Prayers in Times of Terrorism


A prayer in the face of gun violence

Almighty God, 

I come before you,
once again,
after another shooting. 

I am sad, God. 
So I ask You 
to recieve into your loving care the souls of those who were killed, 
to care for those who were wounded or hurt in any way,
to console the family members and friends of those who died or were wounded,
to strengthen the hands of the rescue workers, medical professionals and caregivers.

I pray too for the shooter, as I must as a Christian.

All this makes me inexpressibly sad, God. But I know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.
It is the same sadness your son expressed when he wept over the death of his friend Lazarus. 

I am tired, God. 
I'm tired of the unwillingness to see this as an important issue. 
I'm tired of those in power who work to prevent any real change. 
I'm tired of those who say that gun violence can't be reduced. 

All this makes me tired. 
But I know that the tiredness I feel is your tiredness.
It's the same tiredness that Jesus felt after his own struggles
against injustice that led him to fall asleep on the boat with his disciples. 

I am angry, God. 

I am angry at the seeming powerlessness of our community to prevent this. 
I'm angry at the selfish financial interests who block change.
I'm angry that these shootings happen at all. But I know that this anger is your anger
It's the same anger Jesus felt when he overturned the tables in the Temple, 
angry that anyone would be taken advantage of in anyway.

Help me see in these emotions your own desire for change.
Help me see in these feelings your moving me to act. 
Help me see in these reactions your pushing me to do something. 

Because I know this is the way you move people to action. 
And I know that you desire action.
For Jesus did not stand by while people were being hurt. 
He plunged into their lives.

So help me to answer these questions: 
How can I help? 
How can I fight against gun violence?
How can I urge my political leaders to enact change?
How can I help people understand that this is an issue about life? 

I am sad over the loss of life,
tired of excuses for the loss of life,
and angry that we are paralyzed by the loss of life. 

So 

Turn my sadness into compassion.

Turn my tireedness into advocacy.
Turn my paralysis into the freedom to act. 

Help me
to be compasasionate
to advocate
and to act, 
as your son did,
Almighty God. 

- James Martin S.J.

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Litany of Lamentation

For those who are suffering.
For those who are injured.
For families that are separated.

For firemen, police, emergency medical workers and all public officials.
For those who serve in the armed forces.
For those who answer the call to comfort and give aid.
For those who provide support thru their prayers.

For those who are dying.
For those who died while saving the lives of others.
For those who have died from acts of terrorism [or natural disasters] around the world.
For all who lost their lives.

For those who survived.
For the children who have been orphaned.
For the men and women who have lost their spouses.
For all who mourn and those who comfort them.

For peace in our city and in our world.
For unity among faiths.
For a greater appreciation and love of all humanity.

For patience and perseverance.
For calm in the midst of fear.
For forgiveness and the grace to overcome adversity.

For generosity of spirit.
For hope in times of despair.
For light in the darkness.

Gracious and Loving God,
you are our comforter and our hope.
Hear your people's prayers as they come before you.
Strengthen us in this time of need.
Inspire us to acts of charity and generosity
and give us hope of a brighter future.
We ask this in Jesus' name.

- Joseph P. Shadle

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For Victims of Terrorism

Loving God,
Welcome into your arms the victims of violence and terrorism.
Comfort their families and all who grieve for them.
Help us in our fear and uncertainty,
And bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love.
Strengthen all those who work for peace,
And may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts.

- Author Unknown 

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A Christian Prayer for All

We pray,
O God,
for all Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Jews
whose hearts are consumed
by a zeal that has hardened them;

All
whose vision is partial,
whose mind is narrowed,
whose perceptions are simplified,
whose soul is poisoned.

And yet,
O God,
we read of Jesus that,
"zeal for your house consumed him".

His life teaches us that 
without the zeal of a burning love for you
that will endure through
the night-time of our enmities
we shall not see your kingdom come.

So we ask,
O God,
that you give us
a zeal that insists on acceptance
a commitment that endures in non-violence
and a patience that works for your coming;

And teach us to hate
only our tribalism and prejudice
which separate us
from those different to us.

We ask it in the name of the Prince of Peace,
Jesus Christ
Our Lord.

- Author Unknown

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