As a pastor, I know how important it is to respond to tragedies with prayer. As we face another round of impossible headlines, we have to continue to pray for the victims’ families, first responders, and many in the Uvalde community who are impacted by this horrific event. But I also believe that God wants more than just a prayer response.
God wants our families
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably been hugging your kids a little tighter as tragedy often gives us perspective on what we have in our lives. But with gratitude for our families comes responsibility and stewardship. How are we equipping our families to see the world as God does?
We need to engage our children about their feelings, their theology, and their concerns about the world they live in. We often believe our children will be resilient, but they bear scars that we need to be the first to nurse with truth from God’s word.
It can be as simple as reading a Bible verse to your family when you sit down for dinner. My family recently started this practice, and it’s already generated good conversation around the dinner table. If you’re not sure where to start, check out WayFM’s Word on the Way. Little moments like these draw our families focus closer to God. The first step to fighting evil with good takes place in our own homes.
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. | Romans 12:15 NLT
God wants our care
I recently watched the Jesus Music movie and was inspired by the song lyrics, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” There are many tangible ways that we show love by serving through this tragedy, and it doesn’t even have to be a trip to Uvalde. All of us can take steps to connect with churches, ministries, and organizations in our own cities.
As we pray for those affected by this tragedy, what if our prayer was also a question to God on how He can use us? Where can we serve? Is there a need at church? Sometimes, these prayers can lead to unexpected callings. For example, I recently signed up to be a Junior High sponsor for church camp. Even though I don’t normally serve in Youth Group, there was a specific void that I was able to fill. This week, I’m asking God to use me in someone’s life who is feeling lonely, lost, or in despair.
“And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” | Jeremiah 29:7 NLT
God wants our voice
This past Sunday, my church focused on the mental health crisis in our city. This is just one of the many issues that needs Christian voices. We need real involvement, real discussions, and real solutions.
Throughout Scripture, we find bold individuals like Daniel, Esther, and Paul who were willing to stand up for what is true and right while having a voice for peace. Jesus taught us through his life that he was willing to lay down his life for others. Can we take that same sentiment to our local leaders and imagine a world where evil doesn’t win?
If you can’t find the words today, join me in this simple prayer: God, we grieve for innocent lives lost by violence. We pray for parents, teachers, families, first responders, and all whose lives will be forever changed. Help me love my family and community well, and show me how to turn my heartbreak into action and use my voice for good. Lord, may your presence shine bright in this dark time, deliver us from evil, and bless those who mourn, for they will be comforted. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.