In a way September 11 has become a day when people in the United States are being reminded of death and loss and grief. Many families were impacted by the multiple and horrific deaths ten years ago. And I’m sure people are saying a lot of prayers. I want to add one of mine, praying for people touched and held by that tragedy and by other deaths as well.
I pray for fathers who have lost their children. Be gracious to them, and help them live under the weight of their pain. Help them find people they trust to share that pain with, and please use all kinds of people to strengthen and comfort and hold them together. I pray that you would speak to them about how you’ve suffered over time and that your suffering would provide windows and doors and openings for them to feel that life is possible. Enable them to live with splendid memories of their children in their minds. I pray that you would befriend them. I ask that you would help them live each day, no matter how long that day is. Let them find solace in you and in your things. May they experience your love in surprising ways. And I pray that they would grow into more loving men, that they would resist the temptations to close and narrow and shorten themselves because of their large hardships in having lost their children.
I pray for children who have lost their fathers. I ask that you would gift them with space to remember well the men that they loved, that they had good or bad relationships with, and that they called father. Help them laugh. Collect their tears when they cry. Grant them people and loved ones who will encourage them as they visit the hard and grueling memories which come during their losses. Make sense of the world when they can’t. Listen to them when they talk to their fathers, when they scream their names in hopes that death didn’t really keep them. Carry their hopes into your heart, and turn their best prayers into opportunities for your will to be done. Console them. Convince them that they are loved by you. Love them as best you can.
I pray for families, spouses, friends, and loved ones who have lost people that we love. Will you show us how to react to ourselves and our fears and our questions? Will you aide us as we run away from truth? Will you give us courage when we fall into fear and stumble through illusions? Tell us who you are. Give us perspective when we need it most. Open us to light when the world around us goes dark. Death is difficult, so be with us as we respond in our own ways to the difficulty that doesn’t go away. Teach us that life and death are known and handled well in your hands. Be for us what nothing else can be. Continue to connect us daily to the truth of your power over death, of your ability to right the wrongs of injustice which lead to death, and of your greatness in the face of something that feels so big as grief.
I pray these in and through Jesus Christ,