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, ‚ÄúHow awful!‚ÄĚ 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 
won’t, 
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 
foolishness, 
and the sheer stupidity 
of thinking 
that we can keep going the way we are 
and not incur 
your judgement. 

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, 
grant us 
the faith, the courage, the strength 
to return 
to you and your way 
and be the best we have it in us to be 
and to demand 
no less 
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 
in hope 
and heal 
this deeply divided land. 
To be people who actually believe, O Lord, 
that we and this nation are accountable to you 
and so 
we had better get about doing 
real soon 
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,
                                                                                                                                 Jeff