Merciful God, in the birth of your Son Jesus Christ in Bethlehem you became one of us; you shared our joy, suffering and pain. We thank you for taking refuge in Egypt and for identifying yourself with refugees and victims of political power. We thank you for your suffering on the cross and for identifying yourself with those who suffer from injustice and live under occupation.
Hi Mara, we are very sorry to hear about this tragedy, and our prayers are with your love one. To help you better understand the biblical teaching that nothing in this world happens apart from God’s will, a distinction is helpful. There is a difference between God’s positive or active will, and His permissive or passive will. And example of this is that even though God wills for all men to be saved (His positive will) not all men actually are saved (His permissive will). That is to say, God permits that people will use their free will to reject Him. In the same way, He permits that people will use their free will to hurt others. Even though it is not God’s will that any of us commit a sin, yet He permits it. This is part of God’s permissive will. Why God allows evil things to happen to us is a great mystery, yet we can have confidence in His promise that “All things happen for the good of those who love Him.” And this even includes the evil things. God can bring great good out of every evil! This is the glorious mystery of the Cross of Christ.
Jesus overcomes the world with all of its pain, wars, and evil because He is the Prince of Peace. It is through Him that we can pray and know that those who walk uprightly will enter into peace (Isaiah 57:2). “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Jesus has offered us a way to peace regardless of circumstances; we must decide daily which way to follow.
Compassionate God, support and strengthen all those who reach out in love, concern, and prayer for the sick and distressed. In their acts of compassion, may they know that they are your instruments. In their concerns and fears may they know your peace. In their prayer may they know your steadfast love. May they not grow weary or faint-hearted, for your mercy’ sake. Amen.
Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation. In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words "division", "hatred" and "war" be banished from the heart of every man and woman. Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be "brother", and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam!
Father I know that in Your word it tells us not to worry about anything – but rather to cast all of my burdens upon You - and Father I truly want to do this – but at times I find it so difficult to put this into practice – Lord, at times the circumstances that I am facing are very hard to bear and too often I find myself in an attitude of worry and anxiety.
Eternal God, you know the troubles and pains of the people of Israel-Palestine: We pray for the victims of injustice and violence but also for those who have caused suffering. We pray for those who cannot enter their places of work. We pray for young people who are losing their hope for the future and for mothers who are tired of bloodshed and killing. We pray for the bereaved families, who have lost their beloved ones.
Is your heart troubled? Are you feeling like the psalmist, who asked his own soul, "Why are you in despair? And why have you become disturbed within me?" One of the hardest parts of knowing peace is understanding how it has nothing to do with control. If you're having trouble with trust or finding the words to pray above the howling of the scary storms, feel free to offer up these words to the Lord now!