Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief—Psalm 143:1, NIV
I recall the civil unrest, which occurred in Los Angeles in late April of 1992 stemming from the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers. These officers had been charged with the use of excessive force and assault in the arrest of Rodney King in March of 1991. My sister, Lee Ann, celebrated her eleventh birthday a week prior to the riots. Lee Ann is a decade younger than I am. She was adopted from South Korea and grew up in an overwhelmingly white county in northeast Arkansas. As a minority, she feared what might happen if racial divisions spilled into violence across the country.
She felt strongly that someone had to intervene to bring an end to the violence. This someone needed to be well known and powerful. She thought big and wrote a letter to the President of the United States. That’s right, the POTUS. She wasn’t playing around … she meant business!
Now, I’m sorry to inform my sister of this but most likely the President didn’t see that letter. However, I’ve always admired her passionate belief that something had to be done. After all these years, and especially after the last few weeks, something still has to be done.
While we can flood the office of the POTUS, as well as the offices of our Senators, Representatives, and our state and local leaders, we must first go to our knees and pray to the one who created every tribe, tongue, and nation. We would do well to adapt the prayer that David prayed, “Lord, hear our prayer, listen to our cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to our relief.” We certainly need mercy and relief from the violence stemming from divisions in our country and our world. We must also repent for ways we’ve contributed to racial divisions by what we’ve spoken and not spoken and by our actions and inactions. We also must confront the injustices that do not represent the values of the kingdom of God.
It goes without saying how much law enforcement officers are in need of prayer. The job of police officers can be exceedingly stressful given the difficult situations and dangers they face each time they put on their uniform to serve and protect our communities. Unfortunately, poor character and rash decisions made by a few have made the job of law enforcement officers much more difficult, and even life-threatening, as we recently witnessed in Dallas. I’ve been privileged to know many, many law enforcement officials and they have a strong calling to do good in their communities and to fulfill their oaths with honor. We need them and they need the prayers of the people of God.
I still admire that my eleven year-old sister thought big and wrote a letter to the President in 1992. When Christians kneel before our loving, just, and faithful heavenly Father, asking him “come to our relief,” we can expect God to hear our prayers and give us wisdom in being bearers of peace in our nation and world. Please join me praying: Lord, hear our prayer, listen to our cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to our relief. Amen.
-Dr. Steve Pulliam