In scripture we see that the call to prayer is often coupled with the call to be alert, sober minded and watchful.
In Colossians 4v2 we see that we are called to: “Devote [ourselves] to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
And to “be alert and of sober mind so that [we] may pray” 1 Peter 4v7.
We see the reason for this is given in 1 Peter 5v8: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
The reality is that we have a common enemy and adversary, the Devil, who comes to steal, kill and destroy our lives by destroying our relationship with God. He often uses our times of crisis, uncertainty, pain and suffering to do this, with his main weapon of attack being the lies he speaks to us and over us. He comes at us speaking lies about God, who he is and how he feels about us.
In John 8v44 Jesus says this about the Devil “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies”.
The Devil is always trying to fight against us with his lies. He may be trying to convince us that we don’t need God in this moment, and that we should rather put our trust in other things besides him because he is not dependable and trustworthy. He may be trying to persuade us that God couldn’t possibly truly care about us or love us, because if he did, we wouldn’t find ourselves in a global pandemic battling the difficulties that come with it. He would love for us to believe that God is far from us, has abandoned us, and is not the reliable Saviour we once thought him to be. Or that the sin that has been revealed in our hearts and lives over this time in lockdown means that we are now separated from God, that God has rejected us or turned away from us, punishing us at this time.
We see in scripture that we are in a battle against the prowling lion Satan, to believe the truth about who God is, that he is good and faithful and that we can depend on him in the midst of crisis and chaos. We are in a battle to believe that he loves and cares for us, never leaving or forsaking us, even when we experience pain and suffering. To believe that we are dearly loved children of God and that even when we sin we can turn to him and repent, finding forgiveness for our sins and a God who is full of grace, mercy and compassion. No matter who we are and no matter what we have done.
So how can we stand firmly against him in this season, resisting against the lies our enemy the Devil would love us to believe are true?
We see in scripture that we do this by devoting ourselves to prayer, and that prayer is a form of resistance against these lies. In prayer we resist the Devil, standing firm against him.
In prayer we can come to God, asking him to show us what the truth is as we behold him and spend time in his presence. As we give thanks to him for all he has done we remind ourselves of how he is trustworthy, faithful and dependable. How he has always been there for us and can be counted on in any situation or circumstance we find ourselves in.
In Philippians 4 we see that Paul calls the church to “stand firm in the Lord”. He goes on to say that we should not “be anxious about anything” but that we should “rather, bring up all of our requests to God in our prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks”. He encourages us by assuring us that as we do this that “the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep our hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.”
At a time when our hearts and minds can be bombarded by many things that steal our peace and lead us away from God, including the Devil’s lies, let us instead be a people who bring our requests to God in prayer trusting in him above all else. Finding rest and peace in the truth of who he is, giving him thanks for it.
PRAYER POINTS FOR THE WEEK:
Prayer for our Relationship with God
- We pray for followers of Jesus both in Harbour City and around the world, that we would grow in our relationship with God during this time.
- We pray that as followers of Jesus we would come to know God in new and different ways in this season. That God would reveal more of himself to us and show us different aspects of his character.
- We pray that even as the world around us shifts and changes, that we would continue to put God first in our lives trusting him above all else.
- That we would live lives that are God-centered, and dependent on him.
- We pray that we would continue to walk with Jesus during this time of uncertainty and fear, and that our faith would grow and strengthen.
- We pray against the schemes and lies of Satan to weaken our relationship with God, and to distract us from him.
- We pray that God would guard our hearts and minds against the Devil’s attacks. That God would reveal his lies to us helping us to see his truth instead.
Prayers of Thanksgiving
- We worship God for who he is: an altogether lovely, patient, kind, merciful, faithful, trustworthy, honourable, holy, just, strong, powerful and good God.
- We praise God, giving him thanks that through Jesus we can know him personally and intimately. That we can come into and enjoy his presence.
- We thank God for his incredible love for us. That he loved us so much that he would send his son Jesus to die for us so that we could be forgiven and reconciled back into relationship with him (John 3v16).
- We thank God that he is for us, that he cares deeply about us, and that despite the troubles we face in this world we ultimately have overwhelming victory in Jesus (Romans 8v31-37).
- We thank Jesus that because of him, nothing that we face in this world can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8v38-39).
- We praise and thank God that those who put their trust and faith in him will never be put to shame (Romans 10v10 and 1 Peter 2v6).
- We thank God that he is with us in the midst of this pandemic. That he does not leave us or abandon us in our time of need, but that he is a God who is near, who helps us, who strengthens us, and who holds on to us when the world gives way.
- We praise God and thank him for his love, faithfulness and commitment to us. That we can rest in him in a time of chaos and uncertainty being sure of the fact that he is our helper, our provider, our protector, our joy, our comfort and our peace at this time.
Prayers of Intercession
- We pray for revival in people’s hearts and lives.
- We pray that as followers of Jesus we would partner with God at this time to see people’s lives changed and transformed by the Gospel as we proclaim Jesus.
- We pray that people who are far from God, who do not know him, would come to know the depth of his love for them at this time. That they would come to know God as their Father in a deep and personal way.
- We pray for people who have walked away from God, believing lies about him, abandoning their faith, that they would turn back to God and would begin walking with him again.
- We pray for people whose lives are in turmoil that they would be drawn to God in this moment and would place their hope and trust in him and begin to live lives of dependence on him.
- We pray for the poor and for people whose livelihoods have been affected by the virus and the declining global economy. We turn to God for his help as our provider, and we ask him to regenerate the economy through the innovation and creativity of both employers and employees.
- We pray that people would be generous during this time, selflessly loving and helping others in their time of need.
- We pray for the world leaders, business leaders and church leaders, that God would give them wisdom, ideas and creativity to help the world navigate this virus successfully at this time, and that in doing so we would see God glorified throughout the world.
- We pray for those who are sick, that God would heal them and help them to recover from the virus quickly.
- We pray for our medical workers who are working tirelessly at this time to love and serve those who are sick. We pray that God would be with them, protect them and strengthen them as they go about their work.
- We pray that the spread of the virus would slow down, and that we would see this pandemic come to an end.