Mary, like so many other students across the country, came home in tears last Friday. Emma and Cory, my middle schoolers, hadn't heard the news. My elementary school kids still don't know about it, and for as long as possible, we will keep it that way.
I will not begin to approach the reasons for the Connecticut shootings. There is no explaining the senseless killing of innocent people.
But, like I told Mary, the one thing we can do daily and diligently is pray. The Sandy Hook community has a long road ahead of them. In a week or two the media will move on and these families will be left alone with their losses.
Here is how I have been praying. Feel free to join me.
- Pray for the young survivors who witnessed the death of their friends and teachers. They must heal--they have their whole lives ahead of them. Pray that their parents and extended family will know how to help them.
- Pray for the churches of the community. Pray for the pastors, the Sunday school teachers, the children's ministry directors in the coming weeks and months, that they would be able to be strong. There will not be a Sunday that passes that they will not be grieved over the empty seats in their classrooms.
- Pray for the area counselors during the next year. Pray that they would have keen insight and wisdom and would not say anything harmful, but only words that help.
- Pray for the many funerals that have to take place in that community over the next few weeks. Pray for those who speak and sing. Pray for the funeral directors and for the people who attend. Pray too, that, somehow, God's presence and peace would prevail.
- Pray that the survivors would be spared the thoughtless words from well- meaning (but thoughtless) people. Job's friend spent forty chapters trying to explain to him why he lost his children, only to have God Himself rebuke them. “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about Me, as My servant Job has." (Job 42:7b)
- Pray for the school administrators that they would have unity and wisdom about when and where and how to start school again. Pray for the interim principal that he/she would be able to lead the faculty, staff, parents and students with strength, wisdom and composure.
- Pray for our nation's leaders, that they would have wisdom and unity to bring answers to the table and not just their own agendas.
- Pray for our nation's families. Everything that affects our culture, I believe, begins and ends with the family.
- For the families of the victims, of course, to find comfort. Pray for the marriages to withstand the pressure of such a terrible tragedy. Statistics are against them.
- Pray especially in the next few weeks as Christmas approaches. This Christmas will be agony for them, but every Christmas will be difficult.
"This, then, is how your should pray..." Matthew 6:9