October 10, 2023

Adam's Blog: Praying Through Tragedy

There are too many days when our hearts are heavy, when something locally, nationally, or globally happens that causes us to feel helpless. In times of struggle, war, and tragedy, prayer is not an easy way out or a way to not act on the things that are happening. If we believe God is God, and that he cares for what is going on in our world, prayer is engaging the One who can do something about the pain and suffering. It doesn't mean we can't and shouldn't act in other ways, but when tragedy hits our hearts and homes, an immediate response can be prayer. But maybe you have trouble knowing what to say or what to pray. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Tell God about your confusion and frustration. He already knows and cares more than we can know.

2. Pray for mercy. People who are in the middle of the impacts of tragedy need relief from the pain and confusion. They need God's mercy.

3. Pray for healing. The physical, emotional, mental, and social impacts of tragedy are far-reaching. Praying for healing for all involved, even in hidden ways, can be significant.

4. Pray for peace. We navigate a world of hate. Pray for peace that surpasses our understanding, and peace that prevails in all people in all times in all places.

5. Pray for kindness. As we respond to tragedy, we often lash out at other people, especially those who might not believe the same things or have the same politics or opinions we have. Pray for kindness, in your own heart and the hearts of your neighbors.

6. Pray for hope. As we trust God, we can still have hope no matter the terrible circumstances. Pray for hope in the midst of tragedy.

7. Pray for change. When you pray this, be prepared for God to tell you how you might be a part of the change. Nonetheless, pray for change in the hearts and minds of people so that tragedy might not be as prevalent, and God's will might prevail.  

8. Pray for courage. It’s natural for someone who is grieving to be annoyed or angered by “thoughts and prayers.” As a follower of Christ, we are prompted to pray for change and then BE the change. In love, advocate for the change you believe honors Jesus. God will give the strength to see it through.

9. Pray for leaders. There are leaders throughout the world impacted by tragedy and struggle every day who also have the influence to do something about it. Pray for leaders to follow God’s will, and to make decisions that please God before anything else.

Prayer isn't the end of things, but I wholeheartedly believe that prayer makes a difference and that it is not wrong to pray when we hear of terrible tragic things in our world. Keep your heart open for how God meets you as you pray.