Note concerning today's passage and prayer: The estrangement between David and Absalom was initially David's fault. In his weakness, he did not punish Amnon for his crime of rape, which he had a moral responsibility to do as the king. Absalom then sinned by taking justice into his own hands by killing Amnon, a crime once again that David does not punish. David never confesses his sins of injustice, nor does Absalom confess his sin of revenge. Thus their reconciliation was shallow and ultimately short-lived. Sovereign Lord, I thank you, that as the woman in this story says, you are a God who does not take away life. I thank you that in Christ you have devised a way so that we, who have been banished from your presence by our sin, may not remain estranged from you. I thank you that you have completely reconciled us to you. We bow before you in honor and worship. I pray for myself and for ______________________ , that we will act in every situation with integrity and courage and righteousness. May we have the strength to confront sin, even when it involves someone close to us. We see here that our weakness in the face of sin can create a vacuum that generates temptations for others. I pray for any of us who are estranged from someone we love and care about. I pray that you would cause our spirit to long for reconciliation, as David longed to go to Absalom. If we bear some responsibility for the estrangement, I pray that you will show that to us. We choose to take responsibility for our part and to seek to make things right. I pray also that you will protect us from reconciliations that are shallow and ultimately meaningless. Give us wisdom to recognize when repentance on our part or on the part of others must precede any genuine reconciliation. May we act in integrity and honesty and settle for nothing less than true peace. We pray that you will restrain the spirit of vengeance in our land, and that you will quicken our system of justice so that violent sexual sin is punished to the full so that we will not be inclined to take justice into our own hands. Lord, I do pray that you will release a spirit of reconciliation among us and release that same spirit into our community and nation. There is far too much estrangement and distance and separation in relationships in your body and in our culture. May we lead the way for our city and nation in providing examples of authentic reconciliation. In the name of Jesus, who is our peace, we pray. Amen.