Earlier today I participated in a powerful service. It was a prayer vigil, the theme of which was 'We Have Not Forgotten'. Hosted by Northaven United Methodist Church and its wonderful pastor Eric Folkerth, it was an interfaith service in which faith leaders from across Dallas came together to pray for our country in light of the gun violence of which we've all become so acutely aware since Newtown.
I've had a number of requests for the printed text of the prayer I offered, so I thought I'd post it here for easy access. Thanks to Eric for the invitation to be a part of such a moving worship experience!
Let us pray for our country!
We come in deep adoration of your Majesty and Awesome Power.
We come in Wonder of your Splendor and Glory.
We come Dear Father, in the awareness of your complete Sovereignty and your Creative Genius.
We come confessing Lord that all too often, we, your people, have been embarrassingly silent in the face of gross hypocrisy, crass reasoning, and insensitivity to one another’s suffering and indifferent to our obligation to make a difference in our world.
We have allowed the noise of irrational people to drown out our voices as we give out faint echoes for love, justice, non-violence and compassion in our country.
Lord, because some of the most irrational and insensitive voices are our coworkers, our neighbors, our relatives and friends; we have chosen their acceptance over our obligation to proclaim what is right and what Honors you. We have allowed them to intimidate us into silence and in hushed tones; we have spoken meekly about Your Will and timidly declared Your Word.
We fail to educate our children, consigning them to lives of poverty, and then we blame them for growing up frustrated and angry.
We call the exploitation of the poor ‘commerce’ and protect the perpetrators of exploitation as though they were victims.
Lord we have reached a point where we are declaring our right to own killing machines is more important than the demand for any civilized society to protect its young, it’s vulnerable and it’s innocent.
Lord, we have decided to take more and more money out of mental health care, and then claim that the mass gun violence is not caused by the proliferation of killing machines, but the mentally ill.
Lord, we are substituting real relationships with social media and forms of entertainment and recreation that separate us from one another and reinforce our loneliness and isolation. And then we claim that isolation, social media, entertainment and recreation are more to blame for mass murder and violence than killing machines.
Lord, we have seen violence associated with killing machines cut down our greatest politicians, statesmen and women, our youth and our children, and still we have no appetite for peace.
We have seen what these killing machines have done to our soldiers in battle and what using them has done to their psyche, yet we as civilians brag about and spend millions of dollars to protect our rights to own them.
We thank you Father, that You for your ability to make all things right. We thank You for Your Love and Mercy and Grace. Thank You for infusing some of us with the courage to say ‘This is not right!’ Thank You Lord for giving some of us the faith that we can correct the problems that we have ourselves created.
This week Lord, as our politicians deliberate laws that will help restore some sense life’s desire for Peace, that you will let them reflect the hearts of right thinking Americans everywhere. Break the hardest of hearts that would prioritize our ‘rights’ to own instruments of violence, over our responsibility to protect our children, our neighbors, their parents and our fellow citizens.
Speed up the day, our God, when neighbor shall no longer lift up sword against neighbor; when we beat our swords into plowshares, our spears into pruning hooks and our killing machines into relics of a less sane time. Speed up the time when we study violence no more.
This is our prayer, a privilege You have Authorized. We pray it in your Name and for the sake of You’re creation.