June 2, 2020

Dear Faith Family,

Like many of you, I have found myself feeling a wave emotions over the last several days. They are difficult to put into words, but we must do our best. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of George Floyd. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who struggle with the evil of injustice. It is difficult for us to see the pain and destruction taking place in our country right now. Our hearts break for people suffering, and our anger burns when we see people taking advantage of others.

Rather than speaking too much, it might be a good time for us to listen. Below are a couple of prayers offered as a way for us to talk to God and then listen for him to speak to us. They come from the book Every Season Prayers by Scotty Smith and the page numbers are in parentheses at the end of each prayer.

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church as a denominational family is setting aside Monday, June 8 th as a day of lament, prayer and fasting together. Please mark that down and join us in prayer that day.

Let us pray.
 
A Prayer of Lament
 
Holy and righteous God, Don’t you see? Don’t you care, Lord? Fools revile you, daring you to take action. Evil men flaunt their excesses, without conscience or concern. It grieves us; it angers us. Women, children, and the elderly are shown no mercy. When will it end, Lord? When will the day of justice come? We don’t question your power; just your timetable. We don’t question your plan; just its execution. Our hope is in you, Lord. There is no other God. So until the day you put all things right, Lord, pour out your Spirit upon your people. Grant leaders wisdom, children comfort, and your church courage. Whether by our living or by our dying, we want to honor you. When we’re tempted to repay evil for evil, harm for harm, or hatred for hatred, grant us grace and restraint, O Lord. When fears loom and doubts increase, show us Jesus’ empty tomb and your occupied throne. You alone, O God, are worthy. We praise, bless, and adore you, in Jesus’ name. Amen. (216)
 
A Prayer for Days When You’re Overwhelmed with Grief and Anger
 
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Ps. 73:21–23)
 
Dear heavenly Father, as many times as I’ve read and prayed, taught and preached Psalm 73, I’m not sure I’ve ever related to Asaph’s anguish more than I do today. I am grieved and heading toward bitterness, feeling beastly and quite capable of thinking senseless, unhelpful thoughts. I pray for myself and others sitting in stories that make our heads spin and our hearts sink. Father of mercy and God of all comfort . . . Show us how to handle deep disappointment and hurt as redemptively as possible. Show us the difference between appropriate anger and destructive rage. Show us how to pray down the gospel, lest we try to call down fire. Show us how to hope when we want to hurl something. Show us how to keep from importing old wounds into a new wound. Show us how to listen to you quietly rather than launching our opinions. Show us how to grieve and lament and not gossip and mock. Show us the difference between worldly sadness and godly sorrow. Show us what the gospel looks like in stories that seem to utterly contradict it. Show us how to be still and know that you are God. Father, let us palpably feel the grasp of grace right now. You are guiding us in and through the valley of the shadow of death, and you will bring glory to yourself in the most heart-wrecking of stories. Who do we have in heaven or on earth but you? Being with you is what we need more than anything else, in the coming hours and days, weeks and months. We pray in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name. Amen. (123)
 
Thank you for taking the time to pray and listen during this difficult time. May we know and experience the presence of Christ in this moment. 

Grace and peace,
 
Pastor Doug