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‘Please Pray’: Invocations Take Center Stage as Nation Mourns Horrific Tragedy in Waukesha

Toppled chairs are seen among holiday decorations in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade injuring dozens of people Sunday, Nov 21. 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Tears, shock, and pain abound as officials continue to piece together the tragic events that unfolded in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday evening, when a vehicle struck a Christmas parade, killing at least five and injuring more than 40 others.

In the midst of uncertainty, prayer is taking center stage as people process the devastating occurrence and officials urge caution in not jumping to definitive conclusions.

Attendees and witnesses have expressed the shock and horror they witnessed as a red SUV plowed through the beloved, annual Christmas event, striking both adults and children. A “person of interest” is in police custody.

Waukesha school board member Corey Montiho, who was on site when the tragedy unfolded, offered a heart-breaking account to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“There were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter. My wife and two daughters were almost hit,” he said. “Please pray for everybody. Please pray. My family is safe but many are not. I held one little girl’s head in my hand, she was seizing and she was bleeding out of her ears. I held her mother as she collapsed. Please pray.”

It is that theme of prayer — a hope in the midst of the unimaginable — that has permeated much of the response.

In a tweet from the City of Waukesha sent early Monday morning, officials said the situation is “fluid” — and urged the community to come together and pray.

“The scene is still fluid, and the investigation is ongoing. The community mourns the loss of our community members and those injured,” the tweet read. “We are asking for the community to come together during this time and to keep the families in your prayers.”

Gov. Tony Evers mirrored this sentiment, writing that he, too, is praying for Waukesha:

Other officials also asked the public to offer invocations for those involved. Those tweeting this sentiment included: Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Milwaukee County Executive David C. Crowley:

Prominent faith leaders like Jentezen Franklin and Franklin Graham also mobilized social audiences to pray for the victims of this horrific tragedy.

Franklin reminded his followers to offer invocations for first responders and healthcare workers, among others:

Here are some of the other prayerful reminders offered since news broke of the Waukesha incident:

Please continue to come together and pray for the individuals, families and first responders coping with this horrific tragedy.

Pray for peace, for answers, for appropriate justice and for God’s hand on the many lives who will need guidance and hope in the coming days, weeks and months.

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What is prayer? Does God hear me if I pray? Your important questions about prayer are addressed here.

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