Why Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren Is Asking for Your Prayers This Sunday

Rick Warren is asking for prayers as his family remembers his son, who committed suicide two years ago Sunday.
Rick Warren is asking for prayers as his family remembers his son, who committed suicide two years ago Sunday. (RNS/Adelle M. Banks)

Rick Warren is asking for your prayers this Easter as he and his family remember his son, who killed himself two years ago Sunday. 

In a message to his staff, Warren opened up about why he called the week before April 5, 2013, "The Battle for Hope."

"On this Easter week two years ago, my son Matthew ended his life, and his 27 year battle with mental illness," he writes. "That day, April 5th, coming 5 days after Easter, was the worst day of my life. I called that week 'The Battle For Hope' because each day that week we launched a different hope initiative, and then on Friday Matthew died."

The fact that Easter is the anniversary of Matthew's death is a hard one for Warren. While he normally would rather cherish the family he still has, his calling asks more of him, to put aside himself and focus on the gospel.

"Of course, I WILL celebrate Easter, because the Resurrection IS that unmovable hope, that steadfast reality, that soothes and comforts the loss in my heart," he writes. "I'd just rather, if it was up to me, celebrate that hope quietly and privately, rather (than) smile for a hundred selfies with visitors on the patio, or preach multiple services continuously for 4 days starting on Thursday."

To make it through, he needs your prayers. 

Here's the specifics: "Pray that out of my family's pain, Jesus Christ will be honored. Pray that the Holy Spirit will tell me what to say. And pray that He will then give me the strength to say it over and over and over with winsome passion."

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