My goodness, what sad news about the recent church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. To think that people were killed in the House of God, while conducting God’s business.
Here is a link to details about the people who were killed in the shooting
I will be praying for everyone who has been affected in this attack, and the families of those who were killed. I guess I should also be praying for the shooter, praying that God would work in his heart.
Two ways of viewing this:
On one hand, it is always devastating whenever something like this happens to Christians, who genuinely love God, and while they are right there doing the core work of God. And then in a country like the US, where people expect to enjoy freedom of worship. It is at times like these that you just want to cry out to God “WHYYYY? Why did You let this happen God, to Your people?”
ON THE OTHER HAND: In that there was a shooting at all, there is a consolation that the people killed were apparently sincere followers of God, which would hopefully mean that by God’s grace they will be in Heaven.
Going beyond this particular tragedy: This is a very striking reminder that the spirit of racism is still rampaging in the US. Let us not be under any illusion: this thing is demonic, and it is utterly murderous. It is also apparently very deeply entrenched in the heart of the US. This is a prayer that needs to prayed on an ongoing basis, until that murderous spirit is definitively uprooted.
Racial Unity: Reading analyses of this attack reminded me that part of the reason for these attacks is to create disunity between ethnicities. There is a definite motive to create an “Us and Them” mentality between ethnicities. I for one am sorry for every time I have succumbed to this mentality. Of course, there is only one race: the human race.
Beyond race: This is not just about Black African-Americans being killed by a White man. This is also about Christians being killed in the place of worship. This is also an expression of a deeply murderous demonic spirit, which hates Jesus and Christians (and Jewish people, the people of God), and seeks to destroy them. We can see this evil spirit at work right around the world, especially the Middle East, Africa, Asia.
So then, prayers I will be praying:
ONE-OFF PRAYERS: I will commit to praying for at least 10 minutes every day for a week for these issues:
– I will be praying for the people of Charleston, the families of those who were killed, for peace and strength for the city at this time
– I will be praying for the shooter involved. I find it so hard to think of him with any compassion. However, he also is a human being, made in the image of God. And of course, God commands prayer for people like him. While I pray that the full weight of legal justice will be meted out to him, I will also pray that God will work in his heart, bringing him to repentance and a relationship with God
– I will be praying against retaliatory attacks carried out by the Black/African-American community. I will also be praying against copycat attacks carried out against other churches, community centres or other places of worship
ONGOING PRAYERS: I will commit to praying generally for this issue on a weekly basis for at least 30 minutes every week:
– I will be praying that God would raise up other people to pray, to be invested in crying out for the country of the US, and especially this issue of race
– I will be praying for all my own Black and African-American friends and family all over the United States, for God’s continued protection upon their lives
– I will be praying that God would uproot that murderous, evil spirit of racism in the US. This is an ongoing prayer that will need to be prayed on a continual basis until it has clearly been uprooted
– I will be praying that God would grant a spirit of racial unity to the US, even when racially-motivated attacks happen
– I will be praying for protection for God’s people all over the world; protection in their places of worship. This ultimately expands to religious freedom for all people, praying that everyone would be free to worship. The difficulty comes though when people in exercising their religious freedoms repress the legitimate freedoms and rights of other people. This issue is too involved and complicated for me to fully untangle in my mind, but I know that God can deal with it
Photo of Charleston Church Steeple by Mary Gasaway on Pixabay