“We dare not take Your grace for granted”
Nations are complex entities! As we turn our hearts and prayers to France, we are not thinking of our favourite holiday destination, but of a country that, despite a rich Christian heritage, is proud of being staunchly, avowedly secular.
Many of the thoughts and insights in this send out from earlier this year remain relevant. You might also find the link to the Taize chant that you will find there an aid as you read these articles and then specifically as you move into prayer.
Ann Voskamp wrote this precious meditation for Paris in the immediate aftermath of the explosions.
In this piece I wrote in the raw aftermath of Lee Rigby’s murder on the streets of London it would be easy to substitute French names and places for the geographical terms that refer to the British Isles. We dare not take Your grace for granted.
As always, God is and will be working behind the scenes – see for example this article in The Week: Is a Christian revival starting in France?
This is our prayer, that the Lord will use even this atrocity on the streets of Paris to kindle not the spirit of revenge but a genuine work of grace and move of the Holy Spirit.
We are asking You, Lord, to raise up evangelistic voices to enable people to hear about You, and shepherds after Your own heart to lead people deeper into Your ways.
In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
The World Prayer Centre also calls us to pray:
Pray for Paris
The events of this weekend’s Paris attacks have changed Europe forever. We have all watched with sadness and wept with the people of Paris, for those who have lost loved ones, and those traumatised by this brutal attack on the city and people they love.
“Lord, have mercy on France and bring deep comfort to those who mourn. Draw close to those in hospital and bring healing”
France is a secular nation, where the Church is restricted, and it birthed much of the secular and humanist thought in Europe that set itself up against God. At the Bataclan concert hall on Friday night it was as the band Eagles of Death Metal were playing a song called ‘Kiss the devil’ that the gunshots started (see reports in The Sunday Times). In many ways France has given up on God. In Zephaniah, the Lord says “here comes upon you the day of the wrath of the Lord. Seek the Lord all you humble of the land, who do His commands; seek righteousness and humility. (” Zephaniah 2: 2-3) God has not given up on France. His cry is “turn to Me”, and “I will comfort you. I will give you peace in your hearts”.
“We declare God’s love for France. May your Church in France be equipped and enabled during this time of mourning, may many come to know you. May you bring hope.”
Great wisdom is needed at this time. As France responded with bombing ISIS strongholds in Syria, will there be ramifications? On social media, people are already pointing the finger at refugees.
“Lord, we ask for Your wisdom for world leaders and those in government and the security services searching for the right ways forward. For God to reveal intelligence to the French Police, Interpol and other security services to expose the works of the enemy and for His to light to shine.”
President Hollande said ‘this is a declaration of war’. We believe that war was declared by ISIS some time ago in the heavenly places. God wants to bless but Satan wants to bring evil, mayhem, murder and lawlessness. As the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Friday, “Lord, deliver us from evil”.
“We declare the Supremacy of Christ ‘who disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in Him’ over France. (Colossians 2:15) Protect our brothers and sisters on the frontline of this spiritual battle in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq*, Jordan and Iran, and provide for their basic needs. Change the hearts of the ISIS leaders and persecutors.”
This is not just a French problem. Europe was once the Gospel-sending centre of the world – now it is in desperate need of the Gospel again. The refugee crisis will become an even more complex and troubling issue. Jesus says “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” Matthew 25:35-36. We believe much of the spiritual warfare is because many Muslims are coming to Christ. Finally, pray:
- Prepare us Lord for the times that lie ahead – humbly, with compassion and grace.
- That the deep mercy of God and his grace will be revealed in every nation in Europe.
- Bless the refugees across Europe – may they meet with Jesus, their only hope.
- For the peoples of Europe ‘let them say among the nations – the Lord reigns.’ 1 Chronicles 16:31
*Baghdad has faced a spate of deadly car bombs and suicide bombings from ISIL militants in recent days, but these are rarely even mentioned in the western press now.