Our Father in heaven, Holy Holy Holy is your name.
On this Sunday parishioners will gather at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Their hearts are broken, as are ours … and Yours … yet in faith they surrender to You in worship and tears and praise. Their prayers are linked to Christians around the world who weep for the undeserved violence against those who love You.
We pray for the family and friends of Cynthia Hurd and those who walked through libraries she managed in this beautiful city. How many minds were enlightened and entertained through her work with the books that changed the world?
We pray for the family and friends of Susie Jackson. In her almost 90 years she lived through untold humiliations and triumphs and yet her faith was securely in your Son Jesus. In her weakness she was made strong, never stronger than now.
We pray for the family and friends of Ethel Lance, who served this church for three decades. As she entered her seventies she never knew that all of the world would whisper her name in prayer … and we wish we did not know her now, under these circumstances, …but we do…and we appeal to You on behalf of her family.
We pray for the family and friends of DePayne Middleton Doctor. The students at Southern Wesleyan University will miss her … her four daughters and the rest of the family and church will shed many tears. As the songs of faith ring through the sanctuary, her voice will be missing…but heard in faith. Heal them, Father, over the coming years.
We pray for the family and friends of the Honorable Clementa Pickney, who spent his life trying to point people to you through both service in the church and in our government. His final sermon is one heard throughout our land.
We pray for the family and friends of Tywanza Sanders, in his youth we believe he had great promise for many years of service. But we trust that You have all of our conflicting feelings worked out with great clarity and love in your own heart.
We pray for the family and friends of Daniel Simmons, Sr. We held our breaths and prayed that he would survive, but he did not. How many were led closer to You through his teaching, service, and devotion? Only You know.
We pray for the family and friends of Sharonda Singleton. Young and strong, leading young athletes at Goose Creek High School … and her own family … her presence will be missed terribly. We pray that all she taught about living and winning and striving will be remembered by those who loved her most.
We pray for the family and friends of Myra Thompson, known for her tireless energy in restoring the historic buildings of Emanuel. Her love for her church and for You clearly demonstrated in her desire to minister and love all in Your name. She was among those who warmly welcomed a conflicted and deluded young man into their presence.
And so we pray for the family and friends of Dylann Roof, and for him. In our human anger and indignation we feel he does not deserve to be named in the esteemed company above. How disoriented his family must be at this time … but no more so than those reeling from the sudden losses he brought about. Perhaps he will turn to You, Father, for it is only in Your hands that He can find any hope. The same is true of any of us.
If there ever was a time when we did not know how to pray as we ought … a time when we need the help of Your Spirit … it is now.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. ~ Romans 8:26-27
I don’t want to end this prayer Lord … I desire it to linger in my heart and my mind … and teach me to treat every person as precious and worthy of Your greatest act of love.
In the name of the merciful and gentle Shepherd,