A Prayer for Our City
This past week was a historic one for the city of Louisville. The eyes of the nation were upon us, as the turmoil, anguish, and division that have swirled in recent months hit us very personally.
Such moments reveal our utter dependence upon the Lord and drive us to our knees to seek God’s perspective and to ask for His mercy.
Below is an excerpt from our Pastoral Prayer this week. We hope that it will serve you as you process this moment in our history and pray for God to be powerfully at work in our hearts, our church, our city, and our nation.
Our Father in heaven—exalted above all things, infinite in power, transcendent in glory—and yet a Father who is present to his children in love, near to all who call upon you, eager to hear, compassionate to care, powerful to answer. O Lord, what assurance that gives us as we come to you with all that we are and all that we have.
Father, we know that all creation groans under the weight of sin and its effects, but this week our own city has felt that groaning in a significant and painful way. Left to ourselves we are hopeless, and at times we find ourselves speechless, but you are neither. You are not perplexed or surprised or confused, but sovereign and wise and good—and active.
And so, we pray Father, act in our city. Act so that your name is exalted, your people are empowered, those who are grieved are comforted, those who rule are given wisdom and discernment, compassion and courage.
Father, we are grateful to live in a country built upon laws that, at their best, protect life and preserve order and promote peace. But we are also aware that, while laws are a blessing that reflect your own justice, in this world justice will only and ever be partial—because we are sinners and only you are fully just and only you can bring about perfect justice.
And so Lord, we look to you and plead with you. May your kingdom come. May your will be done. And we ask you, as your people, to do a miracle. In a moment of tension and strife, anger and frustration, heartbreak and fear, use this moment to expose the reality of sin, the futility of human wisdom; to cause us to despair of human agendas, and to cause every heart, every leader, every citizen to see beyond the conflict and the confusion and to look to a divine intervention; to cry out for mercy from heaven; and to find—o may multitudes find—mercy and grace and relief and reconciliation and hope in Jesus Christ.
You reveal yourself as the “Father of Mercies.” Bring mercy to the grieving and comfort to the afflicted. Protect those who are oppressed. And protect those who lay down their lives to protect us as citizens of this city.
We pray for the various police departments and for others in critical public service functions: guard them and guide them into wise and courageous and compassionate and righteous execution of their responsibilities.
And as we look to you, as we wait upon you, may your people—your church—resist despair, cynicism, apathy, and cultural accommodation. May we each day, in each relationship, in every context we find ourselves — work or school or in social settings — may we testify by our life and our love and our joy and our words to the true and living hope that is found only in Christ Jesus. Empower us to be faithful and fruitful in this moment.
We pray for other churches in our city, and around the nation, who proclaim this same hope. Grant them unity in this season of strife. Grant pastors to be faithful. Provide them wisdom beyond their experience, grace beyond their resources, power beyond their abilities.
In an election season that only heightens the divisions in our nation, we ask you to work righteousness among our leaders. Position righteous leaders to govern wisely. Work even now in the hearts of our president and legislatures and judicial branches to restrain ambition and animosity, to engender humility, to impart wisdom. May those in authority model humility and wisdom, and may they lead our nation and our states and our cities into righteousness and peace.
We continue to pray for mercy as our nation, and indeed the world, grapples with a virus that has taken the lives of many and disrupted the lives of everyone. Father, we pray, eradicate this disease and its effects so that the vulnerable would be protected, so that hardships would be lightened, and so that barriers that are separating your people from each other, and that are hindering their ministry to this hurting and fractured world, would be removed.
We continue to pray also for those serving on the front lives of medical care, especially those in our own midst. Lord, protect them, empower them, give them strength to endure and compassion to care for those who are afflicted, hurting, fearful, and often alone.
Father, we have many needs in our own midst. You know each name, each circumstance. Be near to them. Heal those in our church family enduring or recovering from sickness, from affliction, from some procedure or treatment.
Lord, for all these requests and for the countless ones that are unexpressed, we thank you that you know, that you hear, that you care, and that you are at work. And so, we entrust all of this, and all that is in our hearts right now, to you—in the name and through the merits of our Lord Jesus. Amen.