PICO National Network

Merciful Lord, we come to you heavy hearted, for we have heard the cries of the slain calling to us from the ground.  We come remembering all the lives lost to the weapons of war that have flooded our communities. We come reminded of the many bodies locked in jails and prisons all across this country.  
And we ask for your mercy.

Although we find ourselves in a broken world -- a world in which hurting people hurt other people, it is no mystery that you are a God capable of healing our world through justice and fairness. Your own revelation has shown us that you stand firmly with those people whose backs are against the wall. Your own life demonstrates how you came from heaven to earth to redeem creation, our communities and our own lives. So we ask for this same redemptive power to be unleashed among us as it was on the day of Pentecost. May we be empowered by your Spirit to reverse the conditions that produce young men and women who are driven to resort to violence and destructive behavior in their fight to stay alive and struggle to remain free.

We know that you have no pleasure in the death of anyone, so we boldly come to the throne of grace today dear Lord, seeking your wisdom as we create strategies that provide pathways and lifelines to hope and healing. Help us to remember we are all your children, created in your image, and we are connected by a single garment of mutuality and destiny. Cause us to never forget how our needs are the same and our calling to address these needs are the same. Reveal to us Lord, that the pain felt in Newtown is the same pain felt in Chicago. The tears shed in Oak Creek are the same tears shed in Oakland. The lives lost in Tucson are the same lives lost in Camden. The children being buried in Aurora are the same children being buried in Detroit.

We cry out to you, heal our souls from this scourge of violence. Endow us with the courage to step down from the pulpits and out from behind our desks to seek the peace of the city. In the coming days and weeks as our leaders debate solutions, Lord we ask that you grant us the voice to speak truth to power and demonstrate sacrificial compassion to the hurting.

Teach us your ways, O God. Bless us with the wisdom and strength to put down our swords and be peacemakers. Use us, work through us and, if necessary, work in spite of us to mend our nation's brokenness.

We thank you for your protecting embrace and unfailing love.

All of these requests we bring to you, in the name of Jesus the Christ we pray.

We pray alongside ...

Ben Battle , Cullowhee, N.C., as he discerns potential surgeons and corrective surgical procedures related to an earlier colon cancer surgery. He is married to Tracey Bailey, organist at congregational partner Cullowhee Baptist Church.

Eric Cain , who today is having outpatient surgery. Eric is program director with the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. He also is a member of congregational partner First Baptist Church, Greenville, S.C.

Linda Crisp , Hendersonville, N.C., who is undergoing chemotherapy. Linda is a member of congregational partner Providence Baptist Church and the mother of Brian Crisp, community ministry coordinator at congregational partner Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.

Virginia Hobbs , Winston-Salem, N.C., has been placed in hospice care. She is the grandmother of Mary Little Apicella, pastor of congregational partner Providence Baptist Church, Hendersonville, N.C.

The families and community of the eight members of the Mberengwa Baptist Church , Makuta Village, Zimbabwe, who perished from food poisoning. There are three others who are continuing to recover at Mpilo Central Hospital from ingesting poisonous mushrooms. The Mberengwa Baptist Church is a member of Active Hope Ministry Partner African Baptist Churches of Zimbabwe.

The family of Beatriz Tirado Ortiz , Oliva, Cuba, who died of leukemia on Feb. 16. She is the grandmother of Waldemar Murguido Sánchez-Quiros, a pastor with Active Hope Ministry Partner Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba.

Tim and Lynda Willis , Clemson, S.C., at the tragic loss of their son John Willis on Feb. 27. Tim has held various positions in the Baptist world  over  the years, including as interim pastor of congregational partner Wake Forest Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C.  

We celebrate alongside ...

Jillian Farmer Hankamer , who has been called to serve as pastor of First Baptist Church, Lewisburg, Penn. Jillian's home church is congregational partner Austin Heights Baptist Church, Nacogdoches, Texas. She is a graduate of McAfee School of Theology and previously served as minister of youth at congregational partner Kirkwood Baptist Church, St. Louis, Mo.

Cristina Garcia-Alfonso , who learned this week that she is the recipient of the Len Cedarleaf Award for best theological position paper for the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Cristina is an Alliance-endorsed chaplain and educator.

Martha Kearse , who has been called to serve as pastor of congregational partner Peakland Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va. Martha has served since 2001 on the ministerial staff of congregational partner St. John's Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C.

Kyndall Rothaus , Waco, Texas, who is now the foster mother of a baby girl, Leila. Kyndall is pastor of congregational partner Lake Shore Baptist Church, Waco, Texas.

Ken Wilson , who retired after serving as minister of music for 32 years at congregational partner Knollwood Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C. Ken served with all of the senior pastors. The music ministry included many of the traditional vocal and instrumental groups for all ages and a plethora of concerts and events for the church and community. Ken also was a concert classical guitarist and taught generations of people.

We'd love to pray with you or celebrate with you in prayers with the people. Have news to share?   
The Alliance of Baptists is a vibrant movement of people, faith communities and ministry partners who are deeply passionate about ecumenism, partnership in mission, relentless hospitality and social justice.

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