A Prayer for Chicago


All we see right now is shattered glass, shattered lives, a shattered city.

We’re being smashed to bits by lies,

Twisted truth,

Our choice to forfeit reality,

Unwilling to unearth truth from its grave,

Where we left it to die so our pride would not be injured. 


Save us from lawlessness,

From our crooked pens (cameras and keyboards)

Which weave narratives of falsehood 

To serve our selfish, evil purposes

That keep us in power,

Keep us comfortable,

Or that we think justify our belligerent actions.


Save us from despair that leads to desperate, frustrated violence.

Save us from oppressive power structures.

Save our children from stray bullets.


Save us from thinking that our city can suffer around us,

While we sit idly by,

Inconvenienced, but not perturbed,

Refusing to mourn for our brothers and sisters. 


Save us from divisiveness and anger.

Save us from our opinions, the deceit of our finite perspective, and from assumptions with disastrous consequences.

Save us from our reluctance to consider loss of life as more costly than our dollars.


Save us from our loneliness,

Save us from our lack,

Save us from our indulgence,

Save us from our disease,

Save us from cold hearts,

Save us from cynical science.


Lord, we are a people of unclean lips,

Next to your holiness we falter.

We stumble in the mire of our filthy greed,

Selfishness, pride, and self-sufficiency.


Humble us Lord.

Sweep across this nation with a wildfire of repentant hearts,

Hearts that relinquish their reigns,

And allow you to show them righteousness.


Make love our banner,

Grace our resiliency,

Your Gospel our singular hope for change.


Let every obstacle we overcome,

Every sin we uproot in our hearts,

And every sacrifice we make to love people we once hated,

Reveal your perfection in greater measure.


Help us to look higher

To see that your purposes will contort this evil

Into a good that outweighs its horror,

To see that you can redeem a city on its knees–

You build out of ruins.

Your goodness outweighs everything:

Every mixed motive, evil intention, and chaotic calamity.


Help us to say, as your prophet once said,

“We have a strong city, God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.”


Help us see your face

Through the shattered glass,

With your loving expression, 

Ready to mend.

–N.R. 8/10/2020

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