A Prayer of Lament - For Orlando and Charleston

Last Sunday, we offered this prayer of lament in light of the tragedy in Orlando against the LGBTQ community, and one year since the shooting in Charleston against an African-American church. What is a lament? From The Worship Sourcebook

The biblical psalms feature several remarkable expressions of lament. In these laments, the worshiping community expresses grief and frustration at the brokenness of the world, even in situations in which the community is not directly culpable or blameworthy. These biblical laments witness to God’s desire for honesty in worship. No experience in life is too difficult to be brought before God.

Here is our prayer of lament (with language from Psalm 10):


Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? The wicked are pursuing the innocent and crushing the helpless. Those made in your image are being murdered.

Our hearts break because of the violence against the LGBTQ community in Orlando. Our hearts continue to break one year later because of the violence against an African American church in Charleston. Our hearts break because of war in places like Syria, and because refugees fleeing the violence cannot find a place of refuge from those who could offer it. All over the world, human beings are violently attacked because of differences in creed, orientation, gender, ethnicity, or skin color.

And even in moments of tragedy, we don’t unify against injustice, but rather viciously attack those different from us, or use times of injustice to promote our own agendas, platforms, or political standpoints. Lord, we keep turning against one another when we ought to be turning to you.

Lord, have mercy on us. Don’t be far away. We need the sacrifice of the cross to bring forgiveness and justice, and we need the power of the resurrection to bring restoration and renewal. We have no other hope for everlasting peace.

Lord, we know that you reign forever and ever; the wicked will perish under your might. O Lord, you hear the desires of the afflicted; you will strengthen their hearts, you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that violent people may strike terror no more.

We pray this confidently in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.