There are friends of mine in England whose house caught on fire over the weekend, and who have lost almost everything they own. There are major health problems already in this family, and so many trials before this happened.
We are watching the news in horror tonight – seeing images of many neighborhoods that have been completely swept away by the tornadoes in Oklahoma yesterday and today. There are many children still trapped or killed in an elementary school. It is unspeakable tragedy, suffering, pain, loss, grief and devastation. How can we even wrap our minds around the enormity of the destruction? And it is still going on – there are still storms and maybe more tornadoes to come.
There are friends of mine across the world who have lost jobs and who are struggling to put food on the table this week.
There are about 10 million orphans around the world, many of them in countries where there is almost no provision for them – living in dumps amid garbage, trying to find food. Many of them living in villages in Africa where all the adults are dead from HIV/AIDS. There are many orphans and families in North Korea starving on the streets with no way out of the country to find food, love, shelter and comfort.
There are about 50 million unborn babies worldwide being killed each year by abortion.
There are millions of women and children living in fear of husbands/dads/step-dads/boyfriends who are abusive, violent, cruel and bent on harming those they are meant to love and protect.
There are millions of marriages that are falling apart – homes where hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy, rage, malice, divisions, selfishness, envy, lust, adultery, pornography use, drug/alcohol addictions and all manner of evil are destroying husbands and wives and children.
There are many people living in utter poverty in the world – billions of them – living on less than 2 dollars/day. There are people dying of starvation and from tainted water supplies and from lack of medical care.
There are billions that have never heard of Jesus or the hope He offers to them for them to be made right with God.
There are millions of Christians being persecuted around the world, living in fear for their jobs and their lives as they meet in secret to study, pray and worship – desperate for the Spirit of God to work. There are many Christians in prison for their faith in Christ around the world – being beaten and tortured as their captors attempt to force them to renounce Christ.
There are millions of Christians in America and Western culture who have no idea how spiritually destitute they are – who have adopted a form of Christianity that seems godly, but there has been no heart change, no move of Your Spirit in them, no rejection of the world. Forgive us for thinking that we only come to You to get “stuff” – avoiding hell and going to heaven. Forgive us for turning Christianity into a way to get our “ticket out of hell” – and then we live as the world does but we claim the Name of Christ. That is not Your path! Help us to understand that we come to Jesus to have GOD! You are our reward! You alone! Forgive us for trying to mix materialism, greed, selfishness and apathy about the poor and the lost with Your glorious truth. Forgive us for what we have done to Your Name and Your church. Purify us. Cleanse us. Many of us are living as if we can be friends of God and friends with the world. But Your Word declares that friendship with the world means we are enemies of Christ. What an incredibly dangerous place to be – to think we are close to You, to go to church every Sunday – but to be spiritually dead and without Christ and not even know it. We have a famine of Your Word and truth in our land. Give us ears to hear Your truth and new hearts, eager to step into Your light and to obey You and do what is right for Your glory, by Your power alone.
I can’t begin to calculate the human suffering that is going on in so many countries tonight.
Lord – I cry out to You! You are the sovereign One in heaven.
I want to fix all of these problems! I want to see everyone who is hurting be healed. I want to see every cancer patient survive. I want to see everyone who is battling marriage problems reconcile with each other and with You. I want to see every person turn to Christ and live in heaven forever with You. I can’t stand the thought of children abandoned and dying without love and without hope and without Jesus. I want to get on a plane and go to these countries and wrap my arms around these precious children and bring them home. I want to make the fighting stop and the wars cease. I want to cure all the diseases and give everyone good-paying jobs to provide food, medicine, shelter, clothing and other needs for their families.
But I am powerless to fix any of this, Lord!
And my wisdom is completely useless.
We lift up these needs – these desperate needs to You. How I pray for Your Spirit to move in Your people. Draw them to Your heart. Revive us. Give us new hearts. Give us hearts that hate worldliness and love You and love light and truth. Give us hearts that love orphans and the poor and the suffering. Mobilize us by Your power to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world and of those who haven’t heard the gospel. Give us Your heart, Your priorities, Your love, Your compassion, Your Spirit, Your power.
We lift up these precious lives and souls to You who are in the midst of storms, suffering, persecution, evil, temptation, sickness and trials. We ask for Your protection. We ask for Your supernatural provision and miracles. We ask for Your glory in the midst of these severe trials. Use Your people to provide many answers to prayer in these situations. Let us share Your love with the least of these. Empower and equip us to do what we cannot do on our own. Apart from You we can do nothing. Let us abide in You. Let us desire You above all else. Let us love You with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. From our love for You, let Your love for others come bursting from us.
Use us! Set us apart for Your kingdom’s work and use us to exalt Your Name and bring You great glory in our marriage, our families, our communities, our churches, our nation and around the world.
We put all our hope, trust and faith in You alone. Thank You for Your sovereignty. Thank You that You are in control – and that we are not. We love and praise You and pray that You will bring Your people to godly sorrow over our sins, to true repentance, and that we would surrender our lives to You – living with You as our LORD. You have given us all of Yourself. Let us give You all of us, holding nothing back. Let us love You with abandon, with great passion, and let us live lives worthy of Your Name.
In the Name and power of Christ,