By Joy Allmond
On January 6, Americans watched in horror as angry mobs objecting to the 2020 presidential election results stormed the U.S. Capitol, overtaking police and inciting violence that left four people dead and a nation further fractured.
Amid the already challenging ministry climate, this harrowing catastrophe reminds pastors and church leaders of their calling to disciple people in biblical truth and to pray with and for their congregations. A few evangelical leaders wrote prayers for their churches, their communities, and our nation in light of the violent acts at the Capitol.
They shared those prayers with Facts & Trends to offer guidance to church leaders who must lead their congregations through this difficult season of division.
1. A Prayer for Faithful Gospel Witnesses in the World
Our Father in heaven, when we look around and our world is in chaos, the times seem uncertain, and hope seems lost, grant us the grace to live by faith and not by the sight of our circumstances.
Help us remember that You are on Your throne and in control of all that happens.
Help us remember that, by His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has conquered all sin, evil, and death.
Help us remember that You have exalted Jesus to Your right hand and have given Him the name that is above every name.
Help us remember that You have handed all authority to King Jesus, and He is already submitting all His enemies under His rule, even if some people still rage against God’s King.
Help us remember that Jesus is already uniting all things fractured by sin in Him, including fractured humanity, even if we still witness violence between people created in Your image.
Help us remember that because we are united with Christ and seated with Him in heaven, this world is not our home.
Help us remember that because Jesus is our King and our citizenship is in heaven, we are Your ambassadors and that the church is an embassy that displays Your kingdom rule and ethic to the world around us.
For as we remember these truths revealed in Your gospel, we will, “as strangers and exiles” in this world, “abstain from sinful desires that wage war against our souls,” and we will “conduct ourselves honorably among unbelievers, so that when they slander us as evildoers, they may observe our good works and will glorify you, Father, on the day of your visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).
We come before You, our Father, and make these requests in bold confidence, not in our own name or accomplishments, but in the name of Your Son, who is worthy of all our praise and deserving of our full allegiance.
Juan R. Sanchez
Senior pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church
2. A Prayer for Unity in the Church
Father, the challenges of these days are great and You remind us in Matthew 12:25 that “…Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Please unite us so we can stand.
Our adversary, the devil, seeks to sow lies, confusion and violence to divide us. In Your prayer for unity You said, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Please open our eyes, our hearts, and our minds and unite us in the truth.
The witness of Your Bride, the church, is diminished by disunity so You prayed, “May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me” (John 17:21).
Please unite us in love, hope, faith, truth, purity, peace, and kindness so You might be glorified through us.
God of grace and God of Glory, on Your people pour Your power, for the facing of this hour, for the living of the days, that we fail not man nor Thee. Unite us in Jesus’ name.
National Director of Black Church Ministries, Lifeway Christian Resources
3. A Prayer for Pure Hearts in God’s People
(A first-person rewording of James 4:1–9)
Father, forgive us for our actions as a nation for so many years. We have become miserable and embarrassed. We are mourning and weeping; our laughter has turned into mourning and our joy to sadness.
The source of our conflict is our pleasures that wage war in our hearts.
We lust and do not have, so we commit a bloodless murder toward those with whom we disagree. We are envious, so we quarrel. We do not have because we do not ask. Or, we ask and do not receive because we ask with wrong motives.
We have too often become adulterers, becoming friends with the world, which is hostility toward You. You are now reminding us that friendship with the world makes us Your enemy.
God, forgive us. Humble us before we become like Nebuchadnezzar, eating grass like cattle.
We submit to You, God, because You oppose the proud. Cleanse our hands and purify our hearts in the power and blood and name of Jesus.
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church
4. A Prayer for the Church to be Peacemakers
Lord, many of us are angry and grieved by the destructive events on display at the U.S. Capitol, including the loss of life. We also recognize these are not isolated actions in a vacuum and were incited by hostile and divisive rhetoric.
This national divide along ideological lines seems as wide as ever and only growing. I personally confess that there are moments when I feel little hope that things will get better.
Yet, even as my faith wavers, I find hope in the God who is not daunted by the darkest evil. You are a God of justice in the business of showing off in the midst of that which would seem to crush us.
We ask that as the enemy sows seeds of confusion, the light of Christ would shine that much brighter in truth. Remind Your church of our call to be peacemakers. In this time of national division, may You raise up bridge builders who sacrificially love our neighbors, as far as those neighbors may feel from us.
This requires a supernatural love, and we thank You that Jesus is His name. May the power that transforms enemies into family radiate through the people called the church.
Lead Pastor, The Village Church
5. A Prayer for our Nation and Its Leaders
Lord God, our nation feels the weight of enduring and emboldened bitterness and division. We watch in real time the curse and reproach that sinfulness and foolishness bring upon any people.
The grievous, public offenses at our Capitol bear witness to the personal corruption of our hearts and waywardness of our lives.
We have sinned against You and one another. As Your people, we’ve failed to nurture and reward the character that Jesus produces. We have fallen short of modeling the humility of a servant.
We have used words to crush those who oppose us. And too often, in the name of personal rights, we have failed to love our neighbors as ourselves.
No longer are we salt and light, witnesses of the glories of Jesus and the power of the gospel to save sinners. Instead, we have become dissatisfied with Jesus, perhaps even bored with Him; and we have instead pursued the alluring and hollow idols of power and influence.
We confess, O Lord, that even in our sincere attempts to preserve the faith once and for all delivered to the saints, we have often failed to trust You and rely on Your Holy Spirit’s presence and power to accomplish Your eternal purpose.
Please, forgive us.
So today, we ask that You raise up a people from the lot of the prophet Daniel and his three friends. Would You, O Lord, create in us a clean heart that will seek Your kingdom first with an unswerving commitment to Your glory among the nations?
When we’re confronted with persecution that comes and injustices that are surely still present, may the Fourth Man of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace show Himself strong to deliver us for Your glory?
But even if You choose to let us suffer or even perish for Your namesake, may we do so with godly dignity and with our gospel testimony fully intact.
Finally, Lord God of Heaven, we pray for our leaders and all who are in authority. We pray for their repentance where that is the need of the moment and for their resolve where that remains their need.
We pray for their welfare as we pray for our peace and safety of our nation so that in the very next days to come, the church of the Lord Jesus will return to You, the gospel will go forth with power, and our neighbors will be transformed by the redeeming work of Jesus Christ to the glory of God.
Senior Pastor, Green Hill Church
Mt. Juliet, Tennessee
Joy is the executive communications manager at Lifeway.