Prayers for NashvilleMarch 31, 2023 Prayer
Like yours, my heart has been heavy with grief this week in the wake of the evil suffered by Christians in Nashville. And, perhaps like yours, my heart has struggled to find words to speak to God in prayer.
Of course, in Scripture—especially in the Psalms—God gives us words that reveal the true psychology, that is, the way you and I are meant to process life before God in relational conversation with God. As one of my professors, David Powlison, wonderfully put it, this is what we overhear in the faith-filled prayers of the psalmist: “A person who has listened opens his heart to the Person who has spoken.” Above all, Scripture “re-scripts” our thoughts and intentions, our way of seeing and proceeding by faith.
Even so, God also uses members in the Body of Christ to help us pray. This week, former PCA pastor Scotty Smith has been helping me pray for our suffering brothers and sisters in Nashville, so I wanted to introduce him as a possible help to you, too.
Scotty continues to live and serve in Nashville, and his ongoing teaching ministry includes a daily blog post—in the form of a daily prayer—through the Gospel Coalition. His prayers flow from the epicenter of this tragedy, for he knows personally both those suffering at Covenant Presbyterian Church and its adjoining School (where Monday’s shooting took place) and those suffering at his own church, West End Community Church (where the slain Headmaster was a member).
Over the years, and through sufferings of our own, Cindy and I have so appreciated how Scotty’s prayers connect the riches of Christ to the realities of life in such honest and faith-filled ways. He wonderfully models the relational dynamic of Bible-shaped prayer: “A person who has listened opens his heart to the Person who has spoken.” Below you’ll find Scotty’s prayer post from this morning, plus the link to his other prayers this week on the Gospel Coalition’s website.
One of Harvest’s elders wisely highlighted the fellowship we share with our suffering PCA brothers and sisters. As he put it, “There’s always cause for prayer in the midst of the mass violence that grips our nation and seems to occur now almost weekly. But in this instance the nearness of this to us confessionally and ecclesiastically should give us additional reasons for prayer.” So, let’s continue to remember them before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).
“Loving Children, Stewarding Trauma, Trusting Jesus” by Scotty Smith*
“Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’” (Luke 18:15-16)
“Lord Jesus, compelled by your love for children and filled with competing emotions, we pray for those traumatized by the Covenant School tragedy. Help us channel our growing sadness, waves of anger, and sense of helplessness in service to others. Receive our wordless groans, streaming and yet-to-be-wept tears, and earnest pleas.
“We pray for children who have seen and heard things no child should ever experience. By all the means you chose—a direct work of the Holy Spirit, loving parents, family-to-family care, gifted counselors… hold and heal the hearts, minds, and imagination of children. Words fail us, but you won’t, Jesus.
“We pray for those seeking to be present and strong in the warzone of so much shock, pain, and confusion. Jesus, help them (us) steward their own grief and trauma, and accept their weakness and limits. Grant parents, pastors, counselors, and friends supernatural help, sufficient grace, and guiltless wisdom to take care of themselves.
“We pray for a fresh work of your Spirit and the life-giving power of the Gospel. Jesus, while the devil shouts and whispers, “Where was your trustworthy God on Monday?” … answer for us by saving many, redeeming the unimaginable, and empowering us to live and love to your glory. In this so-hard moment, until the Day of wiped-tears and all things new, Jesus you are with us and for us—alone worthy of our worship and trust. So Very Amen.”