Sad, Tired and Angry: A Prayer in the Face of Gun Violence
I come before you,
after another shooting.
I am sad, God.
So I ask you
to receive 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 know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.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’m 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 any way.
Help me see in these feelings as the way that you move me to act.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.
Turn my sadness into compassion. Turn my tiredness into advocacy.So
Turn my sadness into compassion.
Turn my tiredness into advocacy.
Turn my paralysis into the freedom to act.
to be compassionate,
and to act,
as your son did,
James Martin S.J.
A Prayer to End Gun Violence
Merciful Lord, we come to you heavy hearted, for we have heard the cries of the slain calling to us from the ground. We come remembering all the lives lost to the weapons of war that have flooded our communities. We come reminded of the many bodies locked in jails and prisons all across this country. And we ask for your mercy.
Although we find ourselves in a broken world – a world in which hurting people hurt other people, it is no mystery that you are a God capable of healing our world through justice and fairness. Your own revelation has shown us that you stand firmly with those people whose backs are against the wall. Your own life demonstrates how you came from heaven to earth to redeem creation, our communities and our own lives. So we ask for this same redemptive power to be unleashed among us as it was on the day of Pentecost. May we be empowered by your Spirit to reverse the conditions that produce young men and women who are driven to resort to violence and destructive behavior in their fight to stay alive and struggle to remain free.
We know that you have no pleasure in the death of anyone, so we boldly come to the throne of grace today dear Lord, seeking your wisdom as we create strategies that provide pathways and lifelines to hope and healing. Help us to remember we are all your children, created in your image, and we are connected by a single garment of mutuality and destiny. Cause us to never forget how our needs are the same and our calling to address these needs are the same. Reveal to us Lord, that the pain felt in Newtown is the same pain felt in Chicago. The tears shed in Oak Creek are the same tears shed in Oakland. The lives lost in Tucson are the same lives lost in Camden. The children being buried in Aurora are the same children being buried in Detroit.
We cry out to you, heal our souls from this scourge of violence. Endow us with the courage to step down from the pulpits and out from behind our desks to seek the peace of the city. In the coming days and weeks as our leaders debate solutions, Lord we ask that you grant us the voice to speak truth power and demonstrate sacrificial compassion to the hurting.
Teach us your ways, O God. Bless us with the wisdom and strength to put down our swords and be peacemakers. Use us, work through us and, if necessary, work in spite of us to mend our nation’s brokenness.
We thank you for your protecting embrace and unfailing love.
All of these requests we bring to you, in the name of Jesus the Christ we pray.
People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO)
Gracious Lord who loves us so perfectly, help us to better love you and each other. We weep for the gun violence that kills children and so many others, where guns replaced prayers and homes without you bred frustration. May hearts be changed through your Holy Spirit that justice, mercy, money and, yes, even guns might be used rightly under Heaven, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Episcopal Diocese of Newark
Christ, you wept over a city. We are in deepest despair. As we weep over the dead and injured killed by guns, in anguish, we recognize the blood stains of hatred. We hear the sounds of fear, the echoes of gunshots — once again, once again.
Christ, you came to bring us peace. We turn to you in overwhelming sorrow. How can we end this nightmare of violence? How can we build a world of inclusion, of solidarity? Give us the grace to reflect deeply and to work ceaselessly to heal the hearts; to stop the guns; to cherish all God’s children.
Christ, you endured violent suffering to bring us light. We pray for the dead, may they rest in peace. We pray for the wounded, may they find healing. We pray for our nation, may we end the hate. We pray for our global family, may we learn we are one.
Education for Justice
A Prayer for Peace After Gun Violence
“Thus says Yahweh: a voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and bitter weeping. Rachel, weeping for her children, refuses to be comforted, for her children are no more.”
God, comforter of the broken and disheartened, We come to you plagued with an agonized grief after yet one more outbreak of senseless gun violence.
We come to you, from the East to the West, from the North to the South, people of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life.
We represent one voice, the voice of bitter weeping echoing throughout our cities and resounding in communities throughout the world.
As violence abounds, we sit in the darkness, sitting alongside the suffering on the mourner’s bench.
We are Rachel, mourning with wordless sobs, the lives of those sacrificed on the altar of violence.
We are Rachel, weeping for the wounded,for those whose minds and bodies are etched with painful memories of men’s unjustifiable rage.
We are Rachel, lamenting with the families who have lost loved ones whose cries of despair join with those from tragedies of gun violence.
We are Rachel, perplexed with troubled souls, and searching for answers, seeking to understand what would cause humans to inflict pain on their fellow sisters and brothers.
We are Rachel, exasperated, grasping—crying out, “How long, O God?” How long will this wave of violence consume your people?
Education for Justice
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