Preemptive Prayer: Something We Can All Do to Push Back Against Violence

While the debate rages on gun control, there is something that can be done right now about violence in the U.S. There are no politics involved and it requires no one’s vote of approval. You don’t need a platform, an audience, or a microphone.

You just need a relationship with Jesus.

As our leaders wrestle with the issues invoked by mass shootings and while the grieving are still burying their loved ones, the rest of us can be doing something that we may not have realized was an option:

We can pray preemptively against those who have wicked plans germinating in their hearts.

It’s time we stop using prayer as a reaction only and begin praying proactively, before tragedy happens. Oftentimes our pattern is to wait until something bad happens, then we pray. While it is absolutely right to ask God to give comfort and grace to victims of violence, doesn’t it also make sense to ask Him to protect us from violence in the first place, with hopes of preventing it? I’ll be the first to admit I don’t do this enough.

Let’s change it up.

Let’s take a cue from Psalm 140 and ask God to shut down those who are scheming to do harm before they do it. It’s called preemptive prayer and it’s an important page in the manual of spiritual warfare:

1O LORD, rescue me from evil people. Protect me from those who are violent,
2 those who plot evil in their hearts and stir up trouble all day long…8 LORD, do not let evil people have their way. Do not let their evil schemes succeed.

Following this example, what if a brigade of people across the nation were informally joined together in Jesus’ Name to begin praying preemptively against would-be perpetrators?

What if we prayerfully aligned ourselves against those who are indulging sinister thoughts and plans to hurt others? What if we specifically asked the God of Heaven to do whatever He needs to do with those who are nurturing hate in their hearts and flirting with the idea of unleashing it on an unsuspecting crowd?

It’s time.

As hard as it may be to understand, there are many things that God could do and would do but doesn’t do because He is not asked (See Matthew 7:7). He is willing to help, but He doesn’t show up uninvited. Up until now, we’ve asked Him to come and bind up the wounds of the victim. Today let’s begin asking Him to bind up the hands of the violent.

To be clear, prayer is certainly not the only thing that can be done about the trend of violence in the U.S. But it is one thing, and a powerful one at that. Just imagine a band of believers across the country committed to including in our prayer time every single day a specific request that God would “deliver us from evil” by thwarting a hate-filled person with plans to harm.

Count me in.

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” -Ephesians 6:10-11


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