The Dividing Walls of Hostility

Father, knowing that you are the God of all peace we come to you seeking peace.

Our small country is a volatile country; it is deeply divided with many hurting people. There are many dividing walls of hostility – both physical and spiritual. A large proportion of our population appears to be divided from you by a wall of hostility and even within itself we find ourselves separated from each other by dividing walls of hostility. Much of this is the result of sectarianism. The population of our country is at odds with each other, especially at this time of year. There is much friction, tension and finger-pointing taking place at this moment in time. In light of this we turn to you and ask for peace and healing in this country.

For our politicians we request that you would grant them great wisdom. Political leaders find themselves in delicate situations, with the possibility of causing disruption and danger to many people through their words and actions. We ask that you may grant them wisdom in their decision making, clarity in their communication and submission to authority. For those political leaders who profess faith in Christ we ask that they would be Christ-like in their behaviour.

For all of the members of the Orange Order we ask that common sense would prevail. As people who claim to be servants of the Protestant religion, protectors of the reformers faith and beacons for the gospel, we ask that the gospel would take root in their hearts and that the Protestant religion, the reformer’s faith and the one true gospel would be proclaimed in word and deed. As we listen to the bands that parade with the Orange Order we hear the familiar tunes of many hymns. Our prayer is that the truth of those hymns would be understood by both those playing and listening to the tunes.

Many of the citizens of Northern Ireland will find themselves in dangerous situations this summer – living at interfaces, caught in protests or evacuated because of potential threats. We ask that they be kept safe. We pray that in your wisdom and power you would prevent people from protesting, and that numerous people would stay at home instead of causing division and destruction on the street.

Great God, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ serve in the services. We know that they will all be put at risk this summer whether they are fire fighters, police officers or paramedics. We ask that your hand would keep them safe, protect them from evil and deliver them from danger. Our prayer is that they will be successful in keeping the peace and that leaders in our communities would help them in their job.

Even though much of our division and hostility is sectarian at this time of year we do not want to neglect to pray for the ethnic minorities of Northern Ireland. They have been much in the news in recent months having awful crimes perpetrated against them. We ask that Christians may hold out a helping hand to these minorities and that through our practical love we would have opportunity to share the greater love of Jesus with them. We praise you that around your throne at the end of time will stand people from every tribe, tongue and nation redeemed by Jesus – we ask that some of them may be won for you here in Northern Ireland.

As we look on at our society it appears to be more godless, or at least more openly godless, than it has ever appeared before. In light of this we pray not only for physical peace and protection this summer, but for a spiritual peace with you to blanket this nation. We love our wee country and we hope and pray that your love would win many hearts and change many lives to the glory of your name through Jesus. We pray that there may be a revival as your Holy Spirit awakens many to their need of salvation and transforms people who call you their Lord.
We pray that all the dividing walls of hostility would be broken down in Jesus Christ – both those walls which separate ourselves from your love and those walls which separate us from each other’s love.

We seek this peace not for our own comfort but for your honour and delight.

Amen.

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