A Prayer of Lament
On Sunday, May 31st, we took some time during our morning gathering to pray and lament over the events that have taken place in the last several weeks in our nation and in our city. Below is the prayer that was prayed by Pastor David, and which we wanted to make available, as we continue to grieve and process the unfolding events in the days and weeks to come.
Father, many of us are coming to you this morning with very heavy, burdened, fatigued, sorrowful, lamenting, frustrated, and maybe even angry hearts.
It has been a rough week, really a rough few weeks—especially for many of our minority brothers and sisters—as we again see and feel the weight and brokenness of this world on full display.
From the heartbreaking and gut-wrenching videos of murder we witnessed in the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, to peaceful protests for justice being hijacked for the destruction of our city and many cities around the country, to the ongoing pandemic and the racial targeting of our Asian-American brothers and sisters…
Lord, we can’t even open up our phones, turn on the TV, or even step outside some of our doors, without being reminded of the brokenness of sin in our world.
And if we’re honest, we’re tempted maybe to emotionally shut down, throw in the proverbial towel, and look for a way of escape.
And yet Lord, we know this season is not a surprise to you. In fact, you tell us in your word, that because of sin there will be “men who suppress the truth by their wickedness” and are filled with every kind of “evil, greed, depravity…envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice” (Rom. 1:18, 28-29).
And our hearts cry out with the Psalmist, “How long, O’ Lord?!” (Ps. 13)
- Father, our hearts long for restoration, for your redemption, and for your justice and righteousness to prevail.
- We long to see an end to the racial violence that continues to separate our country and our world.
- We long to see leaders, politicians, and those placed in power, rule with justice and equity.
- We long to see your justice prevail in the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many many more.
- Father, we know, deep down, that what we ultimately long for is you!
And this season is a stark reality, that there is no hope in this world apart from you.
There is no hope for the human heart, except for it to be radically transformed by your grace.
So Father, our hearts grieve and lament. We lament, because our world is not as it should be.
And we lament because we are not what we should be.
And yet, this we call to mind, and therefore we have hope…“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:23-24)
And we know that hope in you is not a vague feeling that we “hope things will one day get better”, but a confident expectation that your Gospel is big enough to heal the brokenness of the human heart.
It is big enough to free us from our own biases, our own blind spots, our own indifference, our own self-righteousness, our own unrighteous anger—and ultimately our rejection of you as Savior and Lord of our life.
So, Lord, we come humbly to you this morning and ask:
- That you would comfort the black community that is hurting right now—whether that be in and through us as a church, or other churches in Seattle, or and maybe most of all, by and through your Spirit. Remind them that you see them, you know their hurt, their concerns, and their pain. And as Psalms 23 reminds us, that even though we go through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with us, and your rod and your staff comfort us.
- That you would bring comfort to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, as they are deeply grieving right now. We ask that you would help them see that you are their ultimate vindication.
- For repentance, salvation, and justice for the officers and others involved in these killings.
- For wisdom for Minneapolis, Seattle, and other city leaders around the country. We ask that you would allow them to rule and lead with wisdom, equity, and justice, and that those in positions of authority would fight for reform where needed. And we ask that you would carefully guide every person involved in the judicial process of all of these cases—so that truth and justice would prevail.
- That you would give us a deep love and empathy for our neighbors. That we wouldn’t write all this off as political, but be willing to listen and learn. Be willing to hear and console, and be willing to encourage and exhort.
- That you would make us a bold people, who are willing to stand for truth, stand for justice, and stand with those who are oppressed—not because we’re supposed to, but because we love our neighbor.
- For other area churches and pastors who are already knee-deep in pastoring through a pandemic, we ask that you would help them love and lead their people well this morning; that you would give them wisdom in their words, to point everyone back to you as the ultimate answer to the deepest problems we are faced with.
- And finally Lord, we ask that you would protect the unity of the Church, our church, and not let another gospel of nationalism, personal autonomy, good deeds, activism, or even altruism, to strip the true Gospel of its Saving power.
Lord, we long for the day, where you tell us in Revelation, that your work will come to an end. Where there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more death, no more racism, no more injustice, no more Covid-19, no more suffering… and where there will be perfect peace.
God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule.
Until then, Father, protect us from wanting the Kingdom without the King. Protect us from not caring about the plight of our neighbors who are lost without you, and help us keep our eyes fixed on you.
Make us teachable and willing to learn, Keep us humble. Give us eyes to see, and ears to hear, the truths that free us from bondage to sin, and give us life in you.
And we pray all these things, in your name, the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.