NOTE: All the emails from this prayer challenge can be found here: leavenintheworld.com/9dayprayerchallenge. If you are joining us today, start wherever you feel comfortable. Remember — there is no such thing as too late. What matters is that you said YES, and the fact that you are here means you’re right on time. Please feel free to share with your friends and organize your own 9-Day Prayer Challenge!
DAY 4 Intention: Trust
For the fourth day of our prayer challenge, let us ask the Spirit to show us what we need to surrender in order fully receive the grace that is being offered to us today:
- Spirit, we surrender our fear, the fear that is so subtle yet so palpable that it’s hard to tell where we end and where it begins. Help us recognize the tactics of the Enemy, whose goal is to steal our joy, kill our spirits, and destroy relationships (see John 10:10).
- Spirit, we surrender our need to control, the control that feels like a clenched fist, clinging so tightly to whatever the world would have us believe is the only way out of this mess, as if it’s the only way we can stop feeling like fear will swallow us alive.
- Spirit, we surrender and entrust those we love to you, the ones whose faces we see and call to mind as we enter into prayer today. We pray for our children, grandchildren, and godchildren, nephews, nieces, and cousins; parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and godparents; brothers, sisters, and friends, and all who seek the peace that only comes from knowing You.
Reflection: False Gods
I remember when the Sandy Hook shooting happened in 2012 because my oldest daughter was just a newborn, only 1 month old. I remember standing in front of the TV as the images flashed across the screen, crying and rocking her, wondering what kind of world we had just brought her into. I remember thinking that I still had time while she was too young for school, time to have her home with me where I could protect her and know she was safe.
Five years later, as my oldest prepares to enter Kindergarten in the Fall, it is hard not to allow fear to dictate every single decision I make. Just days after the shooting at Parkland, there was a lockdown at a local elementary school because of a potential threat nearby, and it was a reminder that none of us is immune to the violence that has been taking place in our country. Some believe that the solution lies in armed guards and armed teachers, in choosing to pull our children out of public schools. I don’t know where to even begin trying to fix a world that is so broken.
What I do believe is that, at the end of the day, the control that we perceive we have is simply an illusion. It’s an illusion that keeps us spinning our wheels, keeps us distracted and constantly coming up with ways to stop the fear from bubbling up and boiling over, keeps us running to our respective corners and turning inward, focused only on protecting our own. The illusion of control seems so real that it keeps us from recognizing the Truth that it is only Christ who can set us free from the fear that consumes our country.
As we pray together today, let us recognize fear and control for what they truly are — idols and false gods that have taken the place of the one true God.
Let us stop feeding our fear and placing our trust at the altar of control, and instead allow God to fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts that only God can fill.
Let us remember that God is faithful and knows what we need before we even ask. We look to Scripture so that we might not forget that the God we believe in has been with us from the beginning, walks with us, hears our prayers and speaks to us even now as we pray:
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you (Isaiah 41:13 NRSV).
A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”(Mark 4:37-41 NRSV)
As we go forth, may this song lift up your spirits and bring you joy as it has mine: If I Tell God
If you struggle with fear and anxiety, try praying with these verses and use them to help guard your heart and calm your spirit: 33 Verses to Remind Us – We Do Not Have to Fear