(One of the ways we bring our hurts, confusion, and frustration to God is through prayers of lament. We lament the brokenness of our world to God because we trust him, and we know he alone can comfort us in our pain and bring justice where it’s needed. For a helpful resource on how lament can be a bridge for racial reconciliation, see Mark Vroegop’s upcoming book Weep With Me.)
“I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.” Psalm 77:1-2
God, we thank you that your Word gives us examples of turning to you with our complaints when we are in pain, weary, and even angered over the injustices and sin in our world. We, as your people, echo the words of the psalmist, “How long O Lord?” How long will racism divide our nation? How long will injustices continue? How long must black men and women fear for their lives, or parents worry about the treatment and safety of their children? How long must they endure in weariness and weeping, O God?
We mourn over the events this week and the deaths of your image-bearers. We mourn that George Floyd’s brutal death isn’t the first of its kind but it feels like one drop in a downpour of injustice. We mourn the history of racism, division, evil, and death that sin has swept up our nation in. And we mourn the experiences brothers and sisters in our church body have to go through, or the fear parents live with wondering if this will happen to their kids one day. We mourn the violence and destruction wreaking havoc on our cities this weekend.
God, we bring our lament to you and we mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. We eagerly await the day when Jesus will fully heal all pain, will fully reconcile all division, will fully bring justice to the wronged, and will fully remove the evil of sin and all its byproducts in our hearts and lands.
But until that day, we ask for you to be present and at work in mighty ways. We pray for comfort for the hurting, strength to endure for the weary, and for justice to prevail over evil. We ask for wisdom as individuals and as a church to know what we can do to be part of your plan for change in our world. Remove any seeds of prejudice or racism from our hearts. Help us to listen to the pain of others, to show Christian empathy by weeping with those who weep, to learn from wrongs and take steps toward reconciliation, and give us the wisdom we lack in being peacemakers and justice-pursuers in our day.
Cause the ears of those in power to hear the voices, pain, and languish of those who have long been silenced. May this be a pivotal moment in our nation’s history that can bring lasting change for good. And for the people and cities across our country right now that are enraged and on fire, we pray for peace and safety. For the many police officers in our country and our church who are trying to uphold justice and seeking the good of others, watch over and protect them.
Father, our hearts ache with the destruction taking place throughout our cities this weekend. We echo the words of Jeremiah and pray for the peace of our cities. Bring order out of chaos. Keep our nation from fighting injustice with injustice. Give wisdom to local and national leaders, and raise up leaders who can rally us together. Wake up your Church from her sleepy daze and contentment with the idols of comfort that cause us to distance ourselves from what’s taking place or speaking without first listening. May we hold firm to promises of your Word when our hearts tremble. May we reflect the mercy, compassion, love, wisdom, and righteousness of Jesus.
And Father, as we continue a church sermon series on being unified, we desperately pray a work of God in our own church. We thank you for what we saw last week about how Christ purchased the Church’s peace so that we are all one in him. Black, White, Latino, Asian, men, women, young, and old, we who were earthly strangers have become spiritual siblings. Christ has made us fellow members of one household. Bring this unity into reality in our midst. Grow and change our own church so we have greater diversity and greater unity. May the miraculous work of unity you create be a testimony to the world of the unrivaled power of the gospel. We pray that a lost world would be found by Jesus and taste the grace, healing, and reconciliation he alone can bring.
Lord, there is so much brokenness in our world and in our lives, would you move in a powerful way with the grace, healing, comfort, and restoration that only you can give? Give us hope to hope. Give us faith when we’re shaken. Give us more of Christ to sustain us and help us to be lights in the darkness.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, the one who knows firsthand about suffering, injustice, and pain and yet has secured the ultimate victory as the risen and returning king. Amen.