Prayer after tragedy

        First Baptist Church, Sutherland, Texas

After a tragedy most of us are at a loss for words . . . and even do not know how to pray.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Pour out your grace, Lord, on all affected by this horrible tragedy.

Grant your greatest strength, grace, and comfort, Father.

I look at the faces and pray.

I see the sweet, small-town church building–much like the one in my little town . . . and pray.

And then because I quickly run out of words, I turn to Jesus’ prayers as he was facing death:

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. –Luke 23:34

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? –Matthew 27:46

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. –Luke 23:46

Jesus’ words remind me of three hallmarks of the Christian faith:

  • Christians forgive those who do not deserve forgiveness, because we also have experienced forgiveness.
  • Christians can throw their laments at God and ask why? because our Savior did the same and because God will comfort us nonetheless–just as a loving parent would hug a screaming child to love on and comfort him.
  • Christians can put their lives into God’s hands because he is trustworthy and because we know that eternity with him is much, much better than the divided world in which we live.

So, on this horrible, aching day when so many are suffering I am praying:

Forgive us all, Lord, when we do not love each other as you asked us to do. Forsake us not, Lord, as we need you desperately. And give us the wisdom and strength to put our very lives into your hands, because we know you will take care of us and those we love. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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