I have long been burdened for the people and nation of France, especially Parisians. But today, my heart aches in an unprecedented way. Amid a flurry of emotions ranging from confusion and anger to sorrow and hope, I’m compelled to reflect on my encounter with God in France, but most of all, to pray.
We had never visited France when we arrived 7 1/2 years ago to live there. For us, La France was the mythical land of wine and cheese and love and lights. It was all that and more.
But, the church struggles in France. A context of intellectualism and secularism reigns and the idea of faith in Jesus is foolish to most. And yet, the French are a gracious, creative people who prioritize the rights of the weak and the poor. We learned much about the heart of Christ from them.
Spiritually speaking, there is great need in France. There can be depression and sadness and hopelessness at times. There is great paradox in the City of Lights where darkness can often be seen and felt.
Today we wake up to true darkness: violence and murder on an unprecedented modern scale in Paris. Into this reality me must pray. And as we pray, we must pray as disciples of Jesus, remembering his Lordship and his way. Today we wake up to true darkness in Paris & as we must pray as disciples. #PrayforParis Click To Tweet
My friends are reeling but are hopeful. As disciples of Jesus, agendas of retribution and hatred are not their response, and should not be ours. Under the Lordship of Christ, God uses these moments as opportunities for us to respond with love, extending His presence to all, even those who do not yet believe. My friends’ heart cry mimics the Christmas Hymn this morning:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.
I invite you to join me in praying for the people of Paris and the nation of France:
God our Father, we pray for Paris and for France. We pray that peace, unity, and love would reign instead of terrorist agendas or violent reactions. We pray for Syrians who were already deeply criticized and who will be at risk. We pray for innocent muslims, Christians, and all people of faith who may be targeted for retribution. We pray for your church, that she may grow and be strengthened during this dark time and that you will inspire creative ways to love and serve in the midst of tragedy. And we pray that your kingdom would come and your will be done in Paris as it is in heaven. Lord, have mercy.