Mourning that Leads to Prayer (Genesis 23:1–2) - Radical

Mourning that Leads to Prayer (Genesis 23:1–2)

“Sarah lived 127 years. These were the years of the life of Sarah and Sarah died at Kiryat Arba, that is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.”
– Genesis 23:1–2

I read this verse today as I think about this global pandemic we’ve been in for almost a year now and really looking back to around a year ago when we started hearing reports of people dying of what has become known as COVID. And since that time, how many people have lost their lives just in the United States where I live and around the world, so many people who we love. I think about people in the church family I’m a part of who are seeing husbands, wives, parents, children lose their lives and they’re mourning over them. And I just want to lead us to pray for God’s mercy in the middle of mourning for so many people.

Mourning that Leads to God

During the hardships of the coronavirus, we remember the mourning of Abraham which led him to seek God.

Unless a miracle happens today, that more people will lose their lives today and tomorrow, for us to pray together for an end to this pandemic, for relief from the effects of COVID. So would you join me in praying? I don’t know how close this hits to home for you. Maybe it hits very close to home, that someone you’re very close to has lost their lives or maybe you don’t know many people who have. Regardless, for us to mourn together and think about what the Bible teaches about the church. When one part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts. That’s true in the church and all the more so when we think even beyond the church of people who don’t know the hope of Jesus, who are walking through the grief of death.

So let’s pray. God, we praise you as the author of life. Even as we read Genesis 23:1–2, we hear about Sarah living in 127 years. These were the years of the life of Sarah. God, we praise you for the life you have given to us and to all these people who have lost their lives over the last year due to this pandemic. God, we praise you for the life you gave, for your breath in them and for the blessing of their lives in so many different ways as we think about individual people.

Genesis 23:1–2 Thanks God for His Gift of Life

So God, we thank you, thank you, thank you for their lives and for the reasons we have to mourn because we miss the life that you had given to them. We praise you for them, for your grace in them especially as we think about our brothers and sisters in Christ. God, we praise you for your salvation of them, for the eternal life you gave them starting in their years on this earth and continuing even now.

And so God, we pray for your mercy amidst mourning in this world. God, for your mercy all across the world. Oh God, we pray, we plead for an end to this pandemic. God, please, please, please bring swift end to it. We pray for your wisdom for doctors, researchers, nurses, all kinds of frontline workers, for your strength in them, for your help of them, for wisdom for all of us when it comes to things like vaccine. God, we pray for an end to this pandemic. We pray for an end to this global mourning due to COVID. Knowing, O God, that all of us, our lives, our times are in your hands. That none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. And so we pray you’d help us to live and make the most of today.

Urgency in Sharing the Gospel

God help us especially as your people to live with the urgency of eternity. God, we pray that you’d help us to share the gospel continually, frequently, fervently, passionately, boldly, compassionately with people around us today. That in the midst of a global pandemic with so many people dying, God, we pray that the good news of your love and eternal life through faith in Jesus would spread through us.

God, don’t let us be silent with the gospel in any day, especially during these days. God, help us to be active in sharing the gospel, the good news that we don’t have to grieve without hope, that we can grieve with a hope because Jesus has died on the cross for our sins and he’s risen from the dead. He’s conquered the grave and all who trust in him can have eternal life with you, that death can be gain.

Genesis 23:1–2 Thanks God for the Hope in Him Through Mourning

God, we praise you for those who’ve experienced death as gain over this last year because of faith in you. We pray that more and more and more people would trust in Jesus in this way and that you would use our lives toward that end. God, help us to be active in sharing our faith and sharing the gospel that people might know the hope that’s found in you in a time of global pandemic. God, we praise you that we can mourn with hope because of your love and your grace toward us in Jesus. So I pray for that hope over all who are mourning with trust in you. God, I pray for those who don’t know this hope that they would find this hope in you and that you would use our lives to bring it to them. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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