I Am Tired of Praying for Cities

I’m tired of this.

Aren’t you tired of this?

Brussels, Belgium. Paris, France. Orlando, Florida. Istanbul, Turkey. Dallas, Texas. Nice, France. Countless other attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, and cities around the world — all of them, terroristic or not, brought on by hatred.

Hatred.

How many more cities; how many more lists of names? How many more people have to lose their lives for it to finally be enough? For how many more days will I be expected to live in fear of traveling — in fear of going to the movies — in fear of stepping outside?

This will be the second time in 8 months that the hashtag #PrayForFrance trends worldwide — let’s just let that sink in. Eight months lie between two of the deadliest attacks in recent world history, killing 210 people combined (and counting as I type this). 50 innocent lives were stolen in Orlando, Florida this year out of nothing more than hatred. There were dozens of innocent Americans gunned down by corrupt officers, and 5 noble policemen killed by hatred.

Is that not enough to wake us up?

Every night I lie in bed and pray for peace. “Grant us Lord peace in our days, peace in our hearts, peace in our families. Grant us peace in our country and peace among nations. Make our lives a prayer of peace for the world.” Every single night. 

And (what seems like) once a week, someone looks up from their phone and tells me about another attack, another mass shooting, another act of cruel violence. Needless to say, it feels like my prayers are not being answered.

But when my heart aches for the hate that exists in the world, I am reminded that the only thing I can use to combat hatred is love. 

So even though I don’t want to, I will pray even harder for yet another city. Even though it feels unfair and unjust, I will pray even harder for peace and for strength. Except this time, instead of praying for an end to the destruction, I will pray for more love. I will ask for light to completely consume the darkness; I will beg for love to captivate our hearts and fill in all of our cracks and brokenness.

Humanity is an interesting entity. We sometimes feel as if it is spiraling out of control, and we point out all of its problems, forgetting that humanity is not an “it” or a “they” — it’s an us. We have the power to create change, we have the potential to turn the whole thing around, and we have the capacity to so fiercely love one another that the world can finally take a breath.

It was through love that we were created and by love that we were saved. Wouldn’t it make sense that love can save us again?

Grant us Lord peace in our days, peace in our hearts, peace in our families. Grant us peace in our country and peace among nations. Make our lives a prayer of peace for the world.

Praying hands

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