A Charleston Prayer

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God of our fathers, this is our first Sunday since the shooting in Charleston, and so we turn to You, the God of all comfort. You have sent Your Comforter, Your Holy Spirit, into a world filled with sorrows in order to carry them together with us. Your Spirit is present and doing this because You had first sent Your Son into the world as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Because He bore our sins on the cross, and because He then rose again from the dead, it was possible, it became necessary, for the Comforter to come. We turn to You now in desperate need of His presence and His active ministry. We turn to You now empty, in need of the fullness of His goodness.

Father, one of the broken people came into a place of healing and tried to reverse Your work in the world. He wanted to make a sanctuary of salvation into a room full of malice, and so we plead with You to help us to see the design and plan behind this evil action, and not to fall for whatever the greater intention was. Help us to keep looking to You. He tried to smother Your infinite light with his tiny patch of darkness, and so we pray to You to protect us from the incoherence of believing that the darkness could ever overcome the light of Your mercy, grace, kindness, goodness and love.

We rejoice at the abundant grace You are pouring out on those most affected, and we pray that our prayers would continue to sustain them. Father, we know that they feel the grace of Your presence heavily now, and we know that they understand how many people are praying for them, but we also plead with you to sustain them in the months and years to come, when the shock gives way to the ache of years. We pray for Your comfort now, and we pray that Your comfort would continue and that it would grow.

Father, protect us all from the strife of tongues. Hide us away in Your pavilion; set us upon Your rock.

God and Lord, You have given us great and precious promises. “To this man will I look, Even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, And trembleth at my word.” We ask You to look on us now. We want to obey Your Word in response to this. We want to obey it completely. We want to turn entirely away from the kind of brokenness that does this kind of thing, but embrace the kind of brokenness that pleases You, and that invites Your smile.

And Father, we rejoice in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the dead. Because we are Your servants, we are not abandoned in this place. Our grief is the grief of temporary separation, and we are not as those who are without You and without hope in the world. Those who died because they decided to attend a prayer meeting are now among a great triumphant host. Your Word tells us that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us. We conclude by asking You by Your grace to crown those who died with glory and honor, and to adorn those who are grieving with a spirit of everlasting consolation and good hope, so that they may be sorrowful and yet always rejoicing. We ask that every tear they shed be a tear that was already shed by the Lord Jesus. Help them to continue to follow our Lord in all grace.

So we pray to You, we lift all of this up to You, in the name of Jesus. We offer up all the inarticulate griefs that have no words attached to them yet, and we do that in the name of Jesus as well. And as we come to You in the power of the Spirit, in the name of Jesus, we do it in the full confidence that the way You would have us live is not the way of the world, and we ask You to give to us what You require of us. Hear us now, we pray. Answer our petitions, we pray. We do all of this in the strong name of Jesus, and amen.

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doug sayers
doug sayers
6 years ago

Amen, in Cincinnati.

Peter Hyatt
6 years ago

Amen, in Maine.

denise
denise
6 years ago

Amen in Washington

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
6 years ago

Reverend Wilson, did you post a prayer about the eight white co-workers murdered by black Omar Thornton back in 2010 for being racist? Or one about the 12 people, mostly white, shot by the black man Aaron Alexis at the Navy Yard in 2013, as a protest against racism? Or one about the 13 people, mostly white, murdered by the brown man Nidal Hassan at Fort Hood in 2009? If not, what is the standard for judging which mass murders merit posted prayers and which ones don’t? Is it only when white people kill non-whites? Is it only when mass… Read more »

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago

Gregory, The prayer is for a people defined by Christ and the adoption by the Father into His people, NOT for a people defined by ethnicity. The fact that you’re so offended that more prayers aren’t said for a white-skinned-defined people than there are for a Christ-defined people is an indication, perhaps, that you are merely white-skinned-defined and not Christ-defined. Perhaps we are liable to think that saying something on a mere blog doesn’t warrant listening to the Spirit. I don’t think I’m taking blog comments too seriously by hoping that you repent of the sin reflected in what you… Read more »

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

How is it a sin to wonder why Rev. Wilson chose to comment on this extremely rare white on black mass murder, but not the far more common black/brown on white mass murders, or to wonder if it was because the murders took place in a church, and not in a workplace environment? I didn’t assume it’s about race. I questioned if his decision to post a prayer about it was possibly affected by race, or possibly affected by the fact that it took place in a church. Maybe you missed that part? It just seems odd that he chose… Read more »

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago

I wouldn’t criticize Pastor Wilson for speaking on this. The fact that multiple Christians were murdered in a Church demands a response. I do take all Evangelical leaders to task for not commenting on the other killings on the previous thread. Even if we assume the best of intentions, Christian pundits address above the fold stories and the powers that be determine which stories are above the fold.

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

I didn’t criticize him for posting a prayer about this. It’s a horrible, awful thing. All I did was ask why he never has posted prayers about other mass murders, with even more victims, which were also horrible, awful things. And I still think that’s a fair question.

jillybean
jillybean
6 years ago

I sometimes think we need to get past the idea that a condemnation of only one atrocity is somehow a toleration of every other. It should not be necessary for a pastor to add a disclaimer to every massacre: “Nothing I say here should be seen as indifference to murder, no matter the identity of the victim or the perpetrator.”

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
6 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Who said anything like he should add a “disclaimer” about every mass murder to this prayer? I didn’t ask why he didn’t add a disclaimer about indifference to past mass murders to this prayer. My question was why he has never offered prayers about mass murders before. Was mass murder not a grievous thing until June 2015?

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
6 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Thank you, Rev. Wilson.

mkt
mkt
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

I completely agree. I don’t think Wilson has ever published a public prayer for any racial incident. However, this is basically the same thing as ISIS entering a church and gunning down Christians. It doesn’t matter what races are involved. And if a black man gunned down a bunch of white Christians in a church, I think he’d do the same thing…unlike many Reformed and Evangelical leaders.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago

Amen

Benjamin Bowman
6 years ago

Amen in Indian Harbor Beach