Yesterday I led our church in prayer concerning the attacks in Paris. I am including below the full text of my pastoral prayer.
Father, we come to you this morning confessing our lack of understanding. We know that the hearts of all people are sinful. But we do not understand why people's evil hearts cause them to commit such acts of terror against their fellow human beings. We cannot begin to comprehend the fear of those who witnessed these attacks, and the pain and hurt of those who lost loved ones. Our hearts are troubled. So often in this world, evil men seem to prevail. The attacks of this week in Paris are but one example where evil seems to have prevailed.
We come to you this morning crying out on behalf of the people of France, especially those in Paris. We ask that you would provide healing for those who were injured in the attacks. We ask that you would provide comfort and strength for the families of those who lost loved ones. May they know your peace that surpasses all understanding. May your strength be made perfect in their weakness. Prove your grace to be sufficient for them. We pray for peace and a sense of calmness to prevail in the days to come in Paris. Provide healing for that city. We pray that fear would not prevail. We pray that the believers in Paris would rise up and be an example of unwavering trust and confidence in you. May your gospel go forth in the midst of tragedy. May your Word be a source of comfort and strength. We pray that many would be drawn to you.
We also pray for justice for those responsible. You are a God of justice. You have ordained civil government to carry the sword on your behalf. Use government to execute justice on your behalf, we pray.
We pray also for ourselves. Help us not to be overcome by a sense of fear. Help us not to fear uncertainty. Help us not to fear terrorists. Help us not to fear death. Help us to trust in you. Strengthen our confidence in you. God, you have not guaranteed us safety in this fallen world, but you have promised to be with us. You have promised us that you will not forsake us. You have instructed us in your Word not to be anxious about anything. Help us in that, we pray. Remind us that you care about us as your image bearers and those who have been reconciled to you by the shed blood of Jesus. We are your children. Help us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Finally, we look forward to a day when you will right every wrong. Vengeance belongs to you, O God. Our confidence is in Christ. Our confidence is in the one who will return riding on a white horse. He is called Faithful and True, and He judges in righteousness. We long for the day when He will judge the evil of this world in righteousness. Help us to look forward to that day. Help us to set our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. We pray these things in the name of our Savior. Come, Lord Jesus, come!