Houston pastor Mike Ayers wrote this prayer today in the midst of his city's devastation. We are honored to publish it and hope you will join with us at FTC and Midwestern Seminary in echoing his prayer. - Ed.
We are experiencing unprecedented crisis and chaos in our beloved city. Right now, all over social media you will find people telling others that they are praying and asking the nation to pray for the people of Houston. How are we to pray? The Scripture is clear on ways to pray in times of distress. As I’m praying, below are my requests to the Father and I thought I’d pass them along to you.
We should pray all three of these petitions below -- not just one. This is important. Praying all three allows us to seek the activity of God in all this and yet to display deep trust in God to work as He chooses for His glory.
1. Pray that God would calm the storm
Time and again in the Bible God supernaturally intervened into the natural world. Jesus himself calmed two raging storms. These miracles were for the purpose of revealing Himself to mankind and displaying His power as evidence of His authority and control. The ultimate goal was that people might witness God’s glory and turn to Him in a loving and trusting personal relationship. Do you believe that God has the power to calm this storm? He absolutely does!
Prayer: Pray that God would bring glory and people to Himself by miraculously calming this storm and saving lives. Acknowledge before God His power to act and intervene in the strongest of storms and pray that as He does, people will recognize His power, glory and love.
2. Pray that God would help us endure the storm
It is not always the will of God to relieve us of suffering. This is a difficult truth for many to grasp. Since the fall of man, we live in a sin-stained, volatile and unpredictable world which contains disasters, illness and calamity. While it is legitimate and proper to pray for what we want, we should always submit our desires to His will and His way and seek answers to prayer that will bring Him glory in this world. Remember how Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his crucifixion? “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) In His sovereignty, God would use the storm raging within Jesus in these last hours of His life for a redeeming purpose. Jesus’ prayer changed from “rescue me” to “strengthen me”.
Prayer: If God chooses not to remove the physical storm, He has the ability to calm the raging storm within us to provide peace, strength, guidance, comfort and inner power unlike ever known. Pray that if the storm remains, you and others will experience a spirit of endurance and a “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Peace in the middle of a storm might be the greater miracle of God.
3. Pray that God would use the storm
As bad as it is, the storm and the physical needs surrounding it are secondary to what God seeks to do in the hearts of people. God is able to use terrible situations for redeeming purposes (Romans 8:28), i.e., to work very good things from very bad things. Storms like this can unleash kindness and selflessness, acts of heroism and hospitality (Texans are amazing like this!), and we can see the potential for God’s goodness within human beings and love for others.
With all the division going on in our world, and all the attention given to it, is it possible this storm could be used by God to be a witness of all races and ethnicities coming together to love and assist each other and display the truth that suffering knows no color, nor does human compassion? Wouldn’t that be a great good to come from this tragedy?
Beyond this, the ultimate good that God seeks to do through suffering is to change the hearts of people in relationship to Him. Even those skeptical about God feel their own limitations and inadequacies during a time like this and come to recognize how little control we have in this life. Believers who tend to think God exists for only their comfort and convenience are awakened to a God who desires something deeper than being their genie in a bottle.
Prayer: Pray that God would use this storm for life-transformation. Pray that it would come in the form of racial healing, compassion for all, and most importantly that people would turn in saving faith to a Father in Heaven who radically loves and who brings us into unity with one another. Pray that God would use this storm by using you to see others and minister to them in Jesus’ name.