Black and Blue Prayers

July 18, 2016

Each year, I take a month off of social media, the majority of my email, and most of the Internet.  Suffice it to say, this has been a very difficult month to be offline. That’s why, only halfway through my time off, I decided to pop online to post this.

My heart has been broken again and again this month. First for my African-American brothers and sisters and then for my brothers and sisters in law enforcement. Many people have reached out to me to try to process what is happening in our country and regardless of whether I am talking to someone “black” or “blue,” they feel battered as if they themselves have been beaten black and blue.

The same two words keep coming up: “targeted” and “misunderstood.”

I wish I had great words of comfort or wisdom for each of my friends, but any I come up seem trite.  Again and again, all I have been able to say is, “I am praying for you.”  I know that seems like a passive thing to do, but it’s not.  If God is real and he is involved in our daily lives and he wants us to call out to him in our pain, then prayer is the single most active thing we can do.

But sometimes I don’t even know what to pray.

That’s when I turn to the Bible to give me words.

So for all my friends, (Black or Blue) here’s what I have been praying for you:

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. (Psalm 3:1—6)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3—7)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2—4)

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:15—18)

Amen.

As a side note, because I am staying offline, I haven’t had a chance to read much that has certainly been written this month about these tragic shootings.  When I get back online, I’ll do a bunch of reading, so feel free to send me (noel@rivchurch.com) some of the best stuff you come across.  My assistant will compile a reading list for when I get back.  At that time, if there is something to be said that hasn’t been said, I may write more on this but for now I’ll just do the best thing I can do–I’ll pray.

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