Prayer for Ukraine

Prayer inspired by Psalms 82-83

Oh Father, do not be silent, do not be still. Enemies are astir, raising their wicked hands against the people of Ukraine. With cunning, they conspire against the people you cherish. They say, let us destroy them as a free nation.

Defend the cause of the weak. Maintain the rights of the people. Deliver them from the hands of the wicked.

May the enemy be tossed like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes a forest, pursue the wicked with your tempest and terrify them with your storm.

Father, let Putin know that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

Amen

The 50 State Prayer Project

Like millions of other Americans, I have been praying for my country as its citizens become more and more divided. This month, a member of my small group told the rest of us about a call for intercessory prayer. She handed out several copies of the accompanying booklet, If We Will…Then He Will: A 50 State Prayer Project. The project began on the first of December with a 31-day preparation period including daily readings from the book of Proverbs. January 1, 2022 will be a day of prayer and fasting, followed by 50 days of prayer and readings from the book of Psalms.

The inspiration for the project is II Chronicles 7:14. After Solomon dedicated the temple, God appeared to him and made a conditional promise.

[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

II Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

The people behind the 50-state prayer project have taken God’s promise to Solomon as God’s promise to Christians. God’s plans for the people of the United States may be quite different than God’s plans for the people of Israel. Nevertheless, God promised to hear His people and followers of Christ are His people.

God’s promise to Solomon lists the conditions required to fulfill this promise: humility, prayer, seeking the Lord, repentance. As we prepare our hearts to pray for our country, we must humble ourselves, seek Him, search our own hearts and repent from the sins that separate us from Him.

In addition to II Chronicles 7:14, several days of preparation were spent reflecting on Ephesians 6:10-17:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

As Christians come to the Lord to pray for the souls of America, we should prepare for a spiritual battle with the full armor of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes fitted with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation.

When I think about the struggles of our country, it is easy to focus my ire on people who stir up trouble, people who spread lies, people who defame others. But Paul reminds me that the real battle isn’t against flesh and blood; it is against the spiritual forces of evil. Satan wants people to be divided. He is the father of lies.

I have been praying for my country since deep divisions became evident during the Obama administration. I don’t pray as consistently and fervently as I should. Praying with others across the country will add some needed discipline to my prayers.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 (NIV)

Lord, thank you for the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ, my savior. Thank you for the body of believers who have been called to pray. I pray that you will heal this land, a country that desperately needs You. As I prepare to pray with other believers, I pray that You will search my heart and reveal my sins. Help me to stay humble and to keep my eyes on You. I pray for wisdom and discernment. Help me to see others with grace-filled eyes.

If we will… then He will

Shamelessly Audacious

When he sees me writing, my husband often asks: ‘Are you writing about me’? My answer is always ‘No’ but today the answer would have been ‘Yes, I am.’ I am writing about him because a sermon on Luke 11 reminded me to be persistent in my prayers for him. And not just persistent. My pastor used the words shamelessly audacious.

Which of you has a friend and shall go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine on his journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give you anything’?

Luke 11:5-7

The friend may not give him anything just because he is a friend but because of his impudence he will rise up and give him whatever he needs.

An image that comes to my mind when I hear ‘persistent’ is a toddler tugging on his mother’s shirt, trying to get her attention. She does her best to ignore him but he keeps on tugging. With each pull he says, ‘pay attention to me. I want something. I’m going to keep tugging until you look down and listen to me.’

Father, I know that it is shamelessly audacious of me to come to you again and again asking you to save my husband. I have no right to ask you to redeem him. I knowingly married a non-believer. We are unequally yoked. You knew the path I would take in life before I took my first steps. You know my heart and you know his. You know why he resists. You know how to get through to him. Don’t let me be a stumbling block before him. Show him that he needs You. I ask because you love me and I know you love him too. Save my husband.

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Luke 11:9-10 (NIV)

A Prayer for My Family

Priscilla Shirer, the author of Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer, believes that Satan strategically attacks us and recommends that we write prayers to counter his attacks. I am still not convinced that the devil is behind my spiritual struggles but I do see the importance of praying strategically. So far, I have found every issue Priscilla has raised worthy of fervent prayer.

Strategy 4 – Against Your Family

He wants to disintegrate your family, dividing your home, rendering it chaotic, restless, and unfruitful (Genesis 3:1-7)

PRISCILLA SHIRER

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A PRAYER FOR MY FAMILY

Heavenly Father, before I bring my need, I will bring my heart. From the bottom of my heart, thank You for my family. From the day I was born, through all the ups and downs, my family has been a source of unconditional love, friendship, and joy. My family shaped who I am, teaching me, among other things, the value of hard work, perseverance, empathy, and faith.

Father, one of the most important life lessons I learned from my family is the power of forgiveness. For too many years, I resented my mother for things she did and did not do as a single parent. It was only when we almost lost her that I saw her with grace-filled eyes. I am ashamed for holding a grudge for so long. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to forgive mom before she died.

Lord Jesus, when any family member disappoints me, I pray that You will help me to forgive as You forgive me. Help me to see things from their perspective and to remember that we are all a work in progress.

Father, I pray that You will open my eyes to the ways I need to change. Show me how I can be more loving, more supportive, sister, wife, aunt and friend.

Father, thank you for my husband, my best friend for 34 years. Lord, sometimes he gets depressed and withdraws from me and I don’t know how to help him. You know what is on his mind and in his heart. Please help him with whatever he is struggling with.

Lord, I pray for the health and well-being of my large, extended family. Please protect my brothers and sisters and my nieces and nephews and my great nieces and nephews. Please guide them as they face their own struggles. For all my loved ones, I pray the words of The Blessing.1

The Lord bless you and keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you 
The Lord turn His face toward you
And give you peace
May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children and their children

Lord Jesus, above all else, I pray for the salvation of family members who do not know You, especially those who have outright rejected You. You know the names on my heart and I lift them up to You.

Amen

  1. The Blessing, Elevation Worship with Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes

A Prayer for Focus

I am studying Priscilla Shirer’s book Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. Priscilla believes that Satan is behind spiritual struggles and recommends that people of faith write specific prayer strategies to counter Satan’s attacks.

Strategy 2 – Against Your Focus

He [Satan] disguises himself and manipulates your perspective so you end up focusing on the wrong culprit, directing your weapons at the wrong enemy.

Priscilla Shirer

A PRAYER FOR FOCUS

Heavenly Father, before I bring my need, I bring a humble and contrite heart. I fall short of your glory and righteousness. You have shown me what is good, yet I know I am not the person you want me to be.

Lord, I have felt every degree of anger from mild annoyance to irritation to anger and rage. I get annoyed with people who don’t behave the way I think they should. I get angry at people who act selfishly and abuse and oppress others. I have blamed others for my problems and carried the heavy weight of resentment.

Father God, I know that Satan loves to instigate hatred and discord. He loves to see your people fighting and tearing each other down. Surely, he delights when I do not produce the fruit of your Spirit, when I am not patient and kind and gentle and in control of my emotions.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Father God, I pray that in my anger, I will not give the devil a foothold. Rid me of all bitterness, rage and anger, insults and slander, and every form of unkindness and ill will. Help me to be kind and compassionate to everyone, forgiving others, just as you forgave me. May my words be wholesome, helpful and uplifting.1

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.2

Father, thank you for all that is good and delightful and beautiful in this world. I pray that your kingdom will come and your will be done on this earth as it is in heaven.

Amen

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1. See Ephesians 4:26-32

2. Psalm 51:10 (ESV)