We should pray:
1. That God’s grace, comfort, and presence would be consciously known and felt in the days ahead. They will all have to process this grievous loss from a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual standpoint. We should pray for God’s strength to be theirs through this process. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
2. That hate and bitterness would be overcome with love and forgiveness. This will require nothing short of miraculous intervention in the lives of those involved, because the temptation to hate is so strong when such evil has been committed. Romans 12:1 says that we should not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Pray that God will give strength to accomplish this.
3. That these dear folks can trust God’s good plan, even when it seems like He is out of control or absent from the circumstances. Pray they will remember that God is always good and that, as Romans 5:20 indicates, where sin abounds, grace and good always super-abound and overtake the evil. Even in the murder of God’s own son, Jesus, God certainly had a plan and overruled to provide eternal life for those who accept His free gift of salvation.
4. That family and friends would be assured that the Christians killed in this event are with the Lord in Heaven. They are not suffering and are experiencing eternal life. Pray that others may come into a relationship with God through this tragedy, for this is the only security we really have in this evil, sin-cursed world. Jesus told us that in this world we would face trouble, but that we could be of good cheer; because, through His plan of salvation, He has overcome sin and death and provides eternal life for all who follow him. (2 Corinthians 5:8) (John 16:33)
5. That justice would be accomplished quickly and faithfully by the authorities involved. God is a God of justice toward sin and evil and has given authority to the local, state, and federal government officials to carry out just punishment on His behalf. (Romans 13)
6. That the guilty man would find mercy for his eternal soul through repentance and faith toward God, even in the face of swift and severe punishment. This may be difficult to pray, but even Jesus prayed for His murderers while on the cross. He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
7. That racial tensions would subside and people would remember that we did not evolve from apes. It is not about survival of the fittest, but the fact that we were all created by God. We are all of one blood--human blood. We suffer the same, we cry the same, and God loves us all equally. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
We are sure there are more ways to pray for these folks. Feel free to add your thoughts and prayers in the comments as we all continue to show compassion and concern for these dear people.
Some other articles and information you may find helpful:
How to Give Thanks in Hard Times
How to Know God
Our Church Beliefs
What to Expect if You Visit Our Church (and we hope you will)