Monday, April 22, 2013

Prayer for a Week of Tragedy and Terror

My friend Lonna Lynn Higgs is a pastor and chaplain for the United Methodist Children's Home in Alabama. She shared this beautiful prayer in her email "Lines from Lonna Lynn," and I share it with you with her permission.

Great and Loving God,

All around are beautiful signs of life in the warmth of the sun and the flowers of springtime. With the greening of the trees, the world is awash in new beginnings. But computer screens and cell phones portray a very different world, an ugly world where beautiful lives meet horrible untimely ends. In moments of tragedy and terror, you, Lord, are the first of the first responders. It is your divine strength and energy that emboldens the brave souls that risk their lives to stop the pain and save the suffering. It is your power that sends forth waves of selfless compassion in answer to senseless, selfish violence. May those waves of compassion wash over fatalities and families, injured victims and damaged communities. This day we remember everyone affected by the bombings in Boston, the factory explosion in Texas and other tragedies that have not made the news.

Forgive us when faith fails us in the face of evil. Forgive us when we get lost in desires for revenge and focus on fear. You are a God of love—the one who gave your only Son, not to condemn the world, but to save it; not to tear down and destroy but to build up and to bless. Help us, Lord, to love and not to judge, to come forward with compassion and not to hide away in corners.

Set us anew to the task of living as our Lord Jesus lived. Especially help us love persons who are disconnected, alienated or outcast. Inspire us to offer ourselves as caring companions with whom they can share their loneliness. Perhaps they will let go of smoldering frustration before it sparks into violence. Perhaps they will hear your still, small voice and accept the truth that sets them free. Perhaps they will find a life of joy and peace.

It is peace that the world needs, O God of Life. Send it, we pray. Send the peace that passes all understanding. Let it rain down, fill up and pour forth from the hearts of your people. Let peace overflow into a mighty healing river that flows into Boston; into West, Texas; and into every wounded spirit. Let it flow on and on until all people love you and suffering and sorrow end. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace.


The attached picture of a candle comes from an advertisement for an interfaith prayer service for the Boston Marathon.