Weaponizing prayer… through repentance

Events in the world today have been driving us to prayer lately. More than ever before, we are realizing that prayer is, indeed, a weapon. Not a weapon that kills people. But a weapon that can, in fact be effective against forces which are out to wreak havoc and destruction.

2013-10 IMG_4758 liz mill pond road phone sunset (Large)Sometimes we seem to think that prayer is more like a cell phone than a bazooka. When we are using prayer as a cell phone, we raise our voice to heaven (or, if in a pinch, we fire off the spiritual equivalent of a text message). Then we wonder, Was I connected? Was I in the zone? Was I breaking up? Do I maybe need to move somewhere in order to get a better signal? Did I misdial?

When we are wielding prayer as a weapon, we ask, “Did I point my weapon and shoot it?”

744px-Soldier_with_Bazooka_M1I don’t know from personal experience, but my hunch is that a bazooka is not “point and shoot” the same way a cheap digital camera is. So it’s important that it be handled correctly in order to hit its target.

Guided missiles can be knocked off-course by “jamming” the signal that is directing them. The world has a way of doing this as well. In battles like those in which we are engaging  – Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Palestine, North Korea – there are “mixed signals” all around: the world tries to convince us that the issues at stake are primarily “political” or “military” or “civilizational.” In such cases, it is clear that we need to know how to pray rightly, to not allow our prayers to be pulled off course.

One of the things that have realized is the significance of repentance. As we have engaged in more focused prayer in support of communities, particularly those of brothers and sisters in Jesus, which are under attack, in danger, or facing persecution this becomes even more significant. The more we have devoted ourselves to “battle prayer”, the more we have found ourselves confessing to God. We confess firstly as individuals before him… but also as a couple, as a family, as members of our particular community, as citizens of the US and as American evangelicals, and well as people who have personal identifications that cannot be ignored or factored out. We have identified ourselves with the “ن” that is being used to stigmatize Christians in Iraq, we have stood (and knelt in prayer) peacefully on Maidan in solidarity with those seeking dignity and opposing corruption.

Jesus Prayer-09We have sensed God leading us into what seems to take the form of a litany of confession that we believe reflects, simultaneously, our standing before God – not only as individuals, with our own burden of sin – but also as representatives and participants in ALL the corporate entities mentioned above.

Thus, we recommend this prayer of repentance (which is always a turning from and a turning to) for those who wish to properly wield the weapon of prayer, focusing particularly on areas where people, especially our brothers and sisters in Jesus, are experiencing war, hardship and persecution.

* * *

Eternal God,

As we lift our hearts to you on behalf of those facing hardship, war, and persecution (in _______) this day, we acknowledge our need for your forgiveness.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own love of self   and embrace your willingness to sacrifice for others.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own grasping after and holding onto power   and embrace your desire to empower others through us.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own readiness to speak loudly out of our own ignorance   and be willing to listen, discern and learn from others.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own thoughts of vengeance   and embrace your heart of mercy.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own self-righteousness   and embrace your humility.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own divisiveness   and embrace your call to unity.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own fears   and trust confidently in your providence and protection.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own willingness to attach labels to people, to be “respecters of persons”   and affirm instead your image and likeness in every person.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own selfishness   and be grateful for everything.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own harsh speech   and speak instead your words of grace.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own faithlessness   and place instead our faith in your provision.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own greed and glorifying of consumption   and embrace your generosity.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own complicity with evil   and embrace your holiness.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own complacency which says “We’re OK,” and “It’s all good”   and devote ourselves instead to advocacy for others (for whom things most clearly are not).

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own anger   and embrace your charity.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own prejudice   and embrace your openness.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own tendency to selectively present and “spin” truth for our own ends   and embrace instead your call to follow the truth, wherever it leads.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own harshness   and embrace your gentleness.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own despair   and embrace your hope.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own hostility   and embrace your ministry of reconciliation.

LORD, in your mercy, grant us grace and strength to turn from our own resentment and offence   and instead forgive others,   as we embrace your forgiveness of our own sins through the sacrifice of our Master, Jesus.

We pray in his name, and for the sake of his righteous, holy and just reign. May it be manifested quickly in our hearts, in our communities, and in the world, and particularly, we pray in (_______) this day.

AMEN.

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