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Praying through the darkness: prayers of faith for 2022

Timely prayer activities to help us draw closer to God in the new year and look to 2022 as a year of hope.

Rachael Adams | 31 Dec 2021

Image Credit: Marcus Perkins/Tearfund

We’ve been here before – seeing in the New Year in the midst of a global pandemic. But even in the most difficult times, we know we have a God who never leaves us nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6). In the biblical story of Ruth, we can find fresh encouragement for how we can look to 2022 as a year of hope.

The book of Judges tells us about the challenges that Ruth would have faced. It was a dark time, filled with famine, war and poverty. The book of Ruth begins with Ruth being widowed.

But hope is found in a friendship – in a bond between two women who felt broken and alone after experiencing deep loss. And that is where the love of God shone brightly and transformed everything. And it’s that same love that radiates throughout the world today.

Faith

It’s not always clear what the path ahead looks like. Ruth could have stayed in Moab and gone to live with her family after her husband’s death. Instead, she decided to travel with Naomi, her mother-in-law, to Bethlehem to start her life afresh.

‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’ (Ruth 1:16)

It was a decision made in faith – Ruth put her trust in the God Naomi worshipped, not knowing how it would turn out.

Today, for many of us, the path ahead also looks uncertain. What do we see before us? Plans put on hold. A pandemic with seemingly no end in sight. And that is before the individual challenges many of us are going through.

The book of Ruth can encourage us to take a leap of faith and put our trust in God to make a way for us. Jesus tells us we only need faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). So let us begin.

Prayer activity:

  • Write down some of the things you are struggling with at the moment.
  • Find verses in the Bible that celebrate God’s faithfulness towards us and the love he has for us. For example: Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 46:1, Zephaniah 3:17, Romans 8:38. Write these down next to your struggles.
  • Lift your list up to God in prayer and ask God to make a way for you through these struggles and disappointments. The Psalms show us we do not have to hide our feelings from God, so open up and let your emotions flow free to a God who listens and cares for you.

‘No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.‘ (Romans 8:38) A local church in Uganda meets to worship, dance and praise God together. | Image credit: Will Chamberlin/Tearfund

Relationships restored

As the book of Ruth continues, we see a God who is faithful – who moves in ways we could never have expected or imagined. Through Naomi, Ruth meets Boaz, who eventually becomes her husband. The book ends with God blessing Ruth and Boaz with a boy, who restores Naomi’s joy and her joy with the Lord (Ruth 4:14-15).

Their son, Obed, is King David’s grandfather and an ancestor of Jesus.

We go from Ruth worshipping foreign gods to becoming part of Jesus’ lineage. This was made possible, in part, due to the relationship between Naomi and Ruth. It highlights to us the power of friendship and togetherness.

Naomi is bitter with God about how her life has turned out (Ruth 1:21), yet God still uses this relationship for his glory.

This pandemic has taught us how interconnected we all are and the importance of relationships. Our days are filled with interactions with others – household members, neighbours, colleagues and people we meet on the highstreet or in our local shops. In person, online or via text, there are limitless opportunities to connect. How can you be a light to others?

Prayer activity:

  • Lift up to God a relationship that you would like God to restore in the new year. Pray for God to work through the difficulties and heal any wounds.
  • Think about your daily routine and the people you see regularly. In what ways can you share God’s love with them in a practical way? Could you cook them a meal? Ask them if they need anything next time you head to the shops? Ask God to come up with even more suggestions that will enrich the lives of those around you. And then try them out.
  • When you are out and about, invite the Holy Spirit to guide you towards someone you could bless practically. This could be buying a cup of coffee for a stranger or asking a homeless person if there’s anything you can get for them. Ask God to give you wisdom and the right words to say and pray that God’s love shines through your deed. Take note of any local coronavirus restrictions to make sure you protect yourself and others.

Prayer is powerful. Incredible things can happen when we join in with what God is already doing in the world. A self-help group, set up by Tearfund’s local partner in Malawi to help people overcome poverty together, gathers for prayer and singing. | Image credit: Alex Baker/Tearfund

Our yes

The book of Ruth is a story about two marginalised women who were living in poverty. Both Naomi and Ruth suffered greatly – God never diminishes or belittles their pain. But he does call them to play a part in something greater. We can be encouraged by their story that our suffering matters to God and it equips us to shape the world beyond us.

Life is tough now – we cannot escape that our world is broken. But this is no time to retreat inwards. We can choose to partner with God to help heal it.

One of the ways we can do this is through prayer – by actively deciding to devote time each week to pray for our sisters and brothers around the world who are living in poverty.

Poverty isn’t part of God’s plan. You are. By partnering with God in prayer, lives around the world will be transformed.

Prayer activities:

  • Ask God to place on your heart a country or situation to pray for. Spend some time listening and reflecting on what he shares with you.
  • Begin by acknowledging God’s power. Then pray general prayers. Pray for God’s kingdom to come. Pray for individuals and communities. Pray for those in power. And pray for the local church to continue to bring hope.
  • Find out more information about what’s going on there. You can use our website to help you out. The more you know the more specific your prayers will grow to be.
  • Place a reminder in your phone or on your Bible to continue to pray for this country or issue.

For weekly prayer activities and resources to help you pray for people living in poverty, sign up to One Voice, Tearfund’s prayer email. Why not share with a friend or your church small group and go through the email together each week?

  Rachael Adams


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