Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
How do I pray for stuff like the Navy Yard shooting?
I was off-line Sunday night and in to Monday morning, tucked in deep in western Virginia with no cell coverage. So, as I started driving in I-66 on Monday afternoon, and the texts and AP news alerts started rolling in, I was shocked, scared, and wondering what was going on. Restoration has good friends that work in the Navy Yard and all of us know people who were not far removed from someone who was there.
It brings up a frequent question– how do we pray in the midst of tragedy? For what should we cry out to God? Often in these situations, I don’t know what to pray. So God gives Scripture that gives me words. (as an aside– God also gives the gift of tongues and those words are often the most easy to help us pray)
Here are 4 verses that I let season and guide my prayers. I pray for:
- Justice: For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. [Psalm 37:28]
- Peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -Jesus [John 14:27]
- Humility: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. [1Peter 5:6-7]
- Perspective on the age in which we live: “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” [Revelation 12:10-12]
Justice is what I want God to do. Peace is what I want him to give. Humility is what I need to come in prayer and to wait on His response. Perspective is what I cling to for understanding why this world seems so broken and messed up.
On Sunday, September 22 at our regular 4pm prayer meeting, we will devote all of our time to praying for Monday’s tragedy at the Navy Yard. Everyone at Restoration is welcome and please invite friends who don’t normally go to church, but would be comforted by being with praying people. We will pray for you if you were there. We will pray for families and friends that were affected. And we will pray for our world– that God’s justice, peace, humility, and perspective would come and reign. I hope you can pray with us on Sunday at 4.
As always, if there is a way that one of our clergy or elders can serve you or pray with you, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. These events shake us. No one should go through them alone. Because of the Gospel and the Church, none of us has to.