Monday, July 12, 2010

A Prayer About a Holy Rage for Justice

Prayer from Pastor Scotty Smith

Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, "He won't call me to account"? But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Psalm 10:12-14

Dear heavenly Father, there are times when it’s good to get fed up and hacked off… to get red in the face and fire in the pants… to get angry, not with man-ish fury (James 1:20) but with holy rage. Looking into the eyes of helpless victims of evil and hearing the sneer of arrogant agents of terror is just such a time. Today we take up the Psalmist’s impassioned cry, “Arise, LORD! Life up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.”

It’s inconceivable and unconscionable that there are 20,000,000 human slaves today who live (barely) in bondage to other human beings. I’ve seen it firsthand. Never let me forget the day I walked the streets of Bangkok looking for an afternoon snack, only to be proffered little girls for my pleasure by street vendors. As though these precious and priceless 7, 8, and 9 year-olds were nothing more than an ice cream conea consumable commodityfodder for another’s fantasies

Holy and mighty Father, “break the arm of the wicked and evil man, call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out” (Psalm 10:15). I don’t ask such a thing with a haughty spirit of self-righteousness, but with an intense longing for the justice of your kingdom to flow like a river through the streets of Bangkok and Nashville… and every city and hamlet… and for your righteousness to be the never-failing stream which cuts its life-giving way throughout the earth (Amos 5:24).

Because the gospel is true… because of you, Jesus… because not just your arm, but your whole being was broken for us and for the sin of the world, we pray with confidence, “The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:16-18). Be worshipped… adored… and served.

Indeed, Lord Jesus, show us our place in your unfolding story of hearing the desire of the afflicted… of encouraging them… of listening to them… of defending the fatherless and rescuing the oppressed. Because of the cross, terror is terrified and one Day will be no more. So very Amen, we pray in your name, with holy rage and humble gratitude.