healer of nations

It’s been a particularly significant couple of weeks  for headlines and heartbreak… Boston, Bagdhad and other Iraqi cities have seen devastating bombings; Iran has suffered two powerful earthquakes, and today’s news of the second also affecting people living in Pakistan was accompanied by reports of a large quake in Papua New Guinea.

healer of nations

And here, in the UK, the death and funeral of Margaret Thatcher have not only been marked by grief and political reflection from every part of the spectrum, but by vitriolic outbursts which we have been deeply saddened to witness. O Lord, soften our hearts…

In morning worship today, all these nations were on our hearts as well as written on our board of headlines – America, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and the UK.

Again we came back to the Healer of nations in worship, prayer and desperation.

Afterwards as we reflected on the different situations, and our prayers in response to them, it struck us how it is impossible to compare levels of grief.

It can be confusing praying for two nations affected by bombing where the media response is so disproportionately focused on one, even though the death toll is lower. And yet, the shock and horror of the Boston bombings cannot and must not be diminished.

It can be challenging praying for a nation like Iran too… none of us have ever been, and little information about its past or present really gets through to us – not even when disasters like the recent earthquakes strike.

We are naturally more connected to our own nation and yet how can we compare what is happening in it to the other nations dominating our headlines as we gather to pray?

And so we simply come.

To the God who is with us and for us. To the one who created each one of the planet’s seven billion peope – designing each one to carry a unique representation of himself.

Because of Jesus’ transforming power at work in our lives we have learnt to know him as healer as well as to call him this.

Because of his word, and the witness to his work of millions of Christians around the world, we also know him as the hope of nations, as well as of our hearts.

And so we simly come.

Lifting nations to him…

This morning we were helped to voice this by both the song Healer of nations (see our songs page) and the written prayer based on it (see our prayers page).

Later today, we felt able to capture and summarise so many spontaneous outpourings from different pray-ers over the last few days in this new prayer, for the nations so very much on our hearts today. You can download it from our prayer resources page, but here it is right now for you to join us in prayer:

A prayer for when the nations shake…

Lord Jesus our hearts are heavy right now –
Sometimes with grief,
Sometimes with horror,
Even at times with anger.
And always – always with tears.

The nations shake –
Sometimes spiritually,
Sometimes politically,
Even at times physically.
And always – always there is pain.

Lord Jesus we stand beside each one –
As they ask questions,
As they struggle to frame a coherent response,
Even at times as they harden their hearts.
And always – always in their grief.

We know we are simply joining you –
For you are already there,
Always at work,
Always interceding from a deeper grief even than theirs.
And always – always ready and able to heal.

Lord Jesus we come to you –
Always the comforter,
Always the hope,
Always the healer.
And always – always our strength and power for change.

We know we are echoing your heart –
As we pray sometimes for reconstruction,
Sometimes for peace,
Even at times for softened hearts and gentler words.
And always – always for the healer of nations to come.

Even so come – Healer of nations. Even so, come.

Come to America, and especially to Boston.
Come to Iraq, and especially to Baghdad.
Come to Iran, to Pakistan and to Papua New Guinea.
And come here Lord – where we also so desperately need your transforming love and healing power.

Even so come – Lord Jesus we pray. Even so, come.

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