I don’t watch TV.   I make a point of not listening to the news.  I tend to get my news from my twitterfeed and facebook and even then I RARELY get much info on the tragic events going on around the world.

I do this because I hate seeing people in pain.  Maybe it’s a tender heart, maybe it’s compassion but I personally hurt when I watch the news.

“Tonight a massive earthquake rocked the Indian Ocean and unleashed a tsunami on Bangladesh-”

“…a vicious double homicide in a suburban home.”

“…outrage over suicide bombings…”

“…as the death toll continues to rise…”

“…unprovoked attack on civilians…”

“…twelve year old girl found raped and murdered…”

I can’t handle it.  So I go out of my way to avoid the news.  I make every effort to not listen to what’s going on in the world around me because it hurts too much.  I personally do not have the fortitude it takes to watch the news and not spend the entire hour on my knees praying whether it’s for victims of tragedy or victims of gossip and it takes me a long time to recover from it.

So I bury my head in the sand while saying things to make myself feel like it’s ok.  “I can’t see suffering and not do something about it.” Kind of thing.  “I can’t do anything about it so I can’t bear that burden.”  And then Jesus spoke to me very clearly last night.

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned.”

“I’m not unconcerned,” I said.  “I care! I care a lot! I just can’t bear it without doing something about it.”

And Jesus spoke to me again.  “If you cannot bear it from afar, why do you think you can bear it when you’re up close and serving?”

I had no answer.

“How can you claim to want to be like me,” Jesus said, “if you are unwilling to see the pain around you?”

Can you say “conviction”?  It was everything I could do to not start calling everyone I knew and confessing my hardness of heart to them.  And it wasn’t even hardness of heart that was my sin but lack of compassion.  Apathy.  I had deliberately chosen to ignore the cries of those around me and thereby become unconcerned.  How arrogant of me to think I can be Christ-like and refuse to exercise compassion.

I didn’t call everyone I know to tell them, but I’m announcing it from the rooftops, I’m confessing my sin here and repenting.  Because at the very least – the VERY least – I can pray.

Lord have mercy on the people of Japan, grant them strength, and light, and perseverance.  Be merciful to them oh Lord and do not deal harshly with them.  Bring them closer to yourself and show them the light of your glory in this time.

Lord have mercy on the people of Libya.  Give succor to those who are suffering and compassion to those who cause suffering.  Bring healing to a country torn by years of political oppression and violence.  Enable them to overcome and be a new cornerstone for your Kingdom.

Lord have mercy on every heart of every person in a place covered in conflict.  Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and every other one I can’t think of.  I cry out for your mercy and healing in these places.

Lord have mercy on the approximately 27 million people held in bondage by modern slavery.  Grant them Freedom.

Lord have mercy on the children of the last generation, this generation, and the next generation.  Grant us healing from abuse.  Give us all the love and nurturing we can experience only in your arms.

If you would like to add another prayer to this list, you can leave it in the comments below, or you can comment on the prayer closet page. If you have personal needs that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with people you know, I’m more than willing to pray with you and you can shoot me an e-mail.