Prayer is a highly contested topic when school shooting tragedies occur.

The functionality of prayer is perhaps only second to actual gun control discussion. Tweets go back and forth between the left and the right stating ideas like “prayer doesn’t solve anything” or how prayer is exactly what these situations require.

Christians are not told to judge those in the world by Christian standards.

Therefore, we should not be manipulating anyone into prayer. Why then do those who are not religious feel the need to be intolerant toward those who do pray? The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 16-18, “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” While this does not literally mean that we have to be continually praying every second of the day, it deals with the condition of our hearts. Modern Americans view prayer as something to do when the going gets tough. Although this breeds an air of inauthenticity, it is not to be disregarded. Consistent prayer warriors should be overwhelmingly joyful as more join their ranks, even for a short battle.

The same people who don’t view prayer as useful to solving worldly problems also don’t view God as the One in control. They attempt to diminish His power by trying to silence us.

As we continue to pray for the victims, their families, and the world, we must not forget another soul: the offender.

C.S. Lewis penned, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Acts of violent shooters like the one in Florida on Tuesday are clearly inexcusable. However, scripture also tells us in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot pretend that God’s mercy and forgiveness don’t extend to even the most violent offenders as much as they do to us. Remember that God is in control. The best way to stay up to date on His plan is by talking to him.

To quote Pastor Johnny Hunt, “what seems over your head is always under His feet.”