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32457-candles-1200.630w.tnO gracious God, we can see your presence and your power at work in the world (Rom. 1:7, 20), but often the truth seems submerged under so many lies (Rom. 1:23). We like to think our world is safe and good and peaceful, but we know there is all manner of unrighteousness, evil, and malice (Rom. 1:29). We renounce all that is foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless (Rom. 1:31), and confess that the same spirit of rebellion can pulse through our veins (Rom. 2:1).

You are a righteous Judge, storing up judgment for the impenitent (Rom. 2:5). Pour out your wrath and fury upon the godless, and in your kindness lead us to repentance that we might not be numbered among them (Rom. 2:4-8). Speak to the consciences of your creatures that we may run from what is wrong and turn to what is right (Rom. 2:14-16).

Sovereign Lord, may the unrighteousness of man serve to show the world your righteousness (Rom. 3:5). Apart from you, we are not merely broken and wounded, but worthless and wicked (Rom. 3:12). We see the feet of those who are swift to shed blood and shudder to think of the ruin and misery they leave in their paths (Rom. 3:15-16). It is true of killers, shooters, and terrorists—just as it was once true of of us—there is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom. 3:18).

Have mercy, O God, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Justify us by the grace that is ours in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24). Forgive our lawless deeds (Rom. 4:7). May grace reign in us through the righteousness that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 5:21). Crucify our sinful desires (Rom. 6:6). Set us free from the things to lead to death (Rom. 6:21). Make us slaves to ever-increasing righteousness (Rom. 6:18, 19, 22). Deliver us, O Lord, from these bodies of death (Rom. 7:24).

We know that we are not yet what we will be; oh how eagerly we long for the revealing of your glory in us (Rom. 8:18-19). In the midst of so much death, disease, and destruction, we join with all creation in groaning for freedom, in crying out for relief from the bondage to decay (Rom. 8:20-23). We want to hope, but hope is hard, so give us patience to wait for what we cannot see (Rom. 8:24-25).

Grant us your Spirit—an aid in weakness and an intercessor to pray when we don’t know what to speak (Rom. 8:26-27). We know that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to your purpose (Rom. 8:28). So keep those you call and bring safely home all all your children still on the journey (Rom. 8:29-30).

Many people are hurting. So many struggle. And so many things can seem against us. But if you are for us, that is more than enough (Rom. 8:31). If you gave up your Son, we can trust you to take up our cause (Rom. 8:32). No matter the trial and no matter the trouble, we know Jesus is praying for us, Jesus is with us, and Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us (Rom. 8:34-39).

We praise you, O God, for your never-failing, never-faltering, never-giving-up-on-us love (Rom. 8:37-39).


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4 thoughts on “A Romans Response to Tragedy”

  1. Jonathan Brownson says:

    Profound and prayer provoking

  2. Edwitness says:

    Romans is such an instructive letter for life as a Christian. It is mostly written to the Israelite believers at Rome. But, it has many aspects that help us understand why God dealt with those before Moses the way He did. And after as well. And those of Israel who made an idol of the law. And what they were to do to truly worship Jesus.
    From all these the prayer that you gleaned was beautiful. Even praiseworthy.
    Blessings:-}

  3. Dean Bailey says:

    Amen! And I pray that my own is only an echo to many other, “Amens,” in Jesus’ name.

  4. Curt Day says:

    The prayer is important, but let’s consider one possibility when we see such horrible violence in our nation: that those who practiced this violence are as much a product of society as any successful person is.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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