Prayers for Uvalde, Texas

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Our staff and steering committees wrote these prayers for the community of Uvalde, Texas.

A prayer in response to Uvalde

Oh Lord, you know what death feels like — as one murdered, as one who watched your child murdered, as one who brings new life from murder. So we come to you today.

Look and see, oh Lord, what has happened to your children – those who were slain in a place that should be safe. Let your anger burn against such injustice. Act, oh Lord, on their behalf.

Look and see, oh Lord, those who witnessed such horrors and survived. Let your peace flood over them, and let your love surround them in their terror, shock, and pain. Act, oh Lord, on their behalf.

Look and see, oh Lord, the families so violently and suddenly ripped apart by another mass shooting. Let your Spirit comfort and guide them in the days, weeks, and years to come. Act, oh Lord, on their behalf.

Look and see, oh Lord, all the survivors of similar attacks — for there have been too many — as old wounds are reopened by recent events. In your mercy, guard their hearts. Act, oh Lord, on their behalf.

Bring life, oh Lord, from death.

But also:

Look and see, oh Lord, those who were in power who could have done something to prevent such an atrocity, but did nothing. Righteous judge, let their hearts feel the weight of their choices and be moved to action. Act, oh Lord, on the behalf of those suffering for their leaders’ inaction.

Look and see, oh Lord, those who are in power today who can act on behalf of our children. King of kings, Lord of lords, President of presidents, Congressmen of congressmen, and Governor of governors, let those who share in your power on earth move to thwart further mass shootings in this land. Act, oh Lord, within their hearts that they might meaningfully act within this nation.

Look and see, oh Lord, the people of this nation. Examine our hearts, examine our motives and fears, and root out our compliancy and growing acceptance of gun violence as part of this world you’ve created. Act within us, oh Lord, as your image bearers.

Forgive us, oh Lord, if we repent from our sin, like Nineveh responding to your word of warning through Jonah.

But, as you said to Nineveh through your prophet Nahum not too long afterwards, “the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.” 1 Let your judgment come upon this land, oh Lord, if we, also like Nineveh — the “bloody city” — fail to act. 2

But in all things, oh Lord, hallowed be your name; your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.

Amen.
1 Nahum 1:3
2 Nahum 3:1

 

Praying through grief with Psalm 13

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
Light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13

 

A prayer for mercy for Uvalde, for us all

Lord, we come to you today with heavy hearts and deep lament. Our prayers and processing sound more like groanings, though with clarity, we echo the Psalmist’s cries, “How long, O Lord?”

This cry is not new to our lips, but it spills out with fresh anguish considering the recent events in Uvalde. It’s hard to know what to do or say, so we put our confusion, fears, and anger at your feet, and we simply beg for your mercy.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Have mercy on the victim’s families who are grieving the loss of their loved one. Be with the parents especially who sit on the empty bed of the child who did not return home from school. Their anguish is beyond comprehension. Allow our prayers to be their strength and reveal yourself in the mist of their deepest pain. You are a God who meets us in our agony. Have mercy.

Have mercy on the family of the killer. While these evil actions will never be justified or understood, we know that surrounding this wickedness is a family who grieves. You are a God who restores even when it seems impossible. Have mercy.

Have mercy on the school administration and staff as they grieve, process, and counsel students and their families. Give them strength when they feel depleted, give them insight as they guide through such profound grief, and give them wisdom as they make decisions both in the immediate and in the long term. You are a God who provides exactly what we need in situations beyond our abilities. Have mercy.

Have mercy on our government as they listen to citizens, debate matters of gun-control, and make decisions on how to better protect our children. You direct the ways of men and provide wisdom in our feebleness. Have mercy.

Have mercy on our children who are also watching and hearing about these horrific events. Protect their hearts, take away their fears, and use the brokenness in this world to shine a brighter light on the hope of the gospel. You are the answer when we are afraid. Have mercy.

Have mercy on us as we watch, pray, and act. Bind Satan and the devious tactics he uses to divide us in times when we should be united. Penetrate our hearts in such a way that we will first and foremost be prayerful for those involved rather than prideful with our personal agendas. May our responses, actions, prayers, and petitions all reflect you, Lord.  You speak light into darkness. Have mercy.

For all these things, and for all that we can’t properly articulate, have mercy, Lord, we pray.

Amen.

 

A prayer from the valley of the shadow of death

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Heavenly Father, for the community of Uvalde and all who weep and grieve with them, it feels like they are in the midst of valley of the shadow of death. We ask that you make your presence known in Uvalde, that you bring comfort to them as they grieve the loss of 21 children and teachers. Lord, there are no words to describe the evil and horrors the community has witnessed. But you are light amidst the darkness…may your light shine bright and may the community of Uvalde know and rest in the steadfast love of Jesus Christ. May you give them grace and rest sufficient for each moment of the day. Lord, we boldly ask these prayers in your holy name. Amen.

 

A prayer to the Father who mourns with us

Merciful Father,
We thank you that your Spirit intercedes with groaning when we do not have the words to pray. We come to you brokenhearted and crushed in spirit, the very people you promise to be near to (Psalm 34:18). We pray for the community of Uvalde, Texas. Have mercy on them Lord, have mercy. We pray for the parents who are mourning the loss of a child. We pray for the students who are mourning the loss of classmates. We pray for the teachers who are mourning the loss of their students. We pray for the families of the two brave teachers who lost their lives. And we pray for the loved ones of the suspect. We pray with the Psalmist: “Rise up; come to their help! Redeem them for the sake of your steadfast love!” (Psalm 44). Jesus, we praise you that you are a God who mourns with us. We praise you that you are a God who redeems and restores even the most tragic of situations. We thank you for the cross that assures us that you know the depths of pain and despair. Be near, Lord Jesus. We are poor and needy, but you take thought for us. You are our help and our deliverer; do not delay, Oh our God! (Psalm 40).

 

Jesus, come quickly, we pray

O Lord, we cry to you from the depths. We are in anguish. The blood of the innocent cries out to you from the ground. You have said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another. You have said true religion is to care for the widow and the orphan. Instead, evil has taken the life of the innocent. Help us O Lord. Give us your peace. Lord, bring comfort to the families who have had their loved ones murdered. Only a supernatural comfort from your spirit can bring peace; Lord, give your peace without measure. Draw the families of the victims and the community to you. Show them your steadfast love and mercy in ways they have never seen before. Open the eyes and hearts of those who are called to be your hands and feet in the lives of others. Provide physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort to the families in need. Lord make us hate evil and sin without sinning against you. Give us righteous anger that moves us to righteous action. Make us know your anger and hatred against sin and death and make your light shine bright through your people. Lord, give us supernatural endurance in times of crushing fear and sadness. Make us trust not in our strength and in our ways, but make us to rest in the reality of your suffering and death at the hands of sin, through which you defeated sin and death forever. Make us know and believe that though we are in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, because of your love and sacrifice for us, we are promised a day where even these tears are wiped away, and these sorrows will find full healing in your presence. Lord, come quickly.

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