A Prayer for the Victims of Isis

My heart has broken in sheer pain and empathy for my brothers and sisters and their

I cannot even type the word “children” without my eyes welling with tears and stomach tightening. The terror and brutality of Isis right now, this moment, against Christians is overwhelming.  The beheading of children. Unmitigated evil, unconscionable violence.  Crimes against humanity.  Crimes against God.  My heart doesn’t know how to hold these stories.

I know I will wake my own beautiful blonde headed children up in a few moments from a sleep that was guarded and safe and sweet.  They’ll have matted hair and sleepy eyes and nothing but hope for the day to come.

I know we will go to church and worship God in truth and love and freedom this morning. And I will raise my hands and say God is good and mean it with my whole heart even though I have invisibly dried tears staining my face.

I know I will stop crying in a moment, and later today I will giggle or laugh and this heavy, sacred empathy will be far from me.  I may even go to Costco.  That makes me feel guilty.

I know that even with all the theological explanation, I don’t fully understand how God could see his children and his children’s children in this kind of pain and not rain down fire and vengeance from heaven.  That makes me question him as a good father and that question makes me feel guilty.

I know God is a good father, not just to his children who are being persecuted but also to me.  That truth is too large and weighty for my small hands to grasp well.  The inability to hold weight that I know God is holding makes me feel loved and free and safe and want to pray.

If, like me, you don’t know how to hold the pain of our brothers and sisters who are being brutalized and persecuted and killed, I’m inviting you to pray these words and promises of God with me.

Stop “reading” for a moment.  Reorient your heart.  Welcome God to this space, the pain, the confusion, the questions.  Open your heart to him. Allow a moment of silence.

Psalm 34:15-18

15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.

God I believe that you see and hear your children around the world.  All of us.  You are unprotected from the horrific images and cries of pain. You delight in the beauty of uninhibited worship and expressions of love and freedom.  You hold them all.

16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

I trust you to be judge.  I am so thankful that you are a righteous judge who hates evil.  So many fear your judgement, but crimes like these remind us of our desperate need for a judge to bring justice to our world where politicians and brilliant minds and big hearts have all failed.  This is beyond us.  Please, God, in your righteousness, cut off this evil and even the bitter root of memory of this evil completely from our earth.  Quickly, please.

17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

God you are mighty to save.  I trust that your spirit is close to my brothers and sisters in a way that I don’t understand.  Their boldness and resolution in the face of great danger and terror speak not only to their faith but also to your presence.  I trust you to love them and hold them and strengthen them, and in some cases hold their spirits tightly as they enter into eternity.  I trust you to be good in ways I don’t understand.  I trust that you are close and that you see the pain, that you can deliver and save and redeem.  Please God, even if I cannot feel the love you have for them, fill them, cover them, flood them with your love.


*Luke 21:10-19 Can also be prayed back to God as a prayer in a similar way.

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