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A Prayer of Lament

This prayer of lament was prayed at Calvin Theological Seminary on May 1, 2015 in response to the earthquake in Nepal and the unrest in Baltimore.

Lord, we’ve gathered here today,
because we’re hurting.

Brothers and sisters of ours are suffering,
and we stand with them in their pain.

Some of them we know,
and some we do not know.

But it matters not whether we know them,
they are our brothers and sisters,
created by you,
fellow human beings of ours.

Some are in Baltimore,
some in Nepal
some in other cities,
and other countries.

Lord, we can’t imagine a 7.8 earthquake that shakes a whole city apart,
that reduces homes and businesses to rubble.
That causes whole families to live in the open
out of fear of after-shocks.

It’s hard to believe that families with little children
fear running out of food and water,
and are concerned about diseases running rampant,
and knowing normalcy will likely not return.

We grieve for those who have lost loved ones,
over 5000 of them,
and for thousands more that are injured,
and some yet haven’t even been discovered.

And we pray for our fellow students,
for Ram, Mani, and Yakuv and their families,
for their heaviness of heart,
and for the welfare of their loved ones.

And at the same time we watch the rioting in Baltimore,
and we ache that a whole generation seems so without hope in life.
We listen to their anger
and we hear their cries about injustice.

So much injustice, Lord,
so much anger,
so much racism,
so much brutality.

Lord, these are your children,
made in your image,
brothers and sisters of ours,
living in such pain.

Brothers and sisters
in the rubble of an earthquake,
brothers and sisters,
in the rubble of injustice.

We pray, Lord, that you will hasten relief workers to Nepal,
and that the hand of help may bring hope to their hearts.
We pray, Lord, that you will hasten reconciliation in our cities,
and that voices of calm may correct times of brutality.

We ask that you will give peace of heart to those directly affected,
and compassion of spirit to those who watch.
May none be unaffected or unmoved,
may all be moved to work for justice and peace.

May your church be strong in times of such pain,
may the light of your truth shine on all our darkness,
May the word of the gospel bring life where there is death,
and may even these tragedies serve to build your kingdom.
Give wisdom to those who are pastors in each location,
give courage to all church members to be healthy serving churches.

You have called us to love one another as we love ourselves,
you have told us such love would be a mark of the genuineness of our faith.
So forgive us for judging one another,
forgive us for turning away from those who need us,
forgive us for listening and watching, but doing nothing.
In the name of Christ, grant us mercy and forgive us.

These are our brothers and sisters,
and we know this is the work and the call of our Master, the Prince of Peace.
So we raise these prayers to you,
in his name and for the sake of his kingdom here on earth. Amen.