Like many of you, as I watched the video of George Floyd this week, I was appalled, grieving, and angry. Appalled at the disregard for this man’s life. Grieving for his loved ones. Angry at the darkness in human hearts (including my own) that leads to racism, apathy, injustice, and pride.
To combat the darkness, there are things we should do beyond praying. Yesterday in Kansas City, my daughter Lydia joined a peaceful protest, and Ozark’s Diversity Department and chapel team are already rescheduling a multiethnic panel (which the pandemic forced us to cancel this spring) to discuss the ministry of reconciliation. We must not only lament; we must listen, learn, and labor for change.
But to combat the darkness, there is nothing we should do before praying. Prayer is always our first and best response. So using Psalms as our guide, please join me this week in taking a day to fast and pray for:
- Comfort for those who have tragically lost loved ones like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34:18)
- Justice for those who have suffered oppression. “Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust.” (Psalm 71:4)
- Repentance for hearts hardened by hatred or dulled by apathy. “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.” (Psalm 51:13)
- Forgiveness for our own sins. “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)
- Compassion for those unheard and unseen, mistreated and misunderstood. “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm 145:9)
- Protection for both law enforcement and protesters in the current unrest. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)
- Wisdom for our government leaders. “Therefore, you kings, be wise…serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.” (Psalm 2:10-11)
- Peace for our nation. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” (Psalm 133:1)
- Acceptance of Christ as our only hope. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” (Psalm 118:22)