A few years ago I wrote a prayer in response to gun violence and the overwhelming number of gun related incidents that week. Sadly, the normalization of gun violence in the United States continued to escalate. The news continues to be filled with incidents of White domestic terrorism, suicide, domestic violence while many communities remain invisible to the most of the world, yet deal with the threat of gun violence each and every day.
Like other epidemics that have taken root in our society — racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. — There is much to do at all levels of our society to confront and change the ways in which we engage with one another. There are many tactics, strategies, and actions to take, but as a person of faith, I also come to God in prayer.
Below is a prayer that I have had to come back to far too often.
A Prayer in Response to Gun Violence
God, our souls ache as another shooting is lifted into our view
We know You weep with us in times of sadness, despair, and anger
so we join our spirits with Yours and come to you in prayer
As difficult as it might be, God, grant us the faith to pray for
the shooter, the killer, our enemy
— may we not repay evil with evil
As political as it may seem, God, grant us the patience to pray for
the politicians, the lobbyist, the system
— may wisdom beyond our imagination prevail
As much as it hurts our hearts to remember, God, grant us the strength to pray for
the dead, their families, their friends and their community
— may we hear their wailing in heart, body, and soul
As distant as it may feel, God give us the perspective to pray for
the shootings that do not grab headlines
individuals who suffer, grieve, and mourn in silence
communities where gun violence is always a possibility
— may we be the Body of Christ for all your children
As uncomfortable as it may be, God, grant us the courage to act
to make your voice known through our own
— may we be Your hands, feet, and bodies of peace
God, be with each of us as You see fit, giving us the the space
to know grief that is real
to express anger that is righteous
and to embody hope that we trust is in the midst of it all
In Your healing and hopeful name we pray, Amen
Please feel free to use this prayer as you may see fit for your community.