“My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3)
The last few weeks or so have been difficult. Okay, let’s be honest — the last two years or so have been difficult. So much death, pain and abuse. So much anger and hatred.
In the last two weeks I’ve had moments where it was impossible to do anything but sit, stare, think and grieve.
- More than 6.25 million deaths from COVID-19 worldwide
- 21 people murdered in Uvalde, Texas
- 10 people murdered in Buffalo, New York
- More than 1 million detained or killed during the Uyghur genocide in China
- More than two decades of sexual abuse, abuse of power and cover-ups in the Southern Baptist Convention
- Russia’s war in Ukraine
- 4 people murdered in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Those are just a few of the things I am grieving today. The list could go on and on.
“All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes” (Psalm 38:9–10).
Often I’m left wondering, “What do I do with these feelings?”
I feel helpless to make any impactful actions, yet burdened by the reality around me.
When I don’t see any earthly actions, the one thing I know I can always do is pray. Just as it’s demonstrated in the psalms, God hears and welcomes prayers of lament, despair, confusion and anger. Just as we should also pray in the good times, it’s important to remember to pray for those who are suffering.
‘Nurture love and compassion’
How many times does someone mention a prayer request and you respond, “I’ll be praying for you,” yet you move on with your life without a second thought? When your prayer time comes around, you’ve forgotten the person’s request.
We need to be less selfish with our prayers. Pray for others. Grieve for others. Lament for others. Christians are called to love one another and, as Jen Wilkin said in a Bible study I recently did, it’s hard to pray for someone you hate. Prayer will nurture love and compassion.
What better way to show God’s love than to pray for others, to intercede on their behalf?
There are many ways we can take action. Our heavy hearts can lead us in the way we vote, in the ministries and organizations we support, and many other things. And those are all good and necessary. But they must be accompanied with prayer.
Never forget to take your burdens to God. Let Him help you carry the weight of a heavy heart. And let His Spirit and His Word spur you to action.