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A Prayer for Boston in Light of Today’s Tragedy

April 15, 2013

Boston_Marathon_BlastGod is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;
she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah (Psalm 46, ESV)

Gracious Father,

Today we’re faced with the painful reminder that we still live in a fallen world.

Today the earth gave way as an explosion tore apart the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Yet this was no natural chaos; this was an act of evil, intent on wounding and terrorizing the people of this city and her guests, while the rest of the world was watching.

We call it ‘terrorism’ because that is what it seeks to do—strike terror and fear into our hearts. God, we confess, sometimes it works. We are afraid. We fear for our safety. We fear losing our loved ones. We fear the loss of life as we know it.

Yet there is one thing on earth that no bomb can shake, and no terror can overcome: your presence. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Because you are with your people, we need not be afraid. Though the waters roar and the nations rage, you are a refuge and fortress to your people. Though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, those who take shelter in your presence will not be moved. Though this world may take away from us everything we hold precious, even our lives, it cannot take us away from you. You are our refuge and strength, our very present help in trouble.

As our city quakes from the effects of sin in this world—the evil, the violence, the injuries and loss of life, we pray that your holy and healing presence would be made known.

We pray for the victims of this tragedy. We pray for healing for the wounded, and comfort for the bereaved. We pray for loved ones sitting in waiting rooms or watching the news at home. May hearts and eyes turn to you at this time, as you make your power and presence known by your Spirit in the face of Jesus Christ.

We pray for those who have come to the aid of the victims—the police officers, the bystanders, the response teams and medical personnel. We pray for the doctors and nurses administering care late into the night. We thank you for their courage, on a day when our Commonwealth celebrates the heroism of the patriots of the Revolutionary War. We pray that you would be with them to guide them in their care and treatment.

We pray for churches in Boston, that together we would be light for this city. As you dwell in a special way among your people, may your people be to this city an expression of your compassion, care, and shelter for those who are scared and hurting in this city. May Jesus be on display in our words and deeds—he who wept at the death of his beloved friend, who in his own death took on himself the evil and sorrow of this world, mixed with his Father’s holy anger against our evil rebellion, yet conquered death and brought new life when he rose from the grave.

And we’re reminded that our hope rests in another city—a city that cannot be shaken.

So we look forward to the day when we will rest and rejoice in your glorious presence in that heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, as it comes down from heaven in your new creation.

We look forward to a day when you will make wars and violence cease to the ends of the earth. When all wrongs will be brought to justice, and your peace will triumph over all.

We look forward to a day when all will recognize your rightful rule over creation, when your enemies will be put under your feet, and your name will be exalted to the ends of the earth.

And we pray in the meantime that we would rest in you. Give us the grace to be still, to cease striving amid our helplessness, with the knowledge that you are God. You are our help. You will be exalted as God. Your kingdom will triumph in the end. Your name will be exalted in all the earth.

Be present with us now. And come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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