I pray for domestic violence to end. I pray for homes that are loving and safe for all women and for relationships between men and women that are loving and healthy where power is shared and control is only of your self and your own behaviour. I pray for emotional and physical healing for those of us who have suffered violence at the hands of men closest to us. I pray that we might be able to lift our heads and know love again. And as I pray I am forced to think, challenged to change, made to consider and realise my inadequacy.
When I pray I hope I’m in touch with what God feels about women who suffer domestic violence. His love for us and the anger and grief over what has been done to us. It gives me a heart of love for sufferers and survivors of domestic violence. It forces me to face the pain of domestic violence and makes me aware of my own feelings of extreme sadness and indignant anger at the lives shattered, relationships destroyed and the many deaths as a result of domestic violence. I have to face my feelings and I give them to God because otherwise they would drive me to despair.
I am also challenged about my attitudes and thoughts about men, generally. When I think of friends who have suffered violence at the hands of men who know them I am tempted to tarnish all men with the same brush but praying challenges me about that attitude. I am reminded that Jesus was a man who was not violent towards women in fact the opposite he was loving towards all the women he met. I need to remember the good men in my life who are supportive and loving towards me. And I ask myself the question do I encourage them to be better men?
In prayer as I look towards God, I come face to face with my own imperfections, my own character and my own behaviour towards others. Am I loving or do I hurt those around me?
Prayer forces me to consider the one person I want to avoid focusing on, the perpetrator. It forced me to consider him as a human being as a person made in God’s image. I have to consider him and his behaviour and face its evil and again give my feelings to God or be bitter, angry and depressed by these thoughts. Do I believe prayer will change the minds, hearts and behaviours of perpetrators? I think if God can’t then who can?
I start to question where is God when a husband, father, brother, partner decides to be violent towards a woman in the place that should be safe, where is God and why doesn’t he stop it? Why doesn’t he grab the man by the scruff of his neck and throw him out of the situation?
Prayer for me is honest communication with an awesome God
Its is not an excuse to do nothing but says we have a part to play. Brings God into a situation that seems impossible. Crying out to God changes me and gives me hope. And helps me to believe its possible to end domestic violence because I believe in heaven. I believe in heaven as a place with no pain, no violence and no broken relationships and I believe that heaven can come to earth through those of us who are lights, those of us who reflect God in our attempts to love and to end domestic violence here on earth. Prayer is bringing things to God that I don’t understand and says I can’t prevent domestic violence on my own without him. It says I need God to come and breakthrough in a situation that seems so evil that the light of goodness feels threatened. It says help God we need you!!! Prayer changes me and challenges me and through me changes the situation of domestic violence.
During this season of Advent I am reminded of heaven coming to earth through Jesus who for me is the bringer of light and hope to earth. I am thankful for Jesus and I am thankful that he has and can bring peace and love to homes where there has been fear and violence. We need His light, we need His peace, we need His love in every home!!! O Lord, come!!!