In tragedies like these, all we can do is pray

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

Like me, you are no doubt hurting for the families affected by the senseless shooting in Las Vegas, described by many people as an act of pure evil.  At a loss for words, I’m sharing comments from Christian leaders.

The Family Policy Alliance asks us to join them, “in praying for the families who lost loved ones and pray for those who survived and are hurting right now…Pray for the first responders who now must live with the images from that night.  Pray that, in this time of somber reflection, our nation would look to God for solace and comfort. And that we would become a nation where God is honored and life is cherished.”

Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Chicago, asked for honest and fervent prayer for “elected officials for wisdom in navigating the treacherous roads ahead. Pray that they’ll make wise choices for the safety of our nation and its people…Let’s pray for comfort for the hurting, echoing the words of Paul speaking of God, ‘who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God’ (2 Corinthians 1:4).”

Like me, you may struggle with the words to pray.  Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic for 40 years, has written this thoughtful prayer, “God of all mercy, we are heartsick over the ruin and desolation that sin has brought upon our world, upon our nation. Have mercy on us.

“And please, have mercy on the families of those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy. Comfort them in their grief, and show yourself to be the God of consolation that you are. You are the healer of broken hearts, and families and loved ones are utterly crushed by this senseless tragedy – draw them to your side, and show yourself to be the answer to their anguish. And please touch the lives of the many hundreds who lie wounded, and yes, even those who survived. Quiet their anxieties and fears, and heal their wounds. Cause them, as they lie on their beds, to seek you and turn to you with their concerns. And please, Lord, restore them and heal them.

“Finally, Lord, we do not attempt to search for meaning in this massacre. You are sovereign, and you are the only one who can bring good out of this wretched evil. So, bind families together; unite Christians in prayer; help churches be salt and light in their neighborhoods; aid us in overcoming evil with good. Help us be vigilant in promoting peace, demonstrating love, and helping to change the divided climate in our homeland. We praise you for your sovereignty, even over this awful tragedy. For you have judged it better to bring good out of evil than to arrange it that no evil should exist.

“Men cannot be made good by laws; good can only spring from a change in peoples’ hearts. So please turn hearts toward Jesus Christ, the only one who can save us from ourselves; the only one who can rescue us from ruin. May this historic tragedy turn the history of this country so that one day we may, indeed, be crowned in brotherhood from sea to shining sea. In the powerful name of our Savior, Amen.”