When Commentary Fails

Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

by David Watson


This article was due two weeks ago. I’m not usually late with writing deadlines, but after General Conference, I really didn’t know what to say. Like many people, I had conflicting emotions. I needed time to process.


After two weeks of reflection, I was ready to write. But then forty-nine people were murdered in a gay nightclub in Orlando. This isn’t the time for commentary on church politics. It is a time for prayer, self-examination, and repentance.


So as I sat down to write this morning, I wrote this prayer. If it speaks to your heart, I’d ask that you join me in it.


O God, we lift up prayers for those who are grieving. Sustain them and give them comfort. We commend to your loving embrace those who have died. Teach us how to keep such violence from ever happening again. Show us where we have gone wrong. Show us how to be righteous, compassionate, and just.

Where we don’t understand one another, please bring understanding.

Where we have been complacent in protecting the vulnerable, lead us into action.

Where our insight has failed, correct us.

Where pride has clouded our judgment, humble us.

Where anger and resentment have led us into sin, chasten us.

Guide your church, O God. Lead us into faithfulness. Show us how to minister with all people. Show us what the world you want looks like. Have mercy on your people. Don’t abandon us to our sin and ignorance, nor to tribalism and warring factions. Give us vision. Send wisdom to dwell among us.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.



Dr. David Watson

Dr. David Watson

*Rev. Dr. David Watson is Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs and an Associate Professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary. David is an ordained elder in the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church. He has worked in the local church and in a United Methodist campus ministry. He currently serves on the Miami Valley District Committee on Ordained Ministry and the West Ohio Inclusive Body of Christ Ministry Team for Persons with Disabilities.

Special Contributor to UMR

Special Contributor

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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Marcie Upchurch
Marcie Upchurch

I have read several articles since general conference, but this is the first prayer I have seen posted. Prayer should always be the first step! Thank you, and I join you in this prayer.

Kerry Wood

Thank you, God, for giving David the inspiration to express these words. May his prayer be the beginning of many prayers seeking your direction in the midst of our confusion and pain.

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