Prayer after yet another mass shooting

Several folks have asked for the prayer I prayed last Sunday after the Parkland massacre.  Are any words adequate?  I don't think so.  But here's an effort I hope helps.

peace,

Kyle

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Pastoral Prayer, kyle matthews, first baptist greenville 2/18/18 

 

O God, we need you this day.  We gather here from the gamut of life experiences 

some of us exalting in the beauty of this day and the many blessings we enjoy 

others of us come so low, so burdened, so worried, so grief-stricken we could barely dress ourselves. 

But we come with one voice of thanksgiving that we are yours, that you love each of us, 

and that there is no circumstance where you are not present and at work… 

…even in Parkland, Florida, where, in the wake of yet another horrendous and pointless explosion of violence 

your people are crying out “how long, O God?”  

As others react in their way, guide your church first toward empathy for those most directly and personally affected.   

Be close to those families in abject grief this morning, and help us be unafraid to feel pain along with them. 

And move us from a sense of helplessness to a greater sense of responsibility as your people. 

Show us again that we cannot expect peace where we persist in  

isolating ourselves, stigmatizing and marginalizing mental illness 

and turning a deaf ear to the cries for help of those around us 

Convict us that we cannot expect things to get better 

when we participate in the celebration of violence as entertainment 

guns as toys, and vengeance as a solution, if not a salvation. 

Forgive us, O God, for spending more effort  

protecting our rights than we spend protecting our children 

and for so quickly hurling blame as we shirk our responsibility for troubled persons 

you have so clearly called us to love and care for. 

And heal us of the delusion of thinking that because we never hit anybody 

we haven’t damaged one another 

Expose our own verbal violence, our weaponized words and emotional blackmail… 

Remind us that the first victims are those closest to us 

And that we cannot harm others without harming ourselves. 

We come to you this hour under the conviction that worship  

is the cure for all our violence, 

worship that centers our lives on you, so that we can be centered and calm 

mindful that all things are yours, grateful for what we have, 

capable of forgiveness and release. 

And send us from this place full of the courage of knowing there is no danger  

that we cannot face in your name, 

and that you go ahead of us to work your will in the world. 

Send us with the knowledge that when we casually ask, “how are you?” 

the answer might hold existential importance, 

And that being your open-eyed, open-eared, open-hearted, 

and ever-vigilant people 

might be a matter of life and death. 

Amen.

 

2 comments

  • Dale sutton

    Dale sutton Greenville

    God bless you Kyle for your wisdom

    God bless you Kyle for your wisdom

  • Zaqa

    Zaqa

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