Loving God. Loving our neighbor.

A Prayer of Lament in Response to the South Florida Shooting

Scotty Smith

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37:7-11 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, yesterday in Broward County, Florida, we witnessed yet another day of terror-making darkness, evil-doing madness, and life-taking sadness. How long, O Lord, how Lord before you “cut off” every expression evil? How long before “the wicked will be no more”? How much longer is “just a little while“?

It’s hard not to fret, Father. It’s hard not to feel fearful and angry when public high schools become the venue for the mass murder. We offer our prayer as your weary children, longing for the Day when your glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14)—the Day when perfect peace will replace systemic darkness; when the wolf and lamb will live together (Isa. 9:6); when guns and knives will become tools for agriculture and harvest (Isa. 2:1-5).

Until then, Father, make us warriors of peace and agents of hope. Replace our frets and fears with faith and trust, patience and courage. Our labors in the Lord are never in vain. We dare not withdraw. We must not retreat.

The gospel of the kingdom will prevail. Jesus defeated evil on the cross, and he will eradicate evil at his return. That Day cannot get here too soon. Grant us wisdom and grace, to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with you, wherever you’ve placed us.

We pray for the scores of families and friends directly affected by this tragedy. And we pray for healthcare workers and counselors, pastors, and neighbors—those who will offer redemptive presence and care. Grant them your compassion and strength. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’s triumphant and grace-full name.

A Prayer of Lament in Response to the South Florida Shooting