Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Prayer for Those Who Suffer
Psa. 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.
The Psalmist was writing and praying for his family and friends who were suffering in Jerusalem. He was interceding on their behalf and became very specific in his prayers. The city whose name meant “peace” was anything but peaceful. There was great need for peace and a sense of security. Their very lives were in danger and therefore he was willing to sacrifice his time as an intercessor on behalf of those he knew.
As God’s children we are inextricably connected to one another and therefore we pray for those who suffer, for the sake of the house of the LORD our God. We seek the good and sacrifice for our sisters and brothers.
As I watched the news last evening I was overcome with sorrow as I watched the suffering in Aleppo. Almost without a breath the news reporter went on to talk about the political sea-change in the United States. I have to confess that I was struck by the contrast and the way in which we could so easily shift from the one to the other. All of a sudden it felt like I was watching #firstworldproblems on the news in contrast with real problems. Reading today’s scripture I was convicted about my lack of intercessory prayer on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are praying for peace to come to their city.
While the Psalmist prayed for the peace of Jerusalem, for peace to come to God’s people in that place, we are called to intercessory prayer on behalf of those who are suffering as beloved children of the kingdom. Because of Christ, Christians in Aleppo are our brothers and sisters. Have we simply forgotten them as we have become so focused on ourselves?
There are many people in our world who are suffering today and God’s people are called to self-sacrificial service, honoring others above ourselves. Time in prayer is a gift of love which we joyfully give because of our participation with Jesus Christ and his mission to the world. In prayer our hearts will be broken for the things of God and the result is that we are motivated to reach out in love.
While many gather this week to give thanks, may we not forget to intercede for those who are suffering. There are brothers and sisters in Christ who will not be able to gather around a beautiful table and they need us to pray for them and for peace and security to come within their walls.
Lord, I pray today for my brothers and sisters who are suffering. Please, provide your hand of protection — your security and your peace. Amen.