A Prayer for Expressing an Intense Longing for Justice
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, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Ps. 10:12-14
Holy 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 with a holy rage. Looking into the eyes of helpless victims and hearing the sneer of agents of terror is just such a time. Today we take up the psalmist’s impassioned cry, “Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless” (Ps. 10:12).
It’s inconceivable and unconscionable, that there are twenty-seven million 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 offered little girls for my pleasure by street vendors, as though these priceless seven, eight, and nine-year-olds were nothing more than an ice cream cone—a usable commodity, fodder for evil’s fantasies.
Righteous Father, “break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out” (Ps. 10:15). I don’t ask this with a spirit of vengeance, but with a longing for justice 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).
Lord Jesus, because the gospel is true, we pray with confidence, “The Lord is King forever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror” (Ps. 10:16-18).
Because of your finished work on the cross, terror is terrified and, one Day, evil will be eradicated; Satan knows his time is short, and demons tremble with fear. Because of your resurrection, your kingdom will come, and your will will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Because of your Spirit, we can and must find our place in your story—pushing back the effects of the fall, and offering the firstfruits of the City whose builder and maker is God. Because of your grace, we will do so with hearts of passion and great anticipation. So very Amen we pray in your name, with joyful longing and humble gratitude.