Recently we’ve witnessed a string of heartbreaking events in Baltimore. Needless to say, there are people hurting about reports of police brutality in the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray (spelled by some as Freddy Gray), Baltimore’s riots, questionable news coverage, and immense amounts of discourse around the nation from Dr. Ben Carson, to President Obama, to former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, and also writer Donald Miller among others.
I hate seeing all the conflict. I hate seeing so many hurting people. I hate the lack of peace in our world, in Baltimore, and in my own heart.
I am part of the problem. You are part of the problem. Through prayer, we all are part of the solution.
Although I certainly should do my part, I know that the solution is bigger than me, you and every other person.
This situation reminds me of our desperate need for God. So I sat and wrote a brief but heartfelt prayer. I don’t always write so that others will read it. Oftentimes I write because in writing God helps me to understand my thoughts, to organize them, to repent of them, and to arrive a place where I’m better able to understand and process the world around me.
I wrote this prayer in that vein. I found myself at a loss for words. Why would God allow this to happen? What does an appropriate response to Baltimore look like for a Christian? Why is it that the whole situation feels out of control and hopeless?
As I wrote, I came to realize the helplessness I feel stems from my own lack of faith. It stems from my own sin. It stems from my limited perspective. It stems from my own prejudices. It stems from my inadequacy.'I’m not the answer. You aren’t the answer. But God is the answer to Baltimore.' -- @bradbridges #BaltimoreOne Click To Tweet
I’m not trying to say that we should all sit and do nothing as we wait on God to supernaturally fix it all. I believe we have a role to play because God rarely does major things without involving humans. But I do believe God will ultimately do the greatest work in this situation.
He is the answer. He is the response to Baltimore.
Let us pray. . .
God, please continue to work in the hearts of men, women, and children to lead them to peaceful dialogue. Please transform our dialogue from hashtags (#BaltimoreRiots #OneBaltimore #FreddieGray #OurCity) to open ears, loving hearts, and lives characterized by service in our response to Baltimore.
God, if situations arise that warrant anything less than peacefulness and civility, please give those involved the wisdom and courage to do only what is necessary to bring you glory even if it means setting aside their own hurts, frustrations, and desires to get even. May your Holy Spirit guide each person to make the right decision for themselves, their community, the city, their nation, and their God.
God, please bring about transformation in the people of Baltimore and elsewhere! We all need to be changed by you as we are a broken people. We are the church. We need your goodness, your courage, your love, and your forgiveness. Our response to Baltimore can’t be created apart from you. As you modeled reconciliation for us by sending your son Jesus Christ to die for us so that we could be reconciled to you, enable us through the power of your Holy Spirit to first rest in the reconciliation we have with you, to seek reconciliation with our neighbor(s), and to take the initiative to bring about societal reconciliation by laying down our perceived rights and privileges.'May our response to Baltimore be driven by our relationship with God.' -- @bradbridges #PrayForBaltimore Click To Tweet
God, please cause thousands of people to radically invest in serving, loving, and forgiving one another so that people on all sides of the situation in Baltimore would experience restoration from the brokenness many now feel and see. Help our response to Baltimore to be characterized by transformation; both on a personal level and a societal level.
God, we pray that those those of us far away wouldn’t first judge and condemn but rather listen, seek to understand, and encourage.
God, please help us to examine our own hearts and see where we need to grow. We admit that we don’t understand everything about the events in Baltimore nor around the world. We admit that we often don’t even understand our own families or our own hearts.
God, we pray that ultimately you would make yourself known to many worldwide as you work in and through men, women, and children to bring about earthly reconciliation and eternal hope in your Son, Jesus Christ.
God, may our response to Baltimore be driven by our relationship with your Son, Jesus Christ.