On Friday, five people were killed and more than a dozen injured in a mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport. The shooter, identified as Esteban Santiago, was arrested and charged this week. Mr. Santiago was a former member of the Army National Guard who reportedly had been struggling with mental health issues. Officials have not yet determined a motive or cause for the attack.
God, in the wake of this tragedy we grieve with all who are affected, remembering both the families of the victims and of the offender. We lift in prayer all who carry mental health burdens that go untreated; it seems particularly unjust when veterans don’t get the help they need. We pray for funding and policies that would effectively address the growing need for accessible mental health care.
South Sudan on the Brink of Disaster
On Wednesday, the United Nations human rights council held a special session in Geneva to discuss the current conditions in South Sudan. Issuing an official warning stating that escalating ethnic violence has pushed the country to the brink of disaster, the council called for swift action to prevent genocide. Tens of thousands of people have been killed during the three-year civil war, and more than one million have fled the country.
Intervene, Lord, to stop the escalating violence in South Sudan. Move among world leaders and the leaders in South Sudan to work toward peace and justice. Comfort the many people who are full of grief, and strengthen those who are called to bring relief and help.
Dylann Roof Faces Death Penalty
On Tuesday, a jury sentenced Dylann Roof to death for the murders of nine black church members during a Bible study in Charleston, S.C., on June 17, 2015. Last month, he was convicted of 33 federal charges, including murder and hate crimes, and he was formally sentenced this week. He is the first person to face execution for a federal hate crime conviction.
The killing of Dylann Roof is another act of violence, adding to the grief we feel over this heart-wrenching story. We pray for Dylann Roof, asking that you give us eyes to see him the way you see him, Lord — profoundly sinful and yet miraculously beloved by you. We pray for the families of the church members who were killed in Charleston, and for all who feel the ripple effects of this crime that was intended to spread hatred and fear. Come, Lord Jesus, and transform our hearts and our communities.
Persecution of Christians in India
The persecution of the Christian minority in India increased in 2016 and was usually led by Hindu nationalists acting largely with impunity. According to Open Doors, religious nationalists attempt to forcibly convert people to the dominant faith of their nation, often turning to violence when community discrimination and nonviolent oppression do not succeed in imposing their religious beliefs on minority Christians. These Christians are also often part of the lowest classes, which face complex socioeconomic hardships, making them vulnerable to marginalization.
God, for our brothers and sisters in India, we lift our prayers. Draw near to them as they face persecution for their faith, and may their suffering be powerfully used by you, that the kingdom of God will draw near. We pray that leaders in India may develop policies to protect these vulnerable people.