September 11, 2018


Psalm 79

How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? . . . Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name. . . .

—  Psalm 79:5, 9

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come” (Luke 11:2), and this reminds us that the world we live in needs the refreshing goodness and wholeness of God’s kingdom. As we recognize that the world is profoundly broken, we know that its ultimate healing will occur only when the fullness of God’s kingdom has finally come.

Today, millions of people recall the terrorist attacks that took place in the United States 17 years ago. The events of 9/11 and all other examples of violence, injustice, and suffering bring us to lament. In desperation we cry out, “How long, Lord?” We implore God to do something, to punish evildoers and to defend all who suffer as innocent victims.

We also go a step further in our lament. We remind God of the promises he has made, and we dare to call him to account to keep those promises, in line with his character. We cry out to the God who is all powerful and who in divine humility permits us to speak with such boldness in prayer.

That’s what we do when we pray, “Your kingdom come.”

If you are hurting, or if the brokenness of the world has moved you to lament, take heart. Prayers of lament are also prayers of hope as we anticipate the completion of God’s kingdom promises. Our prayers play an important role in the coming of his kingdom!

Lord, the pain of life in this broken world leads us to cry out to you for help. Lord, heal our hurts. Lord, bring your kingdom. Lord, be our peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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