At this critical time in our nation’s history, it is imperative that Christians join together in prayer for our troops who wage war against a merciless enemy. This column is designed to offer suggestions on how to effectively pray for our troops, our leaders and our nation during this time of war and social unrest.

Praying for our troops

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7, NKJV).

I often reflect on this verse when praying for our military personnel now fighting for the liberation of Iraq. It is comforting to know that God wants to guard and deliver those who trust Him. That is why it is so vitally important that Christians blanket our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in prayer.

I was heartened to witness a variety of news reports documenting the many worship services that were taking place prior to the military campaign into Iraq. One very moving photo showed a young man being baptized in a modified pool there. Baptist Press also showed a young technician being baptized in a munitions crate aboard the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman.

Many of the men and women fighting to liberate Iraq are Christian brothers and sisters. In fact, several Liberty University students and graduates are now serving in the region as chaplains. I am confident that these individuals – and many others – are standing as outspoken representatives for Christ in the midst of battle. I have been praying that many American service members come to know Christ as Savior while serving their nation.

Let us also continue to pray that the Lord will safely deliver our troops to their families and friends who await their return. And may our nation welcome them home as heroes when they return to us.

Praying for our leaders

Earlier this year, President Bush said, “We pray for wisdom to know and do what is right and we pray for God’s peace in the affairs of men.”

Since our nation’s founding, many of our leaders have sought God’s hand in human endeavors. We continue to call on Him to direct our leaders.

In his “A Prayer for America,” author Max Lucado beautifully expressed his hope for the nation in the wake of Sept. 11: “Let your mercy be upon our president, vice president, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain. Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe. And look kindly upon your church. For 2,000 years you’ve used her to heal a hurting world. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.”

I Timothy 2:1-2 tells us: “Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

Our responsibility is to support our leaders in prayer. The Bible recounts times in the past when God’s people did not take this responsibility seriously and the consequence was often the rise to power of evil monarchs. I encourage readers to honor President Bush and the members of his administration with your faithful prayers.

Praying for our nation

Proverbs 14:34 reminds us, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

This is why it is so vitally important that Christians become involved in the democratic process. It is essential that we vote for leaders who will uphold Judeo-Christian values.

Anne Graham Lotz, appearing on CBS’ “Early Show” on Sept. 13, 2001, discussed the importance of prayer in sustaining our nation. She noted that God is “emotionally involved in our pain” and that He “can bring comfort beyond human understanding.”

During this time of war and potential terror, many people are asking important questions about life and personal peace. Christians must be ready to provide appropriate answers that point people toward the outstretched hand of Christ. This is how true revival can begin in our nation.

Furthermore, if we are to be involved in instigating a spiritual reawakening in America, we must look to Ephesians, chapter five, to make sure that we, as Christians, are living as true examples of Christ.

Don’t grow weary in well doing

I would encourage Christians everywhere to continue to diligently pray for our troops, our leaders and our nation. No matter how dark the hour may seem, God continues to hear and answer our prayers. Galatians 6:9 tells us how important it is to be persistent in our Christian efforts: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”


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