EDITOR’S NOTE: The following news report was first published by the staff of The Texan, news journal for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

UVALDE, Texas (BP) — The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) has dispatched ministers to South Texas to minister to the community and assist with relief in the wake of an elementary school shooting earlier Tuesday.

At the time of this report, the Associated Press is reporting that 18 school children and three adults were killed at Robb Elementary School. Uvalde is a town of roughly 16,000 residents located about 85 miles west of San Antonio.

“Please stop and pray for those in Uvalde, Texas,” SBTC Executive Director Nathan Lorick tweeted Tuesday evening. “We have been in touch with SBTC pastors on the ground. This is tragic and this community needs our prayers.”

“My heart is broken today,” said Uvalde Superintendent Hal Harrell. “We’re a small community and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.” Harrell told the AP that all school activities have been canceled until further notice.

Though details are sketchy as the investigation into the tragedy gets underway, SBTC Associate Executive Director Tony Wolfe offered three ways to pray in the aftermath of the shooting:

  1. Pray that the God of all comfort will heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds. The tragedy is unspeakable. The pain is unbearable. God, have mercy.
  2. Pray for emotional and physical endurance for first responders and crisis volunteers on the ground. May their hands be steady, their minds sharp, and their hearts soft.
  3. Pray for heavenly wisdom among local, state, and national policy makers. This tragedy should be unheard of; instead, it is has become all too common. We must do better for our children. God, help us do better for our children.