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4 Ways to Pray for the World Right Now

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By Ken Keathley

By now, you’ve probably read the news that Qassem Soleimani, a significant Iranian military leader, was killed by a US drone strike. As followers of Jesus, we have the ministry of prayer.

Here are four ways we can pray:

1. Pray for our government and political leaders.

Paul tells us, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” (1 Tim 2:1-3 ESV)

Remember that Nero was emperor of Rome when the Apostle Paul wrote these words. If Paul could pray for Nero, we can pray for our leaders.

And we should pray for our leaders — regardless of their political party or whether or not we approve of them at a personal level. It’s to everyone’s benefit for them to make wise decisions and lead well. Pray for our President, his cabinet, and the Congress — especially in a moment such as this.

If Paul could pray for Nero, we can pray for our leaders.

2. Pray for our brothers and sisters who are directly impacted by the events in the Middle East.

One would never know it by reading or watching the typical American media outlet, but God is doing an amazing work in the region. Nowhere is this more true than in Iran.

Last Sunday, my church observed the Lord’s Supper. By God’s providence, I was seated next to an Iranian brother-in-Christ. He is a refugee who has fled from religious persecution in his own country. As we took the elements, I asked him to lead us in prayer, which he did. He first prayed in his native tongue of Farsi, and he then translated for us. He thanked God for the gift of Jesus, his only Son, and for the salvation his Son purchased for us with his own blood and body.

In the last 40 years, the number of Christians in Iran has grown from a few thousand to over a million, and may be the fastest growing segment of the Church anywhere in the world. Whatever happens next militarily, let us remember our brethren who are serving the Lord under conditions that are difficult for us to fathom.

3. Pray we would be faithful and calm.

Difficult times can incline us to operate out of fear. We must resist this temptation because, in the end, fear is an expression of unbelief. This time is actually an opportunity for us to demonstrate the gospel and to remain steadfastly on mission, and by so doing glorify our Lord.

4. Pray for the soon return of our Lord.

We don’t have to wonder if it is proper to pray in such a way. The Bible itself ends with the prayer, “Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20) The present circumstances remind us that the ultimate and only solution to the wars and rumors of wars of the present age is for King Jesus to return in the clouds. 

We don’t know what will happen next or in the immediate future. But we can have confidence in the providential control of our sovereign Father, and in the ultimate victory of his Son. These gospel truths provide a solid platform on which we can stand, praying earnestly and with assurance. 

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Ken Keathley

Director of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture

Ken Keathley is Senior Professor of Theology, occupying the Jesse Hendley Chair of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina where he has been teaching since 2006. He also directs the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, a center that seeks to engage culture, defend the Christian faith, and explore its implications for all areas of life. Of his writing projects most notably he is the author of Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach (2010), co-author of 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution (2014), co-editor of Old Earth or Evolutionary Creation? Discussing Origins with Reasons to Believe and BioLogos (2017), and editor of The Historical Adam and Eve: An Evangelical Conversation (forthcoming). Ken and his wife Penny have been married since 1980, live in Wake Forest, NC and are members of North Wake Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. They have a son and daughter, both married, and four grandchildren.

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