A Prayer for Charleston

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
— Habakkuk 1:2-4 ESV

The words of Habakkuk 1 are appropriate for today in light of the senseless murder of 9 people inside the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC. The Pastor and 8 members of the Historic Black Church were murdered during a Bible Study in an act of unspeakable evil. How long O Lord will the wicked prevail, destroy and kill your people? How Long O Lord will justice be perverted? In the midst of the pain and grief and questions we must move toward the Lord. He is mighty to save, to comfort and to strengthen. May we run to him and find hope in him. 

My prayer is that God would be gracious to bring hope, justice, strength and comfort to all those who feel today the burden that Habakkuk felt when he wrote his complaint before the Lord, especially those in Charleston grieving the loss of friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, grandparents, and their Pastor. And may God speak powerfully by his Spirit to comfort His people so that they can trust Him in all circumstances, even without the answers. As Habakkuk does in ch. 3:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
— Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV

God be gracious to us and move powerfully in our land to bring justice. To bring healing. To bring hope. Give unity to your people, the church of Jesus Christ, across race, ethnicity, generations, denominations and locations. Give peace to the city of Charleston, SC. Give justice as only you can give O Lord. Give comfort to those grieving. Give strength to our community leaders around this nation to create environments of peace to prevent situations like this from recurring. Give repentance to those in our world who harbor hate against another because they look different from them. Give courage to Pastors to speak boldly about the gospel and race and justice. Give the hope of the gospel and your return, Jesus, to your people that we would long for your justice and your kingdom. Come quickly Lord Jesus, and while we wait, give us your strength we pray, for your Glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.