A Prayer for a Grieving Nation

for the week of September 17, 2001
by Rubel Shelly

Almighty God, when we are frightened by the close face of evil, help us to see your face of holiness, concern, and love more clearly. When we are horrified that hatred can generate such inhumanity as we have witnessed, give us a sense of joy in the noble deeds of compassion that have been generated by people made in your likeness. When we feel such shock and anger that we are tempted to give way to bloodlust and revenge, restrain us and show us the path to a just, measured, and effective response.

After the horrific events of September 11, we pray for those still suffering:
for those who mourn their dead,
for those who have lost husband or wife, parent or child,
for those who have no home or place of work,
for those who are so frightened still that they cannot sleep, and
especially for those who have no hope in You to sustain them in their grief.

In response to the terrorist assaults on our nation, we pray for our leaders:
for President Bush to have wisdom and courage to do what is right,
for his counselors and advisors to offer righteous judgments and options,
for our allies and friends to join us both in grieving and in replying to evil,
for parents who must comfort confused and frightened children, and
especially for all our leaders to turn to you for righteousness and truth.

In the midst of our suffering, grief, and confusion, we thank you:
for brave police, firefighters, rescue workers, and soldiers,
for people who have donated blood or money, time and prayer for victims,
for uniting people of different parties, colors, and faiths to be one nation,
for promising never to abandon or forsake those who call upon you, and
especially for giving us peace in the certainty that love can conquer hatred.

Holy God, we commit ourselves to your sovereign care in the months and years of healing, response, and rebuilding that lie ahead. Heal our wounds. Show us a response that is just and aggressive enough to punish and deter evil but tempered enough not to provoke more hatred. Let us build our future upon the sure foundation of righteousness and seeking for your kingdom.

In the name of Jesus, we pray that humankind will seek and find You. Amen.

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NOTE: For occasional special postings about events, attitudes, and spiritual perspectives related to America's "Response to World Terrorism," please access the America at War section from the home page or go to http://FaithMatters.faithsite.com/content.asp?ListSG=3940

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