Prayer for a Wounded Land

Dear Lord,

The brutal events which unfolded across our nation in recent days reveal how torn and divided we are.  The soul of America is desperately wounded and needs healing that can come only from your hand.

We pray for the families of those who were slain so senselessly this week:  Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in Minneapolis, and the five police officers, (Loren Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa.) -- That you would grant them comfort in this dark hour, and strength to face the painful days that lie ahead.

We remember those who were wounded in Dallas, and those who witnessed the violence in Louisiana and Minnesota firsthand. We remember the children who are being raised in communities where gun violence is commonplace. Please overshadow them with your presence and keep them safe.

We pray for those who serve in law enforcement, as they place themselves daily at risk to serve and protect the vulnerable.  Please grant them discernment and understanding for these perplexing situations.  Help them to always cherish life, and to value all people as equals, created in God's image.

We pray for our African American brothers and sisters, as, once again, they suffer violence from the very hands of those who are called to protect them.  May men and women of peace in the African American community arise to provide strong, non-violent leadership.  May they find a pathway to healthy partnership with law enforcement for safe communities and equality for all, rather than viewing them as an army of occupation.

Help us all to remember and apply these words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:  “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”

Heal our hearts, O Lord.  Heal our land.  Help us to reach out across the divide, that we may learn to understand and embrace each other.

For Christ’s Sake and in His Name,
Amen

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