Following is a prayer I prayed during the worship service on August 11. I wrote in the aftermath of the mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. It was suggested that I use it as my Scribe article this month and I thought that perhaps that would be a good idea given all we are going through.
A Prayer for Our Nation
O Lord, we pray for our nation,
that there be an end
to the violence born of hatred,
the hatred that spews forth
on the airwaves, on social media, from
the mouths of many.
And so, before all else, move us to repent,
to turn back to you,
for surely we have turned away from you
in so many ways,
and have given free rein to
the evil of hatred,
and have allowed fear to rule and drive us.
Forgive us, O Lord!
Forgive us if, when we hear of another shooting,
we just shrug our shoulders,
maybe say, “How awful!” or
mutter a prayer,
but then quickly bury ourselves again in
whatever we bury ourselves in,
because we believe there’s nothing we can do
and that those who can do something
because they believe
that votes matter more than victims.
Forgive us for glorifying violence
and find it exciting and entertaining
to the point
where death is no longer real.
Forgive us for denying the prejudice
that resides still in each of us and in
every last person in this nation,
for ignoring the venom
we hear day after day,
for thinking that words don’t matter.
Forgive us for accepting the worst
as the best
we and others are capable of
and remaining silent
when the worst is done
and is even celebrated.
Forgive us our breath-taking faithlessness and
and the sheer stupidity
that we can keep going the way we are
and not incur
O Lord, for the sake of every innocent victim,
for the sake of the children,
and the children yet to come,
for the sake of our nation,
the faith, the courage, the strength
to you and your way
and be the best we have it in us to be
and to demand
from every man and woman who holds office.
To be people who speak out against violence,
counter hate at every turn,
show compassion to the least,
act with grace and mercy and kindness,
work for justice,
and name the evil so near to each of us,
the evil of words and actions
intentionally meant to degrade and destroy
another human being,
and stand against it.
To be people who refuse to let fear rule them,
people who are ruled by your love,
and who seek to build up one another
this deeply divided land.
To be people who actually believe, O Lord,
that we and this nation are accountable to you
we had better get about doing
what you are calling us to be and do,
before you conclude
that we as individuals would prefer not being your people
and as a nation prefer not to be guided by you
but much prefer to continue
careening down the self-destructive path we are.
O Lord, let there be an end
to the violence born of hate
before it brings an end to us and this nation.
God be with you,