Sunday, June 21, 2015

Prayer for Charleston Violence

This is the prayer that I used today during worship as we prayed for our sisters and brothers in Charleston following the tragic shootings there last Wednesday...


"Oh Lord, violence has broken out again in our land,
Striking down clergy and laity of your church
In a city just across our state line, in a church
Which is part of our fellow Wesleyan-Methodist family,
In a house of worship called Emanuel (God with us).

We cannot imagine the grief being felt by those family members
Who knew that their loved one went to church to pray and did not return home.
We pray for all who are managing the aftermath
in hospitals, counseling sessions, homes, huddles of friends,
and in our congregations, where we face the brutal realization
that even our “sanctuaries” are no longer considered sacred or safe.

We are shocked, pained, astounded, angry at the injuries one person has caused,
And at the injury and hurt of his own soul that could allow him to act so brutally toward others of your children. We pray for him, O Lord, that he would find your peace and healing from the anger and prejudice of his heart.

But we also pray for ourselves today, for what happened last Wednesday in Charleston is still happening all over our world and to us all the time.  For if we have even spoken ill of another person because of the color of their skin, the content of their politics, the character of their religion, the nature of their sexual orientation, or any other reason then we have wounded them.  Forgive us, and give us courage and grace to confess our sin and apologize for our un-Christ-like actions and behavior.   For we know that the words once spoken by your servant Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are true which say that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

So,  Lord, break into our world with the power of your Holy Spirit.  Help us. Save us. Redeem us. Restore us. And help us be your instruments of love right here. 

Empower us to be your church -- a church of love that overcomes hate.  A church of peace that overcomes violence.  A church of forgiveness that overcomes fear.  A church who’s love and grace shocks the world and leads them to a better way.  
Work in us. And through us. May it be so.

Lord, we pray this, not knowing all the answers, and beyond seeking answers, but simply seeking you.  Jesus, as the waters of life and of our world roll and threaten to overwhelm us, let us fly to you, the healer of our souls and the only hope for our world.
We pray this to the honor and glory of your holy name -- the name above all names, and the name of ultimate peace and healing -- and the one who taught us to pray, saying [THE LORD’S PRAYER]…"

          [--Prayer by Rev. Dr. Brian Germano, compiled from a variety of sources, including a prayer by Bishop
              Michael Watson, NGA Annual Conference (6/18/15), a prayer (“Prayer Following Recent School 
             Violence”) by Taylor Burton-Edwards at, & a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.]

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