Prayer Guidance in the Wake of National Tragedy

In the wake of a situation like this, we are often left with little or nothing to say. When Job suffered tremendous calamity (loss of his family, loss of his wealth, loss of his health) his friends came and sat with him in silence for 7 days. When we come face to face with the loss of friends and loved ones or when we come face to face with human evil, it is OK to be speechless. If you are leading a group through this, donít think you have to give people a bunch of answers (particularly if they have lost friends or family).

Also, another response to this situation is anger. People should NOT be discouraged from being angry. In fact, the comfort the Bible gives us in such situations hinges on the fact that God is angry at the destruction of countless human lives in this tragedy. Thus, we take our anger to God and ask Him to work justice.

Some Places to Turn. You can read the passages listed below aloud and let them be a starting point for peopleís prayers. One way to do this would be to introduce each passage with some introductory comments, read the passage and then let everyone pray in response to the passage.

  • Psalm 3 - Praying to God for protection
  • Psalm 5 - Crying out to God for mercy
  • Psalm 46 - God is our ultimate refuge and strength
  • Psalm 77 - Going to God in distress without clear cut answers.
  • Psalm 94 - Going to God with your anger and asking Him for justice
    (see also Romans 12:17-21).
  • I Tim 2:1-8 - Paul instructs us to pray for those in authority.
  • I Peter 5:7 - Encouragement to cast our burdens (and the burdens of those who have lost friends and family) on God because He cares for us.

Other Prayer Items

  • Comfort for the grieving
  • Wisdom for those in authority (particularly President Bush)
  • Strength and courage for churches in NYC and DC; may they be wise, bold and merciful to their cities
  • Pray for the hearts of many would be turned to God
  • Pray for justice in the investigation of those behind the tragedy

This prayer guide was provided by John Haralson, one of the Pastors at City Church, San Francisco.