How to Pray In Light of Another Random Shooting (Chris Francis)
In the wake of the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon yesterday, we all know that we should pray.
We just struggle to know what exactly to pray for.
I mean, as I think about the parents who must have stayed up all night weeping for the loss of their children, prayer doesn’t seem all that helpful.
Nevertheless, here are some thoughts:
We should pray for the supernatural physical healing for the survivors whose bodies were pierced with bullets.
We should pray for the supernatural emotional healing for the teachers and students who narrowly escaped death but were severely traumatized.
We should pray for the supernatural comfort of the friends and family members who lost loved ones and whose lives will never ever be the same on this earth.
We should pray for humility for those who will respond to this tragedy by pushing for new reforms and new legislation.
We should pray for a spiritual stirring in the hearts of our entire nation, which has become too accustomed to these types of tragedies.
We should pray for a deep awareness of our own powerlessness to prevent this from happening in our own towns here on the Jersey Shore. And to our own children.
But in truth, as great as it would be if all those prayers are answered, there is one prayer that, when answered, will be more glorious than all those answered prayers combined.
Or maybe it’s better to say that this prayer, when answered, will be the ultimate answer to all our prayers.
It is the last prayer written in our Holy Scriptures:
20 He who testifies to these things (that’s Jesus) says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The book of Revelation was written for a very specific purpose. And it wasn’t so that church people could sit around speculating on who the anti-Christ is.
When Domitian became emperor of Rome, he made the persecution of Christians a top priority. He did the unthinkable to those Christians. And the book of Revelation (the “revelation” of what Jesus will do) was written to Christians who knew persecution was coming their way, and it was written so that they would be filled with hope and stay faithful to that hope.
So that if they were thrown to the lions, they could be confident that they would get back what they lost.
So that if they lost family members, they could be confident that they would be reunited with them some day.
And those early Christians were known to greet each other with the term “Maranatha.” It was a powerful declarative greeting which meant, “He is coming.”
If I lost one of my little girls to a random act of violence, I can’t imagine wanting to be told anything else.
So let us not look away from the pain of this broken world. Let us not numb ourselves with busy work. Let us feel it. And may it push us to fervently pray for the return of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the one whose name is above every name, whose kingdom will never end, and who will wipe every every tear.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.