Armed policemen on guard in street at night

Heavenly Father, we grieve with those who have lost loved ones, and have been severely disabled by the tragic events of this past week. All of a sudden, politics and foreign conflict, the stock market and taxes are displaced by dangers closer to home. Our first thought is of people we know who might be affected. We call them to make sure they and their loved ones are safe. We pray for those who are not, who have died, who have been injured, who have been bereaved, whose lives have been changed forever by what has happened. Lord, I remember visiting my daughter when she lived in Redlands, San Bernandino County. She now works in a similar county mental health center in Texas which serves those with developmental disabilities. Locations of these tragedies come alive for me in my imagination. She could have been one of those killed or wounded. In solidarity with the victims, we pray for their healing, for their restoration, for their future hope and comfort. May they know the healing power of your love and presence.

Lord, Jesus, you once spoke about those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them. You said that they were not more guilty or deserving of such a sudden death than all the others living in Jerusalem (Luke 13:4).  You seemed to say that such events expose our mortality. The sudden and unexpected deaths and injuries of those involved in such tragedies touch us deeply because we identify with the victims and their loved ones.  In the shock of their loss we see our own lives cut short prematurely. We contemplate our own future and are challenged to think about the significance of our own lives, of whether we are prepared to die and whether we are ready to face you. May these horrific tragedies cause us to turn to you, to take seriously your purpose for us, so that we may abandon trivialities and focus on seeking your righteous and holy will, and trust in your provision for our salvation.

Lord Jesus Christ, who wept at the grave of Lazarus: we commend to your tender care and compassion those whose loss is greatest at this time, because their lives were closest and their love was strongest. In the midst of their deep sorrow give them the comfort of your powerful, resurrection presence, and the courage and faith which they need to face life again in the days to come. And may your peace be with them, Lord, both now and always. Amen.

We pray also for those who encourage these acts of violence that they may be stopped, repent and be converted to Jesus Christ. We pray also for our law enforcement officers that they may be diligent in defending and protecting us. We pray also for our civil and military authorities, that they may take such steps that are necessary for our national security to deter further acts of violence. We pray also for the Muslim world that they may renounce violence and seek the way, the truth and the life of the Prince of Peace. Amen.