a prayer for cities in distress

This prayer has been written out of two separate times of spontaneous prayer at the Sanctuary this week for Lahore, Pakistan and for all the other cities who have experienced violent attacks in recent weeks and months. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

peace vigil lead image

Lahore, Brussels, Istanbul, Ankara, Paris…
our list of great cities in distress is growing Lord.
But we know in bringing them to you
we come to the one whose heart carries them all daily –
never forgetting –
but always loving, grieving, interceding and holding back in mercy
your earnest desire to return and bring perfect safety now
for the sake of those who still might accept your offer to be safe forever.

Parks, shopping centres, cafes and airports,
these are the places we have played in,
related in, begun new beginnings and adventures in,
said preciously painful goodbyes in –
these are places people have felt safe.
But East and West alike weep over them now
as they see their desolation,
for destruction and fear robbed and destroyed
and return again and again in memories that linger and threaten.

But oh our Lord, this we also remember,
as we share your heart today –
that there is a river that makes glad the city of our God
and by it grows a tree whose leaves will heal the nations.
And dear Lord, we ask you please,
could this river burst the banks of eternity
and rush through each city with comfort and hope today?
Washing away all that fear and trauma
in the wake of a mighty, pure, transforming love.
And could this tree, and these priceless leaves
– won for us by you on another tree at such a cost –
be protective, loving shade and ministering salve
and all else that you alone know is needed today?
Bringing good out of evil even here
as hearts turn to peace and justice.

On earth as it is in heaven…
Lord Jesus, please come
and bring the beauty-from-ashes-gladness of your kingdom
into the parks, shopping centres, cafes and airports
of these great cities
and into the streets, homes and hearts of all who live in them.
And to us Lord, here in our cities, break the power of fear
and hold us back from closing our hearts and our land
to those who need refreshing welcome, shelter
and a safe city in which to heal.

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