A Prayer After Michigan State

By John Mark Boes

The news from East Lansing, MI this morning was sobering. More gun violence, more death, more grief and the inevitability of more inaction. Typically, I would use this space to offer more words about why we must pass common sense gun reform that might have saved just one life last night. Instead, I thought that I would offer my prayer that I prayed this morning.

“God, why?

Why do You keep allowing innocent lives to be ripped from us?

Have we failed You in some way that these senseless tragedies must continue?

God, how?

How can we stop this from ever happening again?

How can we guarantee that Columbine and Sandy Hook and Parkland and Michigan State are markers of a better future and not just needless violence?

God, what?

What do You require of us that we might turn our thoughts and prayers into policy and change?

What must be done to protect innocent lives from the scourge of gun violence?

I am exhausted.

The specter of death wrought by a tool of violence hangs over my head and wears me down. Yet, I return to You. I return to the One who sustains me, protects me and created me.

My greatest hope today is that You will change the hearts of those who put the interest of the gun over against the issue of Your children. My heart and my soul yearn for solutions while my brain knows that the idol of the gun will be upheld.

So, I keep hoping. I keep yearning. I keep seeking out Your call for peace and justice.

Make me more like Jesus when Jesus says to turn the other cheek. Make me more like Jesus when Jesus commands one of his disciples put his, “sword back into its place, for all who take the sword will die by sword” (Matthew 26:52 NRSVUE). Make me beat swords into plowshares.

God, give me the courage and the strength to keep advocating for gun reform. Grant me the wisdom to commend Your better way to those who might seek it. Give me the strength and endurance to keep proclaiming the way of Jesus, not the way of the supposedly almighty gun.

Lord, I pray this in Your Son, Jesus’ name. Amen.”

John Mark Boes serves as the Advocacy Engagement and Projects manager at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

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