Responding to violence & massacre — several prayers

Words from around the world…

What words can be uttered when our thoughts and imaginations are shattered?

What words do we say aloud when we gather to worship?

What words bring sense to violent senselessness?

Perhaps the silence between the words will offer the needed time for sighs and tears.

These prayers were originally written in response to public massacres in Christchurch New Zealand, London UK, Syria and Charlottesville USA.

They may be adapted to respond in lamentation to the too frequent situations of horror and senseless loss of life in our world.

Scroll down to read the prayers:

  • United Church of Christ USA – Holy One, called by many names…
  • Michaela Youngson, Methodist Church in Great Britain – God of peace…
  • Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson – For parents whose children will never return…
  • Terri Hord Owens – Our hearts break… & Broken, darkness descends…

From the United Church of Christ USA:

Holy One, called by many names, our hearts are once again touched and broken by events in our communities. You created us from love and call us to love you and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Once again we find ourselves facing the reality that fear is among us instead of love.

We pray for the families and friends of those murdered and injured in [Christchurch, New Zealand] today. We pray for Muslim communities globally and extend love, peace and comfort in the midst of yet another tragic moment. We pray for healing for the injured and for lives that are torn apart today. We stand boldly as Christians believing that the love that comes from you is greater than the fear that destroys lives and communities.

From the Methodist Church in Great Britain

God of peace
We pray for those caught up in the events in [New Zealand], for those killed and wounded, and for those who will mourn.
We pray for the people of the emergency services as they respond, and for community leaders and faith leaders as they work to heal broken communities.
Soften the hearts of those who are motivated by hate and bring peace to your precious people of [New Zealand].

Michaela Youngson, President of the Methodist Church in Great Britain</p>

Words of a prayer by Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson following a bombing in London might prove helpful…

Today we pray …

For parents whose children will never return,
For children, youth and young adults whose safe world has been shattered…

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From Terri Hord Owens... We can be inspired by words adapted from a prayer written by Revd Terri Hord Owens, USA, originally forged in response to peaceful demonstrations and violent response in Charlottesville, North Carolina USA.

God of Love,
our hearts break at the violence in our world,
the loss of life,
the dishonouring of children of God…,
We pray for the families of those who have died
and all the wounded.

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Words responding to bombings in Syria may echo our groanings today.

Darkness descends
How did it come to this?
God groans
The world whimpers.

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