How to Pray in the Aftermath of a Tragic Loss

God is here to comfort the afflicted, and God is here to change this world.

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Posted in , May 25, 2022

Offering comfort

It’s happening too often. The headlines are heart-wrenching. Children killed in school through senseless violence. People murdered in a supermarket because they happen to be the wrong color. A gunman letting loose on a New York subway train in the middle of what you would expect to be a peaceful Sunday.

How to explain it? What to say to your kids when they ask about it? How to respond? How to be a person of faith and understand what is incomprehensible? How to pray, what to pray, can it even be a time of prayer?

Yes, yes, in these senseless moments we must not be afraid to turn to our faith and to turn to God for understanding. Jesus did. The saints did. The prophets in the Bible did. The psalmist looks to God for the same understanding. Ask for help. Hope. Guidance.

As Christians, we know too much about senseless death. We worship the Son of God who was Himself the victim of a baseless, political murder, dying on the cross. When we wonder about our own pain, we know that God understands. God understands because God felt the pain of that crucifixion. Jesus felt the pain. He prayed for it to go away. And still it came.

But then what happened? Jesus rose from the dead and returned to earth in His resurrected Self to help us re-make this world. To save us from evil. To bring the peace which we yearn for.

There’s my prayer. One of peace. May Jesus be our partners in peace. To be our partner in the healing of the world.

We pray, of course, for the victims. We pray for their loved ones, suffering from such loss. Our heart goes out to them. Their suffering will go on long after the headlines have faded. May we not forget. Never forget. God doesn’t forget.

But we also pray for those who commit such violence. May their hearts be rid of evil. May it be banished out of sight. 

Change, that’s what we demand. Change. It can’t go on this way. 

And change is what Jesus came into the world for. That we might be changed. That we might be able to change others. That peace will prevail. That old patterns will die. That new ones will rise.

Our prayers are so powerful they can lead to action. On our part. On other people’s part. We advocate for peace. We advocate for understanding and compassion. God is love, and we show how love can conquer all. Can erase evil. Can erase it from the universe.

And that is where my prayers end. When someone asks, “How can God let such tragedies happen?” I can only answer, “God is here to comfort the afflicted, and God is here to change this world.” Then get to work. Speak out to a political authority. Sign that petition. Write that letter. God’s love is always at work. Let us be on the side of that love.

Tags: Covid-prayer
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