James 4:1-2a – What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. (NIV)
1 Timothy 2:1-2 – I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (NIV)
My job requires me to be in contact with people who live and work all over the globe. The other day I spoke with a most amazing professional woman in Cote D'Ivoire (formerly known as the Ivory Coast).
She said a most heartbreaking thing to me about her homeland and the continent of Africa. The constant turmoil and devastation she has seen has begun to weigh heavily on her. She is becoming frightened. So am I.
We are both professional counsellors, trained in resolving conflicts between family members who are not getting along. Some of these conflicts have even turned violent.
We have such skills, training that we see as a calling of sorts, a way for us to use our talents to better the world around us as best we can. With a bit of co-operation, we can help warring families come to peace. Why can't we help warring tribes or countries?
It hurts to contemplate this kind of failure, the kind of failure that results in the deaths of thousands of people. How can we get these people to listen and understand what they are doing? How can we get them to stop?
The only solution I can come up with is to pray. God tells us to pray for our leaders. If there was ever a time when the leaders in our world needed prayer, it is now. As well, pray for those who are on the front lines of peace negotiations in these difficult situations.
Prayer: Dearest Lord, watch over those in countries torn by violence. Be with leaders who make daily decisions about life and death. Help them to choose life through you. Help us to do whatever we can to help. In Jesus' name. Amen.