- - Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Perhaps no community has suffered as much devastation both physically and emotionally in recent months as the people of Ferguson, Missouri. It seems like one tragedy has followed another. A young life was ended too soon, and now many lives have been ruined, changed and ripped apart in ways Americans may never know.

Our hearts have wept with the broken parents and tried to understand the truth of the situation as much as possible. But regardless of who is to blame, there is an answer to the pain. There is a proven agent of healing and victory for everyone involved. It starts with faith, looking beyond ourselves and a prayer for healing that might sound something like this:

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for our neighbors in Missouri. God, send heavenly comfort to their broken hearts as they mourn the loss of so much. In this hour of pain and suffering, let us somehow find hope. In this hard time, there is one thing I pray that You will help them to do; one thing that will forever change our nation and bring healing. I pray that our neighbors in Missouri will take this chance to help change us for the better by choosing to overcome wrong with right, evil with good and hate with love.

In spite of their great pain and suffering, I pray that they’ll choose to teach us how to love again. Turn earthly tragedy into heavenly triumph. At this moment in time, after all of the pain that has happened, if they choose, they have the power to change history. Allow them to show us that the power of forgiveness is greater than the power of hate. Remind us all that returning evil for evil only brings more defeat and bondage.

I pray that the people of Missouri will live out the truth of Christmas before our eyes this Christmas. If they choose to do good to those who may have hurt them, we will surely see miracles. I pray that they will realize that true healing, power and victory are not found in earthly vengeance, but in the grace only heaven can send. Let us be astounded by their power of goodness, grace and forgiveness. May your comfort and healing strengthen them to lead a cause greater than they can even imagine: May it start a national return to brotherly love, respect and trust. As they stand in the shining light of the power of love and forgiveness, watch us follow them by the millions.

We want so desperately to be healed of our divisions! We long for unity and peace and brotherhood. At this moment in history, those in Missouri are uniquely positioned to lead in a miraculous way. All eyes are on them, so let their eyes be on You. Please hear a young mother’s prayer. Show us how to heal and to love again. Amen.

Dear neighbors in Missouri, if you choose the overcoming power of love, just imagine this scene: A pastor across town, moved by the scenes of your strength and courage to rise above your pain, stands up on Sunday morning to preach. He tells his congregation that instead of a sermon, he plans to go to Ferguson and help his neighbors rebuild the churches and property there. As he walks out the door, his congregation stands together and follows him to Ferguson. Singing and praying, they walk down the street to the dying embers of the burned buildings. They greet folks there with hugs and handshakes of healing.

Can you imagine the power of people from all different neighborhoods and churches in St. Louis, Mo., holding hands and embracing their neighbors in Ferguson? As cameras roll, imagine the people - not political leaders or celebrities or national guardsmen or famous personalities - but the people of Missouri, singing, praying and working to rebuild together! What healing those images would bring to our nation!

I guess it’s just a prayer or maybe wishful thinking, but it’s offered from a heart longing for a miracle of healing in this Christmas season. There’s a reason that a picture of a police officer embracing a tearful young boy at a protest went viral this week. It pictured what we all long for right now!

There is an answer to this turmoil but it’s not in Washington and it’s not in more violence or anger. The answer isn’t in the past or trying to even scores or finding what we think is justice or even vengeance. The answer is discovered on our knees and in our hearts, right now, if we choose it.

So, I’m just sayin’, it won’t be easy, but miracles never are. They always require a big leap of faith when all seems lost or impossible. I choose to believe. Do you?

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