Dear Lord, I pray for my city. I ask for grace, mercy and pity. Protect the children who live in fear. Let your peace reign far and near.
Heal this city from its racial divide. Redeem us from our selfish pride. Be a balm that heals the broken hearts of mothers of slain daughters and sons. Let murderous pools of blood no longer run.
Lord, help us to arise from our contemptuous slumber. To become instead the tools by which we climb from under this dark veil that consigns too many to a living hell. To life beyond the Main Stream. To life and death in the Drained Stream, where poverty consumes and violence looms, like the morning sun.
Dear Lord, please silence all these guns. Uphold the family of Xavier Joy too soon gone.
Father, lift us, renew us — the church, your people. Stir us to move far beyond the steeple.
Let our hearts be repentant for our blind consumption and conformity to the things of this world. Forgive us for our great falling away and our godless swirl.
…For allowing our love to wax cold — colder than the coldest Chicago winter. Help us to remember — there is a better way. That a brother doesn’t have to slay another brother. That little girls don’t have to die at the hand of their grandmothers.
Lord, help pastors and preachers reclaim their place as “servant leaders.” Raise up for your dear people righteous teachers.
Help us to begin to repair the brokenness of fatherlessness. Help us to give more and take less.
Help us to stand as men, understanding the power within our own hands. That for as long as there is breath we have a chance to be a better man. Lord, remind us of redemption’s plan.
And Father, help us to fix these schools. Let it be about the children rather than about politics and conflicting views.
Dear Lord, let us not be consumed by the wiles of the enemy that emanate from evil in the hearts of men — birthed in sin. Father, show us the way. Give us a plan. Turn our hearts and minds. Let us see your mighty hand.
Father, afflict the consciences of civic leaders. Let the light of truth shine upon all deceivers. Expose those who lie, plot and steal. Make plain to us what’s real.
Amid the glorious music and revelry of summer fests, let the cries that arise from those suffering beyond the band shell not fall upon deaf ears. Lord, let us also hear: The cacophony of sorrow, suffering and hardship born in this glistening city’s insignificant isles, far from the Magnificent Mile.
And as summer dawns, let us not accept that with it must come the seasonal voluminous murder toll. Lord, save my city’s soul.
The soul of a city where each year thousands are wounded in her streets. Where innocent children are gunned down and murder never sleeps.
But let us not fear. For the task at hand is great. And the collective fate of our city at stake. For we cannot escape injustice and inequality we allow. Cannot elude this chaos or violence’s cloud.
I pray, believing that prayer is not a negligible thing. That manifestations of the natural world have spiritual underpinnings.
Believing — that if by faith we can speak to the mountain and it be cast into the sea — the prayer of faith can help save my city.
So I pray: Protect the children on every block. Dear Lord, let the shooting stop.
Give us strength to make a stand. Guide our voices, feet and hands…
In Jesus’ name. Amen.