A prayer for a painful anniversary
‘A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.’ (Psalm 90:4, NIV)
‘There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV)
‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8, NIV)
‘Weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5, NIV)
For many of us, anniversaries of painful events can evoke strong memories and emotions. Whether it is the anniversary of a bereavement, a breakup, a personal loss, or the anniversary of a national or international event. On these days, we can find ourselves reliving the pain all over again, becoming aware of how much or how little has changed in the world around us and in our own hearts.
Everyone experiences these days differently, so it is important to invite God into the process with you, allowing Him to guard your emotions, and pour His comfort into you. Spend some time prayerfully thinking about these questions, and asking the Holy Spirit to be close to you as you walk through this day.
- As I look back to the event that is marked by this day, how do I feel now compared to then? Where have I experienced healing, and where is there healing still to be sought?
- What can I celebrate from this past season? How has Jesus shown himself to be faithful to me through the trials? How has he helped me become more like him?
- What season am I in right now? What season does God want me to step into? Is now still a season for mourning, or to resurface into joy? A time to uproot old things, or plant new ones? To be quiet and ponder, or to speak up? To mend, rebuild, or embrace new things?
- Is my greatest temptation to dwell too long in sorrow, and not walk into a new day? Or to rush too quickly, and not process my emotions fully?
Alpha and Omega,
The First and the Last.
As I enter this day –
A day laden with memories and emotions,
Many painful –
I take comfort that the God who meets me here,
On this day of all days,
I delight in the knowledge,
That you are gloriously predictable;
You do not experience time
As I experience time.
You made it,
You order it,
You shape it,
But it does not shake you,
As it shakes me.
Would you help me today,
To resist the twin temptations
To sprint or stagnate;
To move at a pace I’m not ready for,
Keeping up with the expectations of others,
Or to stand still,
And to grind to a halt.
Instead, I resolve to walk
In step with your Spirit,
At the pace you set for me,
Knowing that you will neither push me
Beyond what I can bear,
Nor keep me from walking into
And a new season of hope.
If today is a painful day for you, you do not have to bear that alone. God has given us to one another, that we may mourn together, and bear one another’s burdens (Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2.)
Today, why not do one of the following:
- Reach out to a trusted friend, tell them how and why today is a painful day for you. Ask them to pray for you or with you, and check in throughout the day.
- Think what would help you most today. If it’s solitude, then ask friends and family for space today. If it’s company, then choose to be around people who will replenish you.
- If there are others who will be struggling for similar reasons today, reach out to them, and let them know you are thinking and praying for them. Even in your own pain, you may be a help to others, and sometimes it is in the act of helping others that we receive fresh strength from Jesus himself.