Prayers of the People/Intercession on War

Sermon Illustrations on War

God of all might and love, who has given us confidence to come to you with our petitions and intercessions, we bring to you the needs of the world. In this time of global ten­sion, when your children are taught to hate and kill one another, we pray for your Spirit to bring peace and recon­ciliation to all. Lead all people and agencies committed to international understanding to turn to the teachings of Jesus Christ for guidance into the way of peace, and inspire the leaders of all nations to prepare a way by which all peoples may walk together as one family under you. Amen.

A Manual for Worship, Ed. John E. Skoglund, Judson Press, 1993.

Father God–You invite us to come as a child to his/her daddy. You invite us to open our souls to You. You invite us to lay our desires before You. You are fond of us, Your children–so we come to You humbly, lovingly, yet confidently. We pray for your world–which You created and called “good”. Now we see it so riddled by war and hatred, infected with hopelessness and despair, confused, having lost its way, and refusing to walk in Yours. 

Shine Your light in the dark corners of the earth: Ignite your followers as lamps to show the Way. Encourage disheartened missionaries. We pray for our world and nation. Heal our land! Let Your justice roll down like a mighty river, to cleanse away injustice. Replace suspicion of neighbor with trust. Guide our leaders in Your ways, and give us all the courage to follow Your paths. Grant your wisdom and strength to our President, Vice President, Legislators and judges. Lord, Revive Your church in America! Make us all salt in a dying and tasteless culture. 

Make us light in places where night has fallen. And, pour out Your Spirit on this church–Empowering the ministry You’ve already given us and lead us in new avenues of reaching this community, and the World, with the good News of Your Son Jesus Christ. We ask Your comfort for friends and loved ones who mourn. 

Walk with them through the valley of the shadow. Give them Your peace which passes all understanding. We pray especially for … We pray for Your healing for those who are ill, injured, recuperating from or anticipating surgery: Heal them in body, soul and spirit. Protect them from anxiety; buoy them with hope. We ask Your healing grace especially for ….All this, and more, we confidently ask You to hear and grant, to the glory of Your Son, our Savior–Jesus–Amen.

Richard Herman

Lord—There’s nothing You call us to do that you don’t equip us to do.  You ask us to release those we care about to You–then You furnish the faith to give them to You who have the love and power to make a difference in their lives.  Instead of clutching, white knuckled, onto people and things, we can open our fists to let You take them into Your hands—strong hands, good hands, loving hands, nail-scarred hands. 

Lord—take those sick, injured and suffering into your hands.  Heal those who need healing.  Encourage those who need encouragement.  Strengthen the weak.  Comfort the distressed and anxious.  Forgive those who need forgiving—helping us all to forgive others, to forgive ourselves, and to receive Your forgiveness that heals.  

Lord, hold those who grieve close to Yourself.  Please put Your arm around them—and walk with them.  Give them a shoulder to lean on; an ear to listen to their grief; eyes to cry with them, and someone to go with them in and through the dark.  Jesus—as Lord of nations and Prince of peace—we ask You to move in the hard places of our world bringing hope to displace despair, peace to replace war, generosity to eliminate poverty, and the love in Your people who can share the Gospel in action and word with all who’ve never had a chance to hear the Good News of salvation.  

For our nation—make us more humble and less arrogant; more concerned for what’s true, just and best for all and not just for what’s pragmatic, self-serving and only good for ourselves.  And, Lord, please encourage Your people who live in difficult places where being a Christian is ever more costly—keep them faithful, and let them know they’re not alone.  Today, we offer a special prayer for those whose lives, livelihoods, and homes are in the path of wars, floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes—protect them, Lord. Give them strength—again—to endure and find refuge in You and Your people.  

For Your church—this church: give us a heart of real love for all, not just for those who are easy to love …not just for those like us in what they do, how they look and what they can afford; and not just for those who agree with us.  You love unconditionally—help us to love likewise.  We pray all this in the name that’s above every name—the strong name of Jesus.  AMEN

Richard Herman

Good and Gracious God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: we come to You as an impatient people filled with a multitude of desires and needs. We yearn for simple things–the arrival of warm weather, enough time for friends or family, a feeling of competence in our workplaces, the ability to have a day of simple rest. 

We also have desires that are more complex–that our national leaders would work for the common good, that the nations of the world would cooperate, that war would be no more, that children would be loved and valued, that women throughout the world would be treated as equal persons under the laws of any nation or village or tribe, that hunger and poverty would be eradicated. 

So, we ask, O God, that You would pour out Your grace this day on each one of us, that You remind us of Your love, and that You would replace any despair with the power of love. Today we rejoice with all who rejoice–in the birth of a child, the healing of relationships, financial provision, health restored, an opportunity for meaningful work…for all Your good gifts to us each day, we give You thanks and praise. 

We also weep with those who weep, asking that You would comfort those who grieve. We also pray for those who are ill or struggling with chronic conditions. We ask You to provide work for the unemployed. We pray for those who have no place to call “home” and for those in prison, for those with too little and for those with too much. 

We even pray for those we would call our enemies and ask for the gift of forgiving hearts. Lord, we see the Bible stories of mighty warriors contrasted with the peace Jesus brings. We wish there was no need for fighting, no need for defending, but we live in a fallen world. 

We long for the day where there will be no more fighting, no more sickness and no more tears. Until then, Lord, we thank you for those who have stood in harm’s way and who have given their lives to defend others. We ask that You bring comfort to the families of those who have lost loved ones while serving. We remember, as well, those who face struggles of any kind and thank you for all who step in to make a difference. 

For those who fight their battles alone, bring hope and help them find the support they need. If we are to be the ones to step into that gap, strengthen us. As well, today, we thank You for those who have gone before us in faith: especially those who conceived of a vision to build this place of worship where, year after year, scripture has been proclaimed, anthems have been sung, loved ones have been commended to your care, children received their first Bibles, couples have spoken their vows, your people have been transformed and commissioned and sent out. 

We pray You would enable us all to look to You for strength, comfort, and guidance. Grant us wisdom from your mind, courage from Your heart, and loving protection by Your hand…this day and always. We’ve been blessed, dear God, to share in this family of faith; and we humbly ask for Your guidance into the future for years to come. We pray these prayers in the name of Your Son and our Savior, Jesus. AMEN

Richard Herman

God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Lord of all our yesterdays, todays and tomorrows: thank you that we don’t need to be afraid of what’s coming because you’re already there ahead of us. Nothing takes you by surprise. Nothing confuses you or confounds you. 

There’s never a drop of sweat on your upper lip from anxiety, worry or panic. Therefore, trusting not ourselves but you, we open our hearts to your strength and love today, giving over what we can’t change so you can. 

For those ill or injured, anticipating surgery or recovering from it, for those who await test results or who are anxious for another: come, as our Healer; and dispel diseases of body, soul, mind and emotions. Speed recovery. Strengthen care-givers. Assuage fears and restore trust in your power. 

For those who mourn, whether grief is fresh or lingering: come, as the Resurrection and the Life; and console the grieving. Comfort and companion the lonely. Share in tears of sorrow and in laughter at remembering. Impart hope for this life, and hope for beyond the grave. 

For those with relationships coming apart at the seams; for families stressed by estrangement, separation, or divorce; for friends divided by anger; or colleagues separated by differences, for any alienated by sin from someone they’ve loved–Jesus, come as the great Mediator and Reconciler: break proud spirits–and replace them with humble hearts. 

Enable each to speak truth in love; to repent and to forgive; to be patient and gracious with one another and with their own selves. Restore them to the right relationship with each other. For peoples, countries and nations–including our own: come as King of Kings, as Lord of all and Prince of Peace. For those in leadership–give them wisdom from above; and the courage to do what is right, not just expedient or politically correct. 

In dangerous places and in war zones: Protect the innocent. Guard combatants, especially our own sons and daughters, from harm–and their families from fear and anxiety. Insure justice and mercy, truth and freedom, so the Gospel may flourish in hard places, as your people live safely there.

For missionaries and pastors, congregations and evangelists, who live your truth and declare your truth in hostile nations or among indifferent people: come as Light and Truth, with grace and love: keep your people faithful. Strengthen missionaries whose vigor flags; and encourage them when they’re discouraged. This is our prayer in Your name, Jesus. AMEN

Richard Herman