Since last Friday, I have struggled with our nation, perhaps our world, to process the horrific violence that took place in Newtown, Connecticut. A part of me felt responsible to use this platform, small as it may be, to acknowledge the grief of so many. But what words could possibly fit the enormity of pain so many are experiencing?
This morning my friend Julie posted a prayer on her blog, A Sky About to Rain. Julie's words not only fit, but provide a means for action as we ask God for His grace and mercy on all those affected. Her prayer is a gift and tool to bring healing where it is so desperately needed. She said I could share it with you.
My Prayer for Newtown
As I drove my 5 year old to kindergarten today and my 3 year old to preschool, returning in a bit to watch him in his Christmas pageant, my heart aches for the parents in Newtown. If it were a natural disaster, I could send aid. There is nothing I can send that will really help. All most of us can do is to keep praying.
This is my prayer for Newtown.
For your town, as you continue to come together to mourn those lost, I pray for unity. That you would surround these families with all the love and support that you have to offer. That you would commit to serve and comfort and pray for them for years to come as they grieve and as they hopefully heal.
For your First Responders, that they would turn to You for comfort and that they might find a safe place to talk about this tragedy and find peace.
For your teachers, that they would find healing in You. That they would understand how valued, how needed they are. That they also would not be afraid, but empowered by You to continue teaching, loving and guiding the children you have placed in their classrooms.
For your children, who still live, but are haunted by this event and scared, that they would have family, counselors and friends who would surround them, reassure them, love them. That You, LORD, would overshadow their minds and their hearts with love and security. That they would be able to sleep at night, eat when they are hungry and that you would turn their anxiety and fear into peace.
For the extended families of the victims, that you would give grace to them as they weep. That they would never feel alone in their sadness but that You would bind them together as a family. Heal old wounds so that these families might be united in love as they move forward, day by day. May they find ways to express the love they felt for the one they lost to other members of their family who are hurting. In their anger and outrage, help them to not shut you out, Father, but to run to You for help and healing. Count their tears, LORD. Lift up their broken hearts.
I pray for you, brothers and sisters of those lost, that you would find shelter and refuge in the God of all Comfort. That you will carry this brother, this sister, in your heart close to you always. That you will grow up not in bitterness of spirit but will find grace in your journey. That as your mothers and fathers mourn that others will surround you to also be moms and dads to you during this time. That you will still understand how much you are loved and treasured even if your parents don't have the strength to show it fully at this time.
I pray for you, Mothers, Fathers. In this, the deepest, darkest, midnight of your soul, that you would be infused with Hope from above. That God Himself would rush to your aid. That in the most hollow, bitter hole in your heart that you would experience Emmanuel, God with you, in a way that is real and all-encompassing. That you would not feel alone, even for a moment, in this grief. That you would feel the love of family, friends, and a nation holding you up. That moment by moment, the God of all grace and peace would give you strength in your body, mind, and spirit. Strength to breathe.
Moment by moment, in this, your greatest nightmare, that by your Creator, you would be held.
I am a Follower of Jesus, Mommy of Two, Seeker of Truth and Lover of Life. Learning to live by Grace, day by day, in this Journey of Life.
To read more from Julie, visit her blog here.