After Oregon's Tragedy, Pray the Prayer of Tears

In the wake of another senseless act of violence, God is ready to receive our weeping, to turn it into hope.

Posted in , Oct 5, 2015

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Oregon, pray the prayer of tears.

Another shooting happened last week at a community college in Oregon. Nine innocent people died, adding to our collective sense of grief and frustration.

Since then, of course, airwaves and the internet have been filled with anger and argument, outcries and opinions of all kinds. Such things are understandable. They can even be healthy. Though few people—if any—would suggest that prayers alone are sufficient at such a time, prayer is critical. And particularly the prayer of tears.

The psalmist David cried out:

Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. (Psalm 39:12, NIV)

On another occasion, he asked God:

Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll. (Psalm 56:8, NIV)

Tears of grief and passion—even fury—are precious in the sight of God. We may instinctively try to stifle our tears when tragedy strikes and grief overwhelms. But maybe we shouldn’t. Especially when words fail us, our tears can say what we can’t express. Tears cleanse. Tears relieve. And tears pray.

So let yourself cry. Let your tears pray. Ask God to listen to your weeping. Ask him to record your tears and in his loving, providential wisdom, turn them into healing, help and hope—for you, for victims and for our hurting, sin-stained, violent world.

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