I Prayed have prayed
Lord, help us to be strong and courageous in the midst of whatever comes.
Reading Time: 8 minutes

I was awakened that morning with a text from a friend: a link to reports of an attempted shooting inside a church in North Braddock, Pennsylvania. The livestream showed a 26-year-old man coming to the front, aiming his gun at the pastor while he was preaching, and pulling the trigger. Miraculously, the gun jammed, and several church members were able to rush forward, subdue the shooter, and disarm him.

Have you taken your place on the wall?


This is one of many stories about rising attacks. Last month, a 16-year-old stabbed a bishop during a service. That same month, a teenager arrested in Idaho was found to possess firearms and to have plans to attack about 20 churches. In February, a woman opened fire inside a church in the Houston area.

Shocking as it may be to hear of stories like these, none of it should take us by surprise. Jesus warned of increasing lawlessness in the last days (see Matthew 24:3–12). Moreover, our Lord said:

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them (John 16:1–4).

While Jesus was awaiting the cross, he warned his disciples to expect persecution, as they continued his mission of spreading the gospel. He spoke this truth to them to keep them from stumbling, perhaps by fear and disillusionment. He said the people who persecuted them thought they were doing God’s service, which indicated deception. Finally, he said, “They have not known the Father or me.”  This was His warning, but even through this, He left them with a promise that applies to us and everyone who will call upon the name of the Lord.

Before writing this article, I prayed as I normally do, seeking the Lord for wisdom and direction. Because news like this can be disheartening and stoke fear, I asked God for a word, and this is the scripture and word I received. 

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have shalom (peace). In the world, you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 TLV).

Jesus warns His disciples that troubles and tribulation will come, but He urges them to “take heart.” The term “take heart” appears in several translations. Some render it: “be courageous,” “be brave,” or “take courage.” Exhortations to be courageous and strong appear in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, as the Israelites are preparing to cross the Jordan into enemy territory. The Lord tells Joshua repeatedly to be strong and courageous. This was intended to help impart courage to all the leaders, who would in turn attempt to instill faith in all God’s people.

King David encouraged himself in the Lord and sang frequently of remaining fearless in the face of enemies:

Wait for and confidently expect the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the LORD (Psalm 27:14 AMP).

These things are a reminder to all of us too, and it’s why we can choose to stay strong in the Lord, despite the uncertainties of our circumstances. 

We can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world:

… for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4–5 NIV).

We can take heart because we have within us the same Spirit who resurrected Christ from the dead:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11).

We can take heart because the Holy Spirit in us is far greater than any adversary:

Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind] (1 John 4:4 AMP).

We can take heart because nothing can separate us from the love of our God: 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:35–37).

We can take heart because Satan is a defeated foe:

[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross] (Colossians 2:15 AMPC).

All these scriptures point to an overcoming Church. How, exactly, do we overcome? The Word tells us how:

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death (Revelation 12:11)

The Blood of the Lamb

It was Jesus’ blood that atoned for our sin and reconciled us to God. No one can add anything to that or remove anything from it. “It is finished.” Some of my favorite old hymns are those that involve the blood of Jesus, which guarantees us the victory over sin and death. The Church well knows the power of the blood: … For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8b).

The Word of Their Testimony 

Jesus did His part by dying for us on the cross. Our part is to declare everywhere the word of our testimony. We are commanded to share the good news with others, just as someone shared with us, leading to our own salvation. When the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples at Pentecost in Acts 1:8, they received the power to become bold witnesses for Jesus Christ. As Paul said, how can they hear without a preacher?

They Loved Not Their Lives Unto Death

Perhaps this verse could cause believers to fear. After all, who wants to be persecuted for their faith? Who would choose to suffer? No one would volunteer for martyrdom. The Western Church has yet to see a glimpse of the level of persecution that believers suffer in other countries. The early Church valued eternity over earthly things, even if sharing Jesus were to cost them their lives. The greatest fear for many Christians and unbelievers alike is the fear of death. But that fear is no longer any real threat to one who belongs to the Lord. Satan can’t manipulate or silence anyone with fear who isn’t afraid to die.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55–57).

We were never guaranteed any easygoing Christian life (see 2 Timothy 3:12). On the contrary, Jesus warned that those who hated Him would hate us, too (see John 15:18–19). He said they would do this because they didn’t know Him or the Father. But our real enemies are not so much those who persecute, slander, or even pull guns or otherwise physically threaten us. The real enemies are those evil spiritual forces that are at work behind the hostile people (see Ephesians 6:12). There is a spiritual battle happening right now in the unseen realms. We’re witnessing this right now in America. Satan is angry because he knows his time is short, as the Scripture says. Will violent physical attacks against pastors and churches continue to intensify? Only God knows for sure, but we as intercessors can join together and pray about it.


A word from Scripture that keeps coming to my mind as I see this hostility in our land, and one I’m hearing also from other intercessors, is the word shalom — meaning “peace.” The word has varying shades of meaning in the Hebrew, including favor and protection, and the destroying of any authority attached to chaos. I’m focusing on another meaning: Shalom can mean completion or wholeness; in other words, it is a perfect peace, which is to say a peace that lacks nothing. 

Jesus differentiated His peace from worldly peace (see John 14:27). Christ’s peace does not come from the absence of conflict, but rather from the nature of the Lord Himself.

Do you want perfect peace? Consider this passage: You keep in perfect peace one whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in ADONAI forever, for the LORD ADONAI is a Rock of ages (Isaiah 26:3–4 TLV).

To take heart, or to be courageous, we must keep our minds set on God and trust in Him completely — despite what we see. There is a relentless battle underway for our minds — and where our minds go, our hearts will soon follow. Fear, rebellion, and every other kind of sin begins in our minds before it’s ever manifested in our actions. We need perfect peace.

Do not be anxious about anything — but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua (Philippians 4:6–7 TLV).

Intercessors, take heart! This world is undergoing a shaking from which not even the Church is exempt. But seek the Lord personally — seek Him for your church, your city, and our nation. Repent quickly whenever He exposes anything demanding repentance. Continue to seek His presence and His strength daily. Stay in an attitude of humility and holy surrender; keep watching; keep praying; keep your mind fixed on the Lord.

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray at all times and not lose heart (Luke 18:1 BSB).

Let’s pray now:

Heavenly Father, we come into Your presence with confidence — confidence not in ourselves or in anything we have done, but in the hope and expectation we have in You. We confess that we’ve been fearful as we hear of increasing numbers of violent attacks inside churches. We repent of living in fear, and we renounce it. We want the peace that Jesus offers, a peace that is unlike that of the world. We want Christ’s perfect peace that lacks nothing. We know this doesn’t come from the surrounding circumstances, but only from Yeshua Himself, the Prince of Peace. As we choose to trust in You, we know that You will guard our hearts and minds. Amen! Help us to seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at Your right hand. Help us to set our minds on things that are above and not upon the earth. We don’t know what will happen next, but we do know the One who does know! Give us strength and courage to stand when You call us to stand. Amen. Give us the humility to bow and kneel whenever You call for our repentance in anything. Give us the wisdom and discernment to know and understand the times and the seasons, and to intercede accordingly. In Jesus’ name we pray all this. Amen.

(If you would like to pray specifically for pastors and churches, download this prayer guide.)

If you like this article, please share with a friend!

IFA contributing writer Gloria Robles is a passionate intercessor with a prophetic voice for today. For more from Gloria, go to Spotify or Anchor and listen to her podcast, Something To Share. Photo Credit: Daniel Tseng on Unsplash.

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Mary Shields
May 19, 2024

So important for us to keep our mind fixed on Jesus Christ and Him only! The Lord had me memorize Psalm 91 about three years ago now. In August 2023 I was involved in a serious boating accident that should have killed me, BUT for our miracle working God and His Psalms 91 protection!!!! I started to understand why He had me memorize Psalms 91…….to miraculously save my life!! I say this Psalms multiple times daily now, while driving, getting ready to fall asleep or any spare moment and blanket my family, the area that we live, our state, our country, Israel and the safety of the IDF and now will include IFA in the all encompassing promise of protection found in Psalms 91! The scar I have reminds me daily of His miracle working power to protect His remnant!

I always loved Keith Green’s music and I recently listened to his song The Lord is My Shepherd from Psalms 23! Wow! I can’t get this song out of my mind and i sing it out load or in my heart throughout the day! Music is such a powerful way to memorize scripture and if we found ourselves without a Bible, it would be so important to have scripture embedded in our mind and heart!

I desire that Perfect peace that is found only by keeping my mind fixed on Him throughout the day and saying Psalms 91 and singing Psalm 23 help me to stay in God‘s perfect peace!

Stand strong, remnant of God! He will-see us through….. we’re almost to the other side! Fear not!!!


Grant Windholz
May 18, 2024

Amen 🙏! The Lord says in the book of Revelation that we as believers need to stand strong for Christ during these days of great challenge and trouble! ALL Churches need to preach 100% scripture and the truth of the Bible and nothing else!

May 18, 2024

AMEN! Glory Lord! Thank you for this good word of encouragement, timely too after this past month of savagery on so many fronts, in so many countries, in too many hearts and very confused minds Lord…Thank you for Gloria, her faithful testimony or exhortation here and thank you for ifa, for sharing it, for such a time as this…
Forgive, cleanse whatever is needed to fill us, empower us to be found faithful, Your hands, feet and everything You call us to be, allow us to be, let us come with You Lord, in this generation! Maranatha! The enemy is busy BUT LORD, You are so on the move with a new thing! Hallelujah!

Darlene Estlow
May 17, 2024

Thank you Gloria. You are encouraging and you speak truth. God bless you and may we God’s people take to heart what you have said that we may not be afraid of what may come but trust in God.

May 17, 2024

Yes, thank you, Gloria!
I always know when it is something you have written!
It is always full of hope and encouragement.
I spend a lot of time in the Word and in prayer and intercession
for the lost, and I know that many others do as well.
I am grateful for the prayers and faithful work of God’s people.
One thing the Lord has been emphasizing so much to me lately
is memorizing Scripture and really absorbing its fullest meaning.
In Proverbs 3:5,6,& 7 (I prefer the Amplified Bible) He has emphasized
the necessity of recognizing and acknowledging Him, as opposed to
relying on our own understanding. I don’t think it comes very
easily to us to let go of our own understanding. This is what we are
trained to do by many influences in our lives. I have seen for myself
the difference that this makes when I acknowledge Him, immediately
in a situation. But I was wanting to know how to allow my understanding
of the matter to be acceptable to Him. The definition of understanding
seems to help and He helped me form this into a prayer:
(Understanding implies a grasp of the nature, significance or explanation of;
it is the power of compehending something)
Lord, Help us to achieve a grasp of the nature, significance or explanation
of (whatever it is). Grant us the power of comprehending this matter;
We commit our understanding to You, Lord; We commit the nature, significance,
or explanation of this matter to You and acknowledge You and the power of
comprehending it to You. In order that our purpose, thought and action
comforms to Your divine will.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sandra Redding
May 17, 2024

I really missed your news and comments the past week. I didn’t realize it until today when you were back. You uplift us to be better persons and teach others to do so. God be with you and continue to inspire you. Blessed be His Holy Name

Deborah Melicharek
May 17, 2024

Amen! Yes, Jesus gives us His peace, in the midst of the storm and tells us to be confident and courageous in the midst of it all because He has overcome and He is always leading us in His triumph as we dwell in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, abiding in Him and He is us causing us to be more than conquerors through Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us all!!!
And so we rejoice and again I say, rejoice, as Paul tells us through all the “light and momentary afflictions” that he endured as He followed Christ, the One who gave everything for us, to rescue and redeem us and bring us back to Himself and into the family of God, now members of His body,. And now our lack of fear is proof of the enemy’s destruction. Hallelujah, for we are taking up our cross daily to follow Jesus as we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony and love not our lives even unto death. Praise God for His amazing victory, to God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen

Joyce Swingle
May 14, 2024

Dear Gloria,
Thank you so much for this very encouraging word! May the Lord use it to raise up his Church to bear His glory to the nations, indeed!

Shalom! In Him, Joyce

Lori Meed
May 13, 2024

Gloria, such a powerful deeply scriptural exhortation to hope! Thank you dear friend for this article which hits so many nails on the head spiritually!

May 13, 2024

Father, let me be found worthy of Jesus. Raise up a Chirch worthy of Jesus.

George Leaf
May 12, 2024

Reader, Arise, let your heart not be troubled. Raise your prayer unto God Almighty. “Problem! I want you to meet our God. For you problem are a tale told and story spread, a rumor, a tale. But God is God! He is THAT GOD! Who responded to Moses inquiry… I AM… THAT I AM. Come problem, meet our GOD! It is time you came out of the darkness problem. No more hiding problem. Meet our God! God, as the fans of sport events scream over contests, not so you o problem. The prayers of His Saints rise to the heavens to defeat you. PROBLEM, stop hiding in the darkness and come face our God, Lord, Almighty. Amen Amen!

Darlene Estlow
May 11, 2024

Amen, Lord Jesus. One of my favorite verse is Isaiah 26:3, 4. May we be steadfast in Jesus!

May 11, 2024

Amen and may we follow in your foot steps Lord Jesus!

Laura Beckom
May 11, 2024

This article was a blessing to me. Thank you.

Lynne Schrom
May 11, 2024

I just so needed this reminder today and lately! Thank you. Shalom

Susan CC
May 11, 2024

I love everything about this encouraging message. This morning, I thanked the Lord and praised Him for the cool morning, the greens and blues that my eyes were taking in and all the good things He provides. His love is strong! The following verse is so good and it is one I love to share.

“Wait for and confidently expect the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the LORD.”

Let: to cause, to permit to enter, allow

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Dear Lord, thank you for putting Your Word on Gloria’s heart. I believe it is truth and it so good that she took the time to work it out. Encouragement is a gift. I pray You will bless her personally today for her devotion. As for me, today and in all days, I will allow my heart to be courageous because You are my source of strength and confidence. I pray this declaration in countless hearts and minds today. May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and You, God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good work and word. I love You Father. I love You Jesus. I love You Holy Spirit. Amen

Rebecca Berube
May 11, 2024

Thank you, Gloria!😊❤️
I truly appreciate what you wrote for us, our sister in Christ.
God bless you, mightily.✝️
I prayed the prayers and will continue always.
Rebecca 🛐


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