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‘How can this be?’ A prayer following a church shooting

We pray with and for those healing from tragic loss. Photo via ChristianPics.co.

Photo via ChristianPics.co

Finding words during an unthinkable tragedy can be difficult. United Methodist deacons Joe Iovino and Ryan Dunn offer a prayer for strength, peace, and guidance, following the tragic loss of life in a church shooting.

 

Gracious and loving God,
     we come before you today—heartbroken.
We grieve whenever we hear of violence,
     over loss of life we can hardly comprehend.
This time, it all happened in a church.
     How can this be?

Going to church is our respite from a chaotic world.
In our sanctuaries, we worship you,
     and receive a dose of your Holy Spirit
     to energize our hope for the week ahead.

In this place where we sing, “Let there be peace on earth,”
     there was violence.
Near the table where we have found healing
     through Christ’s body broken and blood poured out for us,
     we have experienced hurt.
On Sundays, we come to feel your presence around us,
     yet, on this Sunday, evil came through the door.
We cry out with the psalmist, How long, O Lord,
     must we bear pain in our souls
     and sorrow in our hearts?

What do we do now, O God?
     How do we choose life, choose peace, choose you?
We hear your call to wait for you,
     but fear we may be lagging behind.
Show us your way, O God.
Lead us through this valley.
     Comfort us with your presence.
     Take us to the table you have set before us
          where we might find healing and peace.
Show us your way through the darkness,
     from suffering to healing,
     from cross to resurrection.
In the name of Jesus, our guide, we pray. Amen.

This prayer was written in response to the tragic mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday, November 5, 2017.

Joe Iovino and Ryan Dunn work at United Methodist Communications. Contact Joe by email or at 615-312-3733.