Prayer for Mass Violence

Lord, we are bewildered.
More violence? Another mess of blood and debris on the screen?
We haven’t yet recovered from the last.

 

Some of us are paralyzed with fear.
We hear about bombs and guns and death, and our throats close up in terror.
We fear for our own lives, for the lives of our children and our children’s children.
We don’t know what has happened to the world we thought we knew.

We who fear confess our fear and ask for your forgiveness.
Fill us with your love, for your perfect love casts out fear.
You are with us. Your rod and your staff—they comfort us.

And we pray for the people whose lives are truly endangered,
who have more cause to fear.
Would you make safe havens for them?
Would you lead them out of the valley of the shadow of death
and into places of light and life?

 

Some of us are incensed with hatred.
The wars and rumors of war incite us to start our own.
Our instinct is to be overcome by evil, to take vengeance into our own hands.

We who hate confess our hate and ask for your forgiveness.
Warm our hearts with compassion and help us pursue peace.
Grant us your wisdom as we seek your kingdom
by turning our cheek and walking another mile.

And we pray for the people whose hatred has led to death.
As you did with the apostle Paul, would you encounter them on the road?
Would you, with your very presence,
transform threats and murder into lives lived for you?

 

Some of us just feel numb.
The rising death tolls spin past our eyes, but our hearts no longer read them.
Years of images of violence have dulled our senses.
Another incident? We don’t even flinch anymore.

We who are numb confess our numbness and ask for your forgiveness.
Sharpen our senses. Cause us to care,
even if that means feeling the pain of heartbreaking sadness.
Teach us empathy. Help us weep with those who weep.

And we pray for the people who weep.
Would you be their consolation?
You know the pain of betrayal, of abandonment, of death.
Would you heal wounds of all kinds?
Would you also—someday—give them cause to laugh?
On that day, we will laugh with those who laugh.

 

Lord of all, gather us up—your creatures, your world—
and bring an end to the violence.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Amen.

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