also urged us to pray, saying,
“I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men; on behalf of kings and all who are in high position, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and gravity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of our Savior God, Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the full knowledge of the truth.”
Note 1 on verse 4 says,
“We should pray on behalf of all men (v. 1) because God our Savior desires all men to be saved and know the truth. Our prayer is required for the carrying out of God’s desire.”
Today we should pray for God’s need: for His name to be sanctified, His kingdom to come, and His will to be done on earth. We also should pray for mankind’s need: for our relatives, friends, neighbors—all men—to be saved and come to the full knowledge of the truth.
In Matthew 6 we have the Lord’s teaching us to pray for God’s need for His kingdom. In the same book, we also have the account of the Lord’s appearing to His disciples after His crucifixion and resurrection, commanding them with a particular word:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Here the Lord Jesus commands us to go preach the gospel to everyone, to all the nations. As we do, we go out with the Lord’s authority and with the Lord Himself, who is with us always.
Note 2 on verse 19 explains the result of our going to preach the gospel to unbelievers:
“This is to make the heathen the kingdom people for the establishing of His kingdom, which is the church, even today, on this earth.”
Speaking to people about the Lord Jesus and leading them to receive Him as their Savior is the greatest help we can render to them. By receiving Christ, people can receive the divine life of God to become His kingdom people and be delivered from this Satan-corrupted world.
People need us to go to them with the gospel
In John 10:10 the Lord Jesus said of the devil, “The thief does not come except to steal and kill and destroy.” Satan began his evil activity on mankind in the garden of Eden, when he deceived and poisoned Adam with sin, bringing in the fall of the entire human race. Since then and up to today, Satan has not ceased to carry out his vicious mission to steal, kill, and destroy the precious humanity God created for His own purpose. Today’s terrible events are evidence of his work.
People may not realize that what they’re witnessing are the evil doings of the thief. But they are distressed by the continuing incidents of ever more violence. They can’t help but be anxious and fearful. They despair of there ever being an improvement in the world’s condition. They feel shaken, having nothing solid to stand on or any hope to cling to.
They need the gospel of Jesus Christ, to know Him and His salvation. How can we who do know the Lord Jesus withhold from them the good news of the Savior?
The Lord Jesus speaks of the devil and his evil activity in John 10:10, but He doesn’t stop speaking there. In contrast to the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy, Christ says of Himself: “I have come that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” What a gospel this is! The Lord Jesus is the Almighty God Himself who became a man through incarnation. He came to this dark world and fallen human beings to give us life—eternal, divine life. Because of Jesus’ perfect human living, death, and resurrection, we damaged human beings can have divine life, even abundantly.
People see the horrific acts of violence in the world, but they need to see something else—the wonderful Savior of the world. In John 10:11, Jesus says, “I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” The lost sheep of the world need to know Jesus as the redeeming, life-giving Shepherd.
God needs our prayer to bring in His kingdom and His will to the earth. People need our going to them to tell them of the good news of Jesus Christ so they can receive the Savior to have eternal life and become kingdom people.
May the Lord increase our prayer for His kingdom and His will, and increase our speaking to others the good news of our Savior, who is the Desire of the nations and the hope of all mankind.