On Sunday morning, life changed for those in Sutherland, Texas when a gunman killed 27 people and left many more injured inside First Baptist Church of Sutherland. Sunday night, a friend of mine was on a walk in with her husband when they were robbed and her husband was killed by gunfire. 9 days of marriage and having just returned from their honeymoon, their lives were forever changed.
I have no words today. Ever since putting it together that my sweet friend’s new season of life has been taken away from her, I can’t find words to say, but I’ve given God the tears that have been shed. 9 days after Rick and I married, he returned to work and I believe I set out to begin unpacking our belongings to make us a home. It breaks my heart that my friend won’t have that.
Sad stuff happens all the time in the news. I check the news, but I can’t handle sitting and listening straight through a news segment. My heart can’t handle it. The phrase, “Not my monkeys, not my circus”, must spring to minds often when watching the news – or at least the sentiment of it. How many of us wish that when we thought or said that and threw our hands up in the air, that all was really done with *that* situation and with *those* people? I think that’s how a lot of us feel when we see something on racism, violence and any other tragic atrocity that we see played out time and time again on our news outlets. We glance, we feel sad or guilty for a few seconds, we throw our opinions at it and then move on with our lives unless it directly affects us.
What if instead of throwing our hands up in the air and saying “not my monkeys, not my circus” we stopped and prayed though? Y’all, that questions seems really Jesus-y which isn’t really my style. It’s a little on the cliche side which I try to avoid at all costs. That Jesus-y, cliche question though is convicting the core of my heart right now.
Let’s do this together. Instead of saying, “not my people, not my concern” today, let’s rally for a few minutes for those around us who are hurting.
Pray with me.
God, we gather right where we are – not physically together, yet still united in your name. We thank you for your mercy, mightiness and graciousness. You are amazing and marvelous. When we look at you, it’s difficult to believe we are in your image as we fall so short of your glory. We are made in your image and called to live out your kingdom here on earth. That’s such a gift, especially in this breaking, hurting world.
We live in such a fallen world and cannot even begin to fathom the heartbreak that we cause to ourselves or others. The tears you must shed for us must make up an incredible amount. Lord, wrap your arms around those who are grieving, those who are hurting and aching in situations that most of us write off that “aren’t our concern”. Lord, make them our concern. Break our hearts for the things that are breaking yours. We lift up to you the following people and situations on this list right now.
– my sweet friend who is grieving her husband way too soon
– for those who have pulled the trigger, that they would repent and turn to you
– for the family and friends of gunmen who are struggling to reconcile the person they knew with the situation that unfolded before their eyes
– all the Pastors and PK’s who are looking at Sutherland and fearing for the safety of their own families and congregations
– for the loneliness of those battling chronic diseases and illnesses that have taken them away from the everyday normalcy of life
– for the care takers of the ill, the young and the elderly who everyday deal with tough moments that most don’t ever want to face
– the ones who are scraping together enough to feed their families now as they look ahead to the holidays with anxiety
– for the rich to disperse their wealth in ways that would glorify you and bring good to this broken world
– for those who are drunk on their own power that they may be humbled
– my brothers and sisters that are struggling the everyday horrors of racism based on their skin color
– my white brothers and sisters that have hardened hearts and veils over their eyes regarding their white privilege
– for the terrorists, may they question their violent actions and turn to seek your face
– for those who have been manipulated into a situation and don’t feel like they can step out, give them the peace, protection, strength and courage to do so
– the leaders of your church who don’t represent who you are, may they repent or be removed from leadership
– for the ones who are facing constant uphill battles and don’t believe they have the courage and strength to go on
– for those that have been justly imprisoned and for those who have been wrongly imprisoned and then forgotten
– the ones that feel like their lives don’t matter, reveal to them their unique purpose
– for those who have been left to die
– for the ones that are “forbidden” because of their heritage, their race, their sex, their economic standing
– the abused that are seeking help and those that are afraid to say something to begin to rectify their lives
– for the homeless who are trying to make it day to day
– for the employee who doesn’t think they can survive in their position, give them the courage to move on
– the ones that hearts are breaking and want to help, but can’t figure out where they fit in
– for healing and dignity restored to those who have been enslaved in any sense
– for wisdom and guidance in every stage and season of our lives
– those who hurting everyday yet continue to walk alongside the hurting and fighting injustices for others
– for the policemen, military and emergency personnel that they wouldn’t let their own biases get in the way of serving
– for those who are doing good, yet allowing their pride to get in the way
– the missionaries who are struggling to see their value in adverse situations and questioning His call for them
– for those who are fearful of the differences of those around them, bring them friends to help them understand
– for the orphans and widows who feel forgotten
– the ones that want a brighter future for themselves and their children but are paralyzed by formal systems they can’t fight
– for those struggling with inner demons and mental illnesses who don’t want to seek help for fear of judgment
– the persecuted church
– for those separated from their loved ones
– those risking their lives to use their voices and hands to serve the poor, the marginalized, the unworthy and the undignified
– for the parents who are worn-down and unsure how to navigate this season of life, may they be encouraged and find resources to guide them
– the ones that are working towards cures for diseases like cancer, give them discipline and willingness to continue
– for those with a platform that they would use it to bring awareness to injustice and to empower others
– for the generational sins wreaking havoc on our lives
– all the sinners and the saints not already named here
– Who else needs to be on this list? Pray for them.
Lord, hear our prayers. Let us see those on this list and those forgotten ones that should be on this list with eyes like yours. Let them know that they’ve been seen and their cries have been heard. Wrap your arms of love around them. Soften our hearts and give us a heart that breaks for those around us just as your heart is breaking so. Amen.