How to Pray When Terror Strikes

The recent terrorist attack on the heart of Europe, Brussels, has struck fear. Here's how we should pray.
The recent terrorist attack on the heart of Europe, Brussels, has struck fear. Here's how we should pray. (Reuters)

Another bombing takes place, and suddenly the news is filled with images and stories that fill our hearts with fear. How could this happen again? Could it happen here? What are we supposed to do now?

Take a step back.

Remember the One who is in control of the nations. Remember the One who sits on the throne. Fear should never lead us. Faith is our lifeline in the midst of the unknown. Prayer is our weapon when we don't know what else to do. Hope is our guiding light in times of crisis.

Use the Scriptures and proclamation prayer below to remind you that God is still in control.

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(The Scriptures below have been adjusted so that you can pray them to God. More of these Scriptures are available from the Adoration and Proclamation Prayer Book by Ben Woodward)

You Are Righteous and Just

Deut. 32.3-4 (NIV)I will proclaim [Your name]. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
 [You are] the Rock, [Your] works are perfect, and all [Your] ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just [are You].
Psalm 9.4-6


You have sat on the throne judging righteously. You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins, And You have uprooted the cities; The very memory of them has perished.
Psalm 36.6 (NIV)Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the great deep.
Psalm 45.3-7


Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, in Your splendor and Your majesty! And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let Your right hand [display awesome deeds]. Your arrows
are sharp; the peoples fall under You; Your arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies. Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Psalm 71.19Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?
Psalm 96.10,13 (AMP)


[I will] say among the nations that the Lord reigns; the world also is established, so that it cannot be moved; [You] shall judge and rule the people righteously
and with justice ... [You come] to judge and govern the earth! [You] shall judge the world with righteousness and justice and the peoples with faithfulness and truth.

A prayer to remember the kingship of Jesus over the nations in times of crisis. 

(This prayer is a portion of a proclamation prayer available from the Adoration and Proclamation Prayer Book by Ben Woodward)

Father I declare today the words of the book of Revelation: "And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS'" (Rev. 19:16). I declare to the earth and to the heavens that there is one King who rules over the affairs of the nations. I declare that there is one King who raises up men and tears them down and one King who establishes order and justice in the earth. His kingdom will know no end and His glory is unmatched. His majesty and His power will be proclaimed in all the nations of the earth and He will rule in justice and peace forever over the kingdoms of the earth. I declare today that "Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of Your kingdom" (Ps. 45:6). Your throne has existed from time past and will continue to the end of the ages. Though men may rule over us for a moment, only God can establish their place. Thank You, Father, that You are in control of the nations and there is not a devil or a man who can move You from Your throne. The kings of the earth may try to take a stand against You, but He who sits in the heavens laughs at them (Ps. 2:2-4). It is only because of Your mercy that they endure and only because of Your righteous justice that they are removed. The leadership of the heavens and the Earth are in Your hands. I declare that the same hands that lead the Earth and the nations are the same hands that carry my heart and my future.

Father, I trust in Your perfect justice as King over the nations. I proclaim what Jeremiah said about You: "But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation" (Jer. 10:10). You are the true God and the everlasting King. Where other kings exist only for a moment, You last forever. The psalmist declared that "The LORD sat as King at the flood; yes, the LORD sits as King forever" (Ps. 29:10). No matter what happens in the Earth, though it be floods, earthquakes, wars, famine, terror or plague, You sit in the place of leadership over the nations. You are the Chief Commander over the nations of the earth and not one thing happens without Your knowing. Because You are in control, I can perfectly trust Your leadership over the earth. Even when I don't understand it, I can lean into Your faithfulness as the eternal, true, wise and just King. I will declare what Isaiah said about You, "For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; He will save us" (Is. 33:22). You, My King and My God, will save us. Lord, it is true that at times what I see in the earth can be terrifying and upsetting. Sometimes I do not understand what You are doing, but even when I don't understand, I will continue to declare my trust in Your leadership over the nations. I can trust You when things happen that I don't understand because I know Your heart of compassion for the nations and that "It is not the will of [my] Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish" (Matt. 18:14). If this is Your heart, and You are the eternal King, then I can trust Your wisdom. You know the end from the beginning.

I declare today that my trust is not in man; my trust is in the name of the Lord. Thank You, God, that you are the King over everything. I shall not fear because God is my King and, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).

Do you have any "go-to" Scriptures or prayers you use in times of crisis?

Ben Woodward is a worship leader, speaker, author and songwriter from Australia. As you will find out by reading his book You Shall Know the Truth, he is passionate about helping people discover Jesus through worship and prayer. He lives in Kansas City with his wife, Kathryn, and three children, Eliana, Cohen and Paisley. 

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