After the Pittsburgh Shooting: Prayers for Healing from Hatred and Violence

How faith communities help us stay connected to the love, kindness, faith and generosity in this world.

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Posted in , Oct 29, 2018

Prayer group

Every Monday morning at 9:45 I join a few colleagues here at the New York editorial offices and pray over, for and with those people who have asked for our prayers. As you probably know, whatever your need, you can send prayer requests to us 24 hours a day.

This Monday I was feeling, as so many other Americans are feeling, bereft at the thought of those faithful people worshipping at their synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday and then being attacked in an act of senseless violence. What to do? Pray of course. But how? With what words?

I should have trusted that the praying community of Guideposts would offer help. Because among the requests for prayer for health, financial security, jobs, children, there was this prayer from an anonymous writer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you and humbly ask you to heal people’s hearts from all the hatred and violence in our world today. Encourage and guide each one of us to show love to one another. Let us remember your teaching in Galatians: ‘The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’”

There were many other requests that touched my heart: “Please pray for me to be able to settle all my debts,” “Praying for anxious thoughts to be no more,” “Please pray for safe travel,” “Please pray for me to have a permanent job,” “Could you please pray when I go to the doctors tomorrow…”

I was glad to pray for all of them. At heart, peace of mind can help us deal with all the challenges that we face day after day. In fact, just reading the many requests was helpful to me. A sure reminder of not being alone.

But I found myself returning to that prayer for healing from hatred and violence. How wonderful to be reminded of the passage from Galatians. How good to start the day with those words in my head: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Looking for the right word of prayer? A faith community can surely help. Even an online one. 

Tags: Prayer
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