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Churches Urged to Pray, Avoid 'Evil' Message on Sunday

It's the first Sunday since the nation witnessed the worst shooting rampage in U.S. history and some churches will be without a member whose life was lost at Virginia Tech.
( [email protected] ) Apr 22, 2007 01:27 PM EDT

It's the first Sunday since the nation witnessed the worst shooting rampage in U.S. history and some churches will be without a member whose life was lost at Virginia Tech. In continued support, churches across the states are being called to pray this Sunday.

"I'm asking that this Sunday churches all across the United States pause and pray for the families of these victims, the student body, the faculty, the administration, and the state police," said evangelist Franklin Graham in a released statement.

"There is so much pain. They need our prayers."

Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Rapid Response Team has been on the Blacksburg campus offering comfort and prayers since Monday's shooting which took 33 lives, including the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho.

As memorial services begin for the lost lives, most of whom were young students, sympathy is also rising for Cho's family who made a public statement on Friday, offering their own prayers for those affected.

"Our family is so very sorry for my brother's unspeakable actions," said a statement written by his sister, Sun-Kyung Cho, to The Associated Press. "It is a terrible tragedy for all of us."

The massacre and the self-taped videos of the gunman have shocked the family as much as it has the nation and the world.

"We are humbled by this darkness," the sister, a Princeton University graduate, added. "We feel hopeless, helpless and lost."

She also said her family would cooperate fully as investigators press ahead with their search for the motives of the gunman, who has been described as quiet since childhood and a "loner" at school.

As the nation meets its first Sunday since the tragedy, Lane Palmer, a youth ministries specialist at Dare 2 Share, says this Sunday may be like a national memorial service. He believes the vast majority of pastors will in some way address "this unthinkable event."

While there are no easy answers to how to tackle the sensitive situation in a sermon, Palmer suggests pastors to avoid the "problem of evil" message and highlight that God does His biggest miracles in the aftermath of the worst devastation.

In the midst of a period when people will be thinking through the issues of life that matter most, Palmer suggests pastors use this time to share the hope of life - the eternal life for those who trust in Christ for salvation.

The BGEA also encourages believers to pray that those who are seeking answers will see the truth of the Gospel and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.