A Prayer of Lament and Hope in Response to the Orlando Tragedy

     Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37:7-11 (ESV)

Dear heavenly Father, yesterday in Orlando we witnessed another day of terror-making darkness, evil-doing madness, and life-taking sadness. How long, O Lord, how Lord before you “cut off” all every expression evil? How long before “the wicked will be no more”? How much longer is “just a little while“?

It’s hard not to fret. It’s hard not to feel fearful and angry when public gatherings become the venue for the horrifying murder of your image bearers. Father, we offer our prayer, not in self-righteous judgment, but as your weary children, longing for the Day when your glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14)—when perfect peace will replace systemic darkness; when the wolf and lamb will live together (Isa. 9:6); when guns and knives will become tools for agriculture and harvest (Isa. 2:1-5).

Until that Day, Father, free us from all bitterness and a thirst for revenge. Make us warriors of peace and agents of hope. Replace our frets and fears with faith and trust, patience and courage. Our labors in the Lord are never in vain. The gospel of the kingdom will prevail. Jesus defeated evil on the cross, and he will eradicate evil at his return. Hasten that Day, Lord.

Until then, grant us wisdom to know what loving mercy, doing justice, and walking humbly with you looks like in Orlando, and in our own communities. We pray for the scores of families directly impacted by this tragedy; and we pray for healthcare workers and counselors, pastors and neighbors who will show up to love well. Grant them your compassion and grace. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and grace-full name.