I’m sure you have been shocked and saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in many places around the world, but especially perhaps those in Manchester and London. In thinking about these events, perhaps you have asked, “How should Christians respond?”.
There are many things which could be said in answer to this question, but the most powerful thing which all Christians can do is to pray.
What can we pray in the face of terrorism? Here are a number of suggestions –
- Pray for those who are injured or bereaved. It is right for us to sympathise with those who have been directly affected and to pray for their physical and emotional healing. We should also pray that God will use these circumstances to draw them to himself to seek their own salvation.
- Pray for leaders, both in the UK and around the world. Ask God to give them wisdom to know how to govern and what laws to pass for the effective combating of terrorism; ‘I exhort therefore, that … supplication, prayers, intercession … be made for kings, and for all that are in authority…’ (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
- Pray for security and emergency service personnel. We should thank God for these people who do so much to keep us safe and care for those who are caught up in these dreadful incidents. Pray for their safe keeping and that they will be helped in carrying out their challenging jobs.
- Pray for a spirit of forgiveness towards those who have committed these atrocities. In the sermon on the mount Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ (Matthew 5:44). Although we cannot pray for those who have died in perpetrating these attacks we can seek to forgive them in our hearts and to pray for others who would support what they have done.
- Pray for those who encourage terrorism or who are planning future attacks. If we really believe that God is able to save anybody, no matter how sinful they are, then we should be praying that he will have mercy on those who spread terror, and turn them to himself. Before his own conversion the apostle Paul was really a terrorist towards the early Christians. God worked to change his heart and made him a preacher, evangelist, and the author of huge parts of the New Testament. No one is so wicked they are beyond the reach of God’s saving grace, ‘He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.’ (Hebrews 7:25)
- Pray for safe-keeping. God does not promise that his people will always be protected from these events. However, we can pray that God will keep us safe, watch over us and work all things for our good.
- Pray to be made ready. God is sovereign and sometimes his people do get caught up in events like the terrorist attacks we have witnessed. Whether we are kept safe from these situations or not, one day we must each die. So, above all else, pray to be made ready for that day now so that you are prepared when it does come, even if it comes suddenly. Don’t wait until it is too late. ‘Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near’ (Isaiah 55:6).