Praying in Light of Tragedy

With humble hearts we can pray with the things that move us, break us, enrage us, and overwhelm us. In this blog post we share some simple starter prompts - a litany of sorts - to help us move beyond merely screaming at our phones.

Everyday our newsfeeds and timelines offer us reminders of the brokenness, injustice, pain, and loss experienced by people both here and around the world.  What can we do against such reckless hate?  How do we pray in the wake of tragedy?   

When it comes to the suffering in our world there are no easy answers, and no simple solutions.  To explore more about the tensions we experience between God’s will and suffering, start with “When Followers of Jesus Miss the Mark Part 2: When Difficulties Come”. 

May these simple prompts set you on the path of prayer for the world we live in.

1.

Pray for the victims.   

Sometimes there aren’t words and we don’t know how to pray.  That’s okay.  Sometimes a single word is enough.  “Father, comfort.” “Jesus, be near.” “Holy Spirit, help them.”  Sometimes no words are needed and just taking the emotions of grief, empathy, compassion, and the desire that things would be different on earth as in heaven, and holding them out to God is enough. 

2.

Pray for the aggressors and oppressors.   

We can’t pray for those who are hurting without our thoughts turning to those who cause harm.  Tragedy binds them to each other.  For us who intercede remember that in the presence of God there is room for our anger; it is an appropriate response to evil.  We also look to Jesus who prayed for his enemies and those who were complicit.  Forgiveness, and faith in the goodness and rightness of God’s judgment is the path we are invited to prayerfully walk with Jesus. 

3.

Pray for opportunities to be light where you are. 

As tragedy prompts us to cry out, “Your kingdom come, your will be done,” we need to recognize our responsibility as the body of Christ and as Kingdom builders working in the power of the Spirit.  How can we put action behind our words?  What must we do, and what must we change to live in agreement with the heart of God in this?  What is God saying amidst this tragedy, and what am I going to do about it? 

May God strengthen us to continue in this work until He comes again.  Lord, have mercy. 

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