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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Shocked, sickened, grieved….

At the moment I’m sitting in my Caribou Coffee shop trying to collect myself. I come here most Monday mornings, and over the months have struck up friendships with several regulars. Five minutes ago Gayle, who works behind the counter walked over to me and pointed to the front page of Friday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press. I’d read the article over the weekend but the name and face hadn’t registered. “Do you recognize her?” she asked me. I paused and looked at the pictures of Pamela Taschuk and Allen Taschuk beside the headline, “Lino Lakes man kills his wife, then himself.” “She comes in here all the time, and talks and laughs with that group of retired guys who always sit around the fireplace. Can you believe it?” she said, shaking her head. Suddenly, the woman’s face looked vividly familiar to me; the tragedy hit home. “God, help her son, Gayle mumbled as she walked back to pour another cup of coffee for the next person in line.

I read the article again, this time with a sickened heart and far more focus. The report said that Pamela Taschuk had recently complained to officials that she feared her husband who had a violent history might kill her. “Allen is like the guys in the stories you (hear) where the wife leaves the husband and then he kills her,” Pamela Taschuk told police the day she filed for divorce. On Thursday last week, she stopped by the Anoka County attorney’s office to check on the legal case against her husband. Later that evening, she attended a support group for domestic-abuse victims and within two hours of arriving home was dead. The Taschuks leave behind a sixteen year old son.

I’m prompted to pray – for this grieving and confused young man, for their extended family and friends, and then for all the women suffering in similar situations. Domestic violence is epidemic. Let’s join together now and ask for the tempering peace of God to intervene – at this moment – in the thousands of individual relationships poisoned by the threats and fears of violence. Please join me in this prayer. If you know of someone personally who needs God’s saving hand, add your own words below…  

“God of peace, there are many places and many people who do not experience your peace. Right now there are many, many women and children who live under the dark weight of the fear of violence right in their own homes. We pray for your protection, and for wisdom for friends and officials to help bring that right protection to them. We pray for the many men who themselves feel powerless and confused about their relationships. We ask that you would help them find healthy ways to work out their frustrations and to find hope without resorting to destructive impulses. God, work in our country to stem this epidemic. We ask for your perfect peace…”

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