Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Prayer On The Eve of an Execution

Jay Vorhees is seeking the heart of God in prayer tonight, on the eve of the scheduled execution of Sedley Alley in Tennessee.

Jay's words are so powerfully inspiring that I want to share them with whomever might be reading this as I join with Jay in sincere and solemn prayer.

A Prayer On The Eve of an Execution

God of the ages, we know there are no winners tonight. There is only brokenness and heartache, pain and grieving.

Tonight, agents of my state will strap a man to a table and cause him to die. These persons are simply agents of the people, carrying out the will of the masses regarding the proper punishment for taking a life. They are not guilty . . . we all are. Forgive us, O Lord, for our desire for retribution. Forgive us for all being participants in a system forgets that all life is sacred, guilty or otherwise.

Tonight, the friends and family of an innocent girl will grieve the loss of their loved one. This is a night that is supposed to bring closure, but those who have been through this tell us that no closure comes. There is nothing they can do that will bring back their loved one to them. Removing her killer from the world is a temporary fix for the long term grief that comes when we think about the suffering and pain of the one we loved. God, send your grace to this family. Help them to recognize that the only power that conquers hate is love. Lead them to find peace, not in the continuation of violence, but somehow through overcoming it.

Tonight, a guilty man will walk into a room knowing that he won’t be walking out. This man may indeed have evil in his heart. We know not where those seeds of evil were planted, but we remember that he too is your creation, of sacred worth, and that Jesus died for his sins as well. We may be unable to offer forgiveness, but you do, and we marvel at your grace. Lord, there are people walking the earth — family and friends — who may remember this man before he became the demon. There are those who may remember snippets of laughter, instances of love, moments of joy, in their relationship with this one. Tonight they may feel guilt at the actions of their loved one while at the same one grieving his death. Be with this child of yours, and all those who love him. Help them experience your presence in a unique way tonight.

God, I continue to be convinced that you take the bad things of the world and redeem them. Take this situation tonight and reveal some light.

Speak O God, for we need to hear your voice.

In the name of your Son, executed by the state for sedition, and the one who overcame his sentence.

Amen

Jay, thank you so much for sharing.

UPDATE: It appears that the State of Tennessee will execute two men tonight.

God, I don't know what to make of situations like these. My heart grieves for the loss of a life made in your image and for the pain and suffering that the victims and their families have endured. I pray for your will to be done, for your redeeming grace and mercy to be manifest in all your glory. Have mercy on us for the actions that we take and for the multitude of times when we fail to act in accordance with your will.

Amen

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