05.08.20

A Prayer of Lament for Ahmaud Arbery

Our Father in heaven, the hearts and souls of many of your people cry out today because of the recent images of the shooting of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery. We mourn that this young man was pursued, shot, and killed while he was going on a jog. We mourn that his life was cut short. We mourn that his family and friends are left to grieve his death.

Our Father, because the hearts of many of your people ache, lament, and mourn today because of the images of this recent shooting, we beg you, please, help us, who genuinely believe in a big gospel (a big gospel that has a big vision to restore everything that Adam’s transgression lost in the Garden of Eden), know the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ, cries out louder than the blood of Abel. We, therefore, pray that you would help your hurting people believe by faith right now that sin, death, and injustice are NOT the final words in your redemptive story.

Just as many of your people know and believe Jesus died for our sins to justify us by faith, to deliver us from God’s wrath, to reconcile us to God, to disarm and put to public shame all earthly and demonic powers, to reconcile sinners to each other, and to restore and renew creation, we also know that Jesus reigns victoriously right now in resurrection-power and glory in heaven over every heavenly, earthly, and demonic power because he is alive and physically resurrected from the dead. And, Father, we pray that you would please help your hurting people to know and believe by faith right now that Jesus will return a second time as a conquering king with a rod of iron and with the sharp double-edged sword of his word coming from his mouth to bring perfect judgment and perfect justice on earth against all evil and against all injustice.

Therefore, our Father, while many of your people lament today, we pray that you would help your people to look to you with unwavering hope in Jesus Christ because he and he alone died to conquer the power of sin, death, and the grave, is physically risen from the dead, and because he reigns right now over all things in heaven and on the earth. Our Father, since Jesus is the Christ and conquered the power of sin and death, we, your people, pray that you would help your hurting people in our current pain to believe by faith with absolute confidence, even in these times of lament and deep sorrow, that the gates of death will not prevail against the true church, whose foundation is built upon Peter the apostle’s apostolic confession that Jesus is the Christ and your eternal Son, the Son of the living God.

Consequently, Father, we ask that you would help us to pray with hope in Jesus and with urgency the following in Jesus’ name on behalf of Mr. Arbery, his family, and his friends. Please, O’ God and Father of all comfort, comfort the parents, family, and friends of Mr. Arbery. Please comfort his mother on this upcoming Mother’s Day and beyond as she grieves the death of her son. Father, please draw near to her, shepherd her, and help her by your Spirit to know that Jesus is the good shepherd, that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and that you, Father, love her so much that you sent Jesus into the world so that whoever believes in him would have eternal life. Please, Father, help Christians to show love, kindness, and compassion in the appropriate ways to Mr. Arbery’s family during this time of grief. Father, please protect his family from the evil spiritual darts of the devil that will attack from every direction, even from unexpected directions. Please, Father, protect them from the devil’s lies as he is like a roaring lion going back and forth throughout the earth seeking someone to devour.

Our Father, we pray please work through the justice system to bring justice for Mr. Arbery and his family. Father, please enable the justice system to do its due diligence with integrity. Father, please carefully guide everyone involved in the judicial process by your perfect providence to bring to light all of the facts with clarity so that justice will truly prevail for Mr. Arbery and his family.

Our Father, many of your people cry out to you now along with the entire creation with inexpressible groaning as we await the redemption of our bodies and the redemption of the entire creation. Father, we are reminded on a daily basis of the power of original sin and the power of the cosmological curse of sin because of the suffering all around us throughout the world. Yet, you remind your people in the gospel of Jesus Christ of the promise of and need for both a present and a future comprehensive redemption.

Our Father, we pray that your Son, Jesus Christ, would please come quickly to bring to full realization the complete redemption for which he died and resurrected and the complete redemption for which creation longs and for which your people hope. Our Father, we pray that you would please hasten the day when Jesus Christ comes from heaven to earth to raise the dead, to separate the sheep from the goat, to judge each one in accordance with his or her works, and to save your people from your wrath. Please hasten the day when Jesus will return to earth to destroy once and for all sin, death, evil, the devil, and to bring an end to all injustice. Please hasten the day when Jesus returns to bring about the new creation in which and over which he will reign and institute perfect justice and righteousness with all of the saints of old and his followers forever.

However, until that day, we pray, O’ Father, that you would please let your kingdom come now and your will be done now on earth as it is in heaven.

Our Father, we ask all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jarvis J. Williams, PhD
Jarvis J. Williams is an associate professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He’s the author of Christ Redeemed ‘Us’ From the Curse of the Law: A Jewish Martyrological Reading of Galatians 3:13 and a forthcoming Galatians commentary in 2020 in the New Covenant Commentary Series.

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