Don’t Pray for Me

“When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you: even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood.” — Isaiah 1:15 (NIV)

In the solemn aftermath of horrific gun violence and mass shootings, prayers of condolence have become quite common place as they display the ritual of our national grief. Our prayers express the compassion and concern we feel for those hurt by the grave losses of gun violence — losses that molest families, damage communities and shake the nation.

Still, as well-intentioned as our prayers of condolence may be, they are not always the appropriate response to the ravages of mass carnage. At a certain point, our prayers may in fact be an affront to God.

According to the prophet Isaiah, God refuses to hear the prayers of those who pray with bloody hands. There are those whose hands are bloodied by the triggers they pull to unleash bullets that take human lives at random. But there are many more whose hands are bloodied by their compliance with indiscriminate gun proliferation of every lethal variety.

Isaiah makes no distinction between the two.

Directly or indirectly, God holds everyone in the nation responsible for neglecting the poor and failing to defend the weak. Thus, the nation’s religious practices are futile, and the prayers of the national body are pointless.

Prayer never has been, and prayer never will be a substitute for accountability.

Bloodied hands that offer prayers to the victims of mass shootings … or to families separated at the border … or to the victims of unjust systems … do not console anyone. They only camouflage the problem and circumvent the solution.

Lord, before we pray, help us to look at our hands. Amen.

This reflection was written by Kenneth Samuel, pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, GA, as a contributor for Daily Devotional, created by the StillSpeaking Writers’ Group for the United Church of Christ.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. — Oliver Wendell Holmes

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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5 Responses to Don’t Pray for Me

  1. Out there in the ordinary
    world, it’s all become High Noon,
    and that is why I always carry
    a loaded Colt Dragoon.
    We’ve allowed the rising tide;
    they kill because they can,
    knowing they don’t need to hide,
    but I have another plan.
    I’m no fan of social justice,
    and ‘woke’ has got no pulpit.
    The return to God’s trust is
    with a Bible and a bullet.
    The road we’re on is broken, flawed,
    so now bring down the Wrath of God.

  2. Bruce says:

    I don’t agree with Isaiah. If some lunatic decides to shoot innocent victims, it’s not the fault of people in general. This is like blaming the victims. There is only one person to blame. The person who was full of hatred, and decided to kill innocent people.

    As far as God is concerned, He doesn’t need anyone to put words into His mouth. He is perfectly capable of making a decision on His own. Whether He decides to listen or to not listen is His decision, not the decision of Isaiah, or someone else.

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