This is the prayer I offered at a memorial service of a friend who committed suicide. I offer it hoping it may give words to others who struggle with understanding why such things happen.
Our God in heaven who interacts with us as a parent,
We crave a sense that you are there and that you care. We trust in your character, we remember your past deeds of faithfulness. We believe that you hold all the answers, that nothing set against you can long endure, and that your ultimate plan for our lives is good.
We trust that your steadfast love is new every morning, and that your constant faithfulness to us will not be exhausted. We accept that if we seek we will find, if we ask it will be given to us, if we knock, the door will be opened.
But you are a God who hides yourself. Indeed at times like these we seek but we do not find, we ask and hear no answer, we knock at a door that appears to be abandoned. That is our experience. That is our sense of the reality of what is happening now. How can we trust that you are anxiously waiting to hold us once again?
Grant us peace. Give us comfort. Help us to accept what we cannot change and what you have chosen not to change. Please endow us with faith so that we can live our lives with optimism and even victory.
I pray for the brokenhearted among us. I pray for __________. I pray for his family, his parents, grandparents, brother and sister. I pray for his friends at the ____________________ church who remain stunned by his death. I pray for his friends here at ____________. I pray that you will bless each of them deeply. I thank you for the brokenhearted among us. I thank you that they love enough to care, that they love enough to hurt.
If not now, will you someday make this clear to us? May we look forward to understanding? That is our request. But more than just understanding, I pray that this pain will not be wasted, but that each of us will find a new birth of intimacy with you as we continue to seek, ask, and knock.
In Jesus’ name,
Steve Kenney has been married to Leslie his whole adult life, and they have three wonderful children, JaneAnn, Erin, and Scott, and one grandchild, Caroline. They have four cats and pleasant memories of many more. Steve earned an undergraduate degree in missions from Abilene Christian, and his graduate degrees from Pitt (J.D.) and Lipscomb (M.Div.). He and his family have rooted for the Reds, Bengals, and Buckeyes, but always root for the home team wherever they live. That means Steve has cheered the team from Dallas that shall no longer be named by him and the team from DC that shall no longer be named by anyone. He’s also cheered the Steelers despite his Bengal roots. So yes, he’s also a miracle-worker.