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Father, we are asking you to touch the heart of the deeply divided country of Belgium which experienced such a shock that it came to a sudden stop on the 22nd March 2016.

Now more than ever this country, Lord, that has often been referred to as the cockpit of Europe needs Your hand at the helm, steering it forward, healing the wounds of the past, lifting the spiritual darkness.

Father, it was only in Your sight a moment ago that You saw six hundred Protestant congregations being destroyed by the Spanish Inquisition. And in a sense, Father, it’s as though the soul of the nation is still seeking subconsciously to recover from the reeling of that shock too. We are praying You will bring these things to stillness and to healing.

You saw those four hundred years until 1962 when the Bible was a banned book.

Father, people call it the crossroads of western Europe, and so we are praying that at this time of shock and enforced stillness many may choose and follow Your path.

For now, like the rest of us, Belgium faces a ruthless ‘Chaldean’ like foe which gave rise to Habakkuk’s intense and anxious dialogue with the Lord (see Hab. 1:5)

Yes Lord, we are praying for Belgium’s small and under resourced counter terrorist force. They were already exhausted and overwhelmed from trying to keep up with monitoring the movements of the large number of Jihadi fighters who have returned from Syrian training camps. Father, guide their efforts, protect them, inspire them we pray. Keep them from fear, or from making false moves.

Thank You for the threats that have been defused and the plots that have been foiled over the past few years. We give You thanks again for the Americans who tackled the gun toting terrorist from Molenbeek on the train. And even yesterday for the one device that failed to explode.

But Lord, we are asking You to look into the heart of the nation. Forgive the many sins of indifference and cruelty that blighted its past, especially in its colonial past in the Congo.

Then more recently, we are calling on You to lift the brazen spirit of increasing secularism that pervades so much of society; set a new compass path, Father God, for the nation, May it never be known, Father, as Belgistan, so much Father as a country that you are fashioning and forging under Your hand.

We are praying that You will raise up young people to love and serve You. For inspiring leadership, Father, for fresh and innovative ways of evangelism, reaching out to touch people’s hearts. For a spirit of worship, Lord. Lift the darkness over Belgium, we pray.

Let the legacy of those who have owned Your name in the past, and served You faithfully – let that legacy live on and take new forms. And thank You so much that You stoop to share in all our sufferings; You don’t hold us at a distance; You share them from within. And as we enter for a moment into the grief and insecurity that people are feeling, we cry out, Come Lord, to the very heart of this country; inspire the overworked social workers who are tasked with attempting to integrate Muslim migrants into the heart of the nation; let there emerge a truly international church, Lord, where different strands pull together and work well for You, we pray.

Lord, this is a time when Your word says that people will faint from fear of what is coming on the nations so we ask you to protect people from that fear and from  further attacks. Use all means to make Your name, Your kindness and Your saving power known.

In Jesus’ name we pray, comfort the bereaved and wounded; turn the hearts of the fearful and the traumatised the Source of Comfort, and bring a living touch from Heaven to many people’s hearts. May those who know Your name not be ashamed to name the name of the Lord Jesus and to declare His saving power.

We pray for unity in this country to be worked out, Father, in the divisions between the Flemish and French speaking communities, which have often been so acute. Where there is discussion as to whether they should be separate nations, Lord, overrule, we pray. Let Your purposes be established in the heart of the land.

In Jesus’ Name

Amen

Photo Brussels Cinquantenaire: by Marc Ryckaert (MJJR) – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20053065