A Prayer for First Responders
“You must not go about as a slanderer among your people. You must not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the Lord. You must not hate your brother in your heart. You must surely reprove your fellow citizen so that you do not incur sin on account of him. You must not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people, but you must love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:16-18 [NET]
O God, our Father and our King: in you is all power, all knowledge, all wisdom, all goodness. We all live our lives under your watchful eye and always with the reach of your powerful hand.
You have made us for yourself, and we are restless and unsettled until we find our rest and peace in you. Thank you that the doorway to that peace and rest is always open to us through Jesus Christ your Son.
You have placed us in a good and blessed nation. We are not without problems and challenges. We have made mistakes and have not always done well. But you have blessed us with good-hearted people and a sound and wise constitution. Keep us always one united people regardless of our differences. Guard and protect our hearts, so that we never make enemies of our fellow citizens and neighbors simply because we disagree with one another. Teach us to bear with each other and always to be good neighbors to each other in the end.
Good Father, in your word you have called us to love our neighbors as ourselves. That calling isn’t meant to be a merely warm, fuzzy sentiment. Rather, you want us to make our love for our neighbor into a way of life. And to that end, you have raised up people who will show us what that way of life looks like, the very people gathered here today—police, firefighters, EMS and other such servants of our communities. I thank you for these faithful and committed neighbors of mine.
I ask you to guard them and keep them in your care. The callings they have answered are hard ones – fraught with dangers, hardships, and challenges. Keep them safe in body as they risk their own well-being in order to preserve the well-being of others. Guard their hearts and minds and spirits, because sometimes their callings require them to respond to and see terrible things. Grant them an extra measure of wisdom, because often they are called into circumstances that are complicated and unclear and that still require quick decisions and swift actions. So grant them wisdom and great skill. And in the end, grant that they may see and know the blessing that their service brings to the neighbors and their communities in times of great need. And show them that in fulfilling their callings with faithfulness, diligence, courage, and devotion . . . that in doing all this, they are, in fact, following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, your glorious Son, who laid down his life in service to us all in time of great need.
Pour out your rich blessings now and always on all gathered here. I pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
©2016 Gary A. Chorpenning; all rights reserved.