Our Prayer for Charlottesville and Our Nation
A few weeks ago, our church participated in a traditional form of prayer called The Prayers of the People. These prayers provide a space to call upon the Lord’s mercy in our world, as well as to bring our laments before Him and mourn together over all the displays of brokenness in our world, as we wait for the fullness of His kingdom to come to complete fruition.
As the people of God, we need this space and this practice.
This last week in particular has given us plenty to lament as a church. Specifically, our hearts are drawn to reflect on what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. If you have not heard many of the details: at the end of last week, there was a rally held by White Supremacists and White Nationalist groups on the University of Virginia campus, where riots and fighting broke out. There was also a casualty as a result of a car plowing into a crowd of counter-protesters. This is incredibly heartbreaking and sad for a lot of reasons. It’s a hurtful reminder that evil and racism are real, and it provides an undeniable look at the longstanding, deep, and complex brokenness that exists in our nation.
So last Sunday… in our sadness, brokenness, frustration, and fear… we came before Jesus. We lamented together as a church and asked God for His mercy on our nation and mercy on our church. We asked for His help to be a people of God that longs for His Kingdom to come in its fullness. And even in the darkest of hours, we held on to this good news: the God we serve will not let anything stand in the way of His purposes being accomplished. Not hate, fear, or racism. God’s Kingdom will come. As believers, this is where our hope lies. We mourn with those who mourn, and we express lament that is rooted in the hope of God.
Here is our prayer:
First of all, as a church… we care. We care, God, because you care… and we long for you. We long for your Kingdom to come in this broken world. We long to be a people who will reflect what it looks like to be the people of God. We long to live in honesty and in truth. We also long to be agents of unity and ministers of reconciliation. But we need the Holy Spirit to be righteously equipped.
God, we pray for the students and people of Virginia. We pray for all those who are living in fear from this past week. Would you protect them, keep them safe, and comfort them? We pray for the Church in Virginia to be a safe place and refuge—that victims would be loved and supported there.
We pray against hate and racism both in Charlottesville and in our country. We also pray for the racist heart and for those who are affected by racism. Would you fill those who participated in the Charlottesville rally with your compassion and your love? Drive out evil and hate from all hearts, Lord.
God, we pray for the church. Help us to examine our own hearts. Equip us with your righteousness. Help us in our frustration and anger. Teach us how to be angry, yet without sin. We confess that human anger does not produce the righteousness that you desire. So give us discernment, grace, and the capacity to hold all of the feelings that these issues bring up in us… so that we can be the Church.
We pray also for those with apathetic and indifferent hearts. Maybe for some of us, we don’t feel anything around what is going on… Lord, help us. Would you show us how your heart breaks over these things? Give us a burden to care deeply for our brothers and sisters, even at times where we may not know how to identify and empathize with them. And most importantly, equip us as the church to be ministers of peace and of reconciliation as we wrestle with these truths.
In Jesus’ name,
Please continue to keep Charlottesville in prayer, keep our nation in prayer, and keep Reality San Francisco in prayer.