We met for prayer and communion this morning. Just a few of us. It probably looked and seemed so small and insignificant compared to what is happening in Parliament today. But it wasn’t insignificant because we were praying.As we walked in to the Chapel one person asked me “What should we pray for with regards to Syria.” So we read Isaiah 9:2-7
2 The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery
and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5 The boots of the warrior
and the uniforms bloodstained by war
will all be burned.
They will be fuel for the fire.
6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!
It gives us some vital clues about what to pray and how to pray.
We pray with confidence in the living, sovereign God who has already acted. These verses looked forward to the day when the Prince of Peace would come. The child has been born, light has shone in the darkness. In Jesus, God has acted to deal with sin and evil. So we pray and say thank you Lord.
We pray looking forward with hope. Jesus will come again. This means that a day is coming when there will be no more war. No doubt in Parliament, the phrase “boots on the ground” will be heard often. Well, one day those military boots and uniforms will be burnt. They will no longer be needed. Swords will be beaten into ploughshares. Peace will come. So we pray and say “Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly”
We pray to the one who is able to bring peace. It is right that we should pray and ask for peace in this conflict. It is also right that we pray to the Mighty God who is Sovereign, Just and Holy and pray that justice will be done.
We pray to the one who is “Wonderful Counsellor” and ask that he will guide the debate. We pray he will give David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn and all the MPs wisdom. We pray that they will not just speak today but listen. We pray most of all that they will listen to hear God’s wisdom.
We pray that all who are unsettled and frightened by events will turn to the only one who can give lasting inner peace, the peace that transcends all understanding.
Oh and we sang together. One of the songs we sung was the carol “It came upon the midnight clear.” It is a haunting song that describes the angels’ song of peace which we choose not to hear as the noise of war threatens to drown it out. Yet the last verse finishes with hope
For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.