By Janet Thompson, Crosswalk.com
Many characterize the current chaotic fiasco occurring on the world stage as “dark times.” In America, there’s a crisis at the border, lawlessness in our streets, wokeness instead of greatness, inflation, racial division, Marxist Critical Race Theory in schools, young children sexualized in schools and public libraries with a lie that they can change their gender. Wrong is called right and right wrong, just like the Bible told us would happen during dark times.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Isa. 5:20
Sometimes, we want to stay in bed and hide under the covers hoping it will all go away, but God wants his people to be a light in this darkness. Complacency is like the morning fog that moves in silently to obscure the sunlight. Through prayers, praise, and spiritual empowerment, God will use us to overcome the darkness of this world that can envelop us in hopelessness and despair if we let it. Instead, God says in Ephesians 5:10-11, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”
So God doesn't want us to succumb to the darkness, but instead to expose dark deeds by letting the bright Light of Jesus shine into the bleak darkness. Here are 4 prayers to help us be that light in dark times regardless of circumstances.
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1. Pray for Those Stumbling in Spiritual Dark Times
Lord, Father of light and everything good, secular beliefs and carnal deeds are rapidly replacing your ways and your laws. How this must break your heart to watch your creation stumbling blindly and calling wicked ways good. Lord, those blinded by wickedness often don’t even realize Satan is playing them. They believe evil ways should govern our world and just like in the days of the Old Testament prophets who tried to warn Israel of impending disaster, they’re building their golden cows and worshipping creation instead of you the Great Creator.
They’re lost. Aimlessly wandering through life not knowing, or sometimes even caring, what their end will be. They don’t want to hear of a better way of life. Just like everyone stumbles in physical darkness, sadly many today are tripping and falling into a sinful, carnal, and wayward spiritual darkness guided by the father of darkness, Satan. Not letting your Son Jesus, the Light of the world, guide them. You warn in John 3:19, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
Lord God, guide, lead, and embolden those who know Jesus as their Savior to share the gospel with a lost and dying world. What would you have us say and do? So often, the lost are angry and resistant to the truth. Denouncing evil is called hate? Dear God, we need your wisdom. Jesus always knew how to share a story or a parable to grasp people’s attention and get them thinking about another way of looking at a situation. Just like Paul said, and all of us have experienced, “Once I was blind but now I see!” Open their eyes Lord while there’s still time to repent and change their ways because you tell us in John 12:35 “Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.”
When they fall or stumble, let us be the ones to show them the path out of the darkness to the saving Light, Jesus Christ, who helped us find our way to forgiveness and eternal life where the light is always on.
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2. Pray for How to Be a Light During Someone’s Dark Times
Dear Lord, you command us in Matthew 5:16 to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” You are telling us that as believers, we’re to be the light that shines into the dark times of others. While still on earth, Jesus said that he was the world’s Light in John 8:12. But when he left earth, he designated each of his followers to multiply that light and shine it brightly whenever and wherever we find someone going through a dark time.
John 1:5 instructs, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” No matter how overwhelming the darkness becomes, it only takes one little strike of a match or lighting a candle or a flashlight to see clearly in the dark. Darkness can’t overpower the light. I know you’re warning us, Lord, not to let the darkness overcome and snuff out our own light.
That seems like an overwhelming task sometimes, but we praise you, Lord, that all things are possible when we go in your strength. Father, please give us the words and compassion to share your love, grace, and care with those shrouded in a difficult dark time. Even if we don’t agree with their way of life or choices, we might just be the ones you’re expecting to show them a brighter more joyful lifestyle in the midst of their heartache.
Lord, keep us humble while we share how you pulled us up out of the mire, cleaned us off, put a smile on our faces, and gave us hope that even in our darkest moments we’re never alone. You’re always with us showering love on us as your dear children. Put a prayer in our hearts every morning that we would be a light to whomever you put in our path. Give us discernment not to miss a word, sigh, comment, facial expression, or countenance that’s subtly screaming for help, grace, and love. Everyone experiences dark times in our fallen world and everyone needs Jesus to come into their heart to light up their world. Lord, let our life be like a candle in the desolate darkness to radiate a spiritual awakening that the saving light of Jesus is available to everyone.
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3. Pray for Those Experiencing Physical or Mental Dark Times
Loving Father, many today are experiencing the dark times of physical illnesses, and some with a foreboding prognosis. Others are shrouded in mental darkness maybe drug-induced or believing the worldly lies that cause psychoses of dissatisfaction with the way you created them that can lead to sexual perversions or permanent damage to their bodies.
In addition to physical, spiritual, and cultural darkness, there’s a deep dark hole many describe when they’re suffering from mental illness or depression. Some have even said they feel separated from you, God, and that’s why their world goes dark. This substantiates the scriptures that without God in our life, or the sense of your presence, the light goes out. Hope evades us. Communion with you stops until your light shines into the darkness again. The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16
Isaiah 58:10 tells us to pray for those hungry for the truth and burdened by secular culture or victims of evil. “And if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”
Sometimes, Lord, we’re so busy with our own lives, that we don’t want to acknowledge the darkness and heartache we see in others because then we might have to do something about it. Getting involved takes our energy, time, finances, and emotions. We’ve got enough on our plate already.
If we stay preoccupied with our own problems, maybe we won’t have to get involved with the world’s horrors of abortion, human trafficking, drug epidemic, the rising rate of suicides, divorce, homelessness, gender confusion, and on and on. Let someone else help; it’s just too dark.
But God you want us to get involved even when it’s inconvenient, messy, hard, and everything in us screams not this time Lord! God we hear you saying that you need us to be your light to someone today. Even when we don’t know what to say or pray for the sick and distraught person, you assure us, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
Praise you, Lord, for your promise to give us just the right words to say and actions to take. You will not forsake us. We pray now for every hurting body and soul to be soothed by knowing you love him or her and want to free each one from the bondage of pain or delusion and help them to live a peaceful joy-filled life for the rest of their days.
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4. Pray for Our Own Dark Times
Father in Heaven, we can’t change the world, but please use us to change a life today. Let our shining light draw people to us who want to know how we have peace and joy even in the midst of our own dark times and difficult circumstances.
Lord, this is such a big calling that we can never do on our own. When grief or pain overtakes our mind and body, please give us the courage to call out to you for physical and spiritual wisdom to acknowledge that we’re hurting or grieving and remember you’re walking right beside us. Keep us humble to receive someone else’s light shining into our darkness.
Others watch Christians to see if dark hard times will break us. We’re an encouragement to others when they still hear hope in our voice and light shining from our eyes and words. Even when we don’t have the energy, Father, still let your light shine through us. Help us live the message you give us throughout scripture that you know just how we feel and you will never abandon us. That’s our hope. That’s the peace of salvation. Never let us forget how much you love us and this too will pass.
In the midst of dark times, it’s difficult to imagine that anything good can come out of it, and yet, most testimonies start with being in a dark place and the blessing of God’s grace bringing them into the light. King David wrote Psalm 3 during some of his darkest days when his prodigal son Absalom was trying to dethrone his father and take over his army. Yet David wrote, “But you, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head . . . I lay down and slept: I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 3:3-6)
Like David, when we’re in a dark time, your love, God, is a shield protecting us. With your love, grace, and guidance we can face anything. When we forget that we need others to pray for us, remind us to ask for prayer.
My friend Jay shared a timely reminder that everyone goes through dark and difficult times and those experiences don't define us. God does. Trust in him. Then he quoted the timeless Oswald Chambers. "The fiery furnaces are there by God’s direct permission. It is misleading to imagine that we are developed in spite of our circumstances; we are developed because of them. It is mastery in circumstances that is needed, not mastery over them..."
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer. Ps. 66:16-19
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