Praying for Las Vegas

Another mass shooting. 59 dead. Over 500 wounded.

You simply can’t wrap your mind around it.

One tragic death radically changes the lives of countless people. Spouses gone. Fathers and mothers killed. Brothers and sisters taken away. Friends lost.

The repercussions are almost endless. The ripples touch generations to come.

The responses are predictable. Gun control. Mental health. Politics. Religion. Posturing. Blameshifting. Speculating.

Everyone has an opinion. Social media provides the platform. Divisions increase. Animosity grows. But the loss remains.

In the wake of such a senseless, sickening tragedy, prayer is the appropriate response. Though many dismiss prayer as a waste of time, there are times when all we can do is pray.

Prayer is a way of saying…that this tragedy is beyond comprehension, that there are some things outside our control, that the loss is real, that our hearts are knit together with those suffering, that the only comfort for those who have lost loved ones is for there to be life, purpose, and meaning outside this cruel world.

Prayer humbles us, unites us, opens us up to the strength and grace of God.

There is a time for discourse. A time for civil debate. But we must avoid the tendency to throw out simple, all-encompassing solutions. Banning certain types of guns is a worthy discussion but an honest conversation must also include the breakdown of the family, the abdication of fatherhood, the promulgation of violence as entertainment, the loss of respect for human life, the glorification of lawlessness, the increase of anxiety and depression, the widespread use of drugs, a postmodern culture where “everyone does what is right in their own eyes,” and the simple evil of the human heart.

But now is not the time to argue.

Now is not the time to retreat to our ideological corners to cast stones at one another.

Now is the time to pray.

To acknowledge our humanity.

To weep with those who weep.

To realize our weakness and mortality.

To wrestle with suffering.

To ask for God’s wisdom.

To seek God’s comfort.

To receive God’s grace.

An unwillingness to bend the knee before God reveals a mind convinced that it has all the answers. A heart hardened in self-sufficiency. A will determined not to yield.

As Abraham Lincoln proclaimed in the midst of the devastation and division of the Civil War.

We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

A culture too proud to pray soon becomes too self-focused to care.

So humble yourself and pray.

Pray for those who are injured.

Pray for those fighting for their lives.

Pray for those mourning the loss of loved ones.

Pray for Las Vegas.

Pray for our nation.

Pray that once again, in the face of tragedy, we will be one nation under God.

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