Prayers for the People

Lord God, the world trembles out of control. The violence builds, some by terrorists, some by greed, some by intolerance, violence on every side. We believe that you, who hovered over the chaos bringing out of it beauty, life, and order, stand in the midst of out-of-control violence as One who is steadfast, loyal, reliable. We pray specifically for freedom — freedom from persecution and discrimination, religious freedom for all people. We pray that this will be valued and respected in every country, by all political and religious groups, and by all peoples.

Lord, hear our prayer.

God, you are the source of all compassion. Bring healing and comfort to those mourning the murder of our 21 Coptic brothers. These were Christian heroes. Many of them lost their lives with Jesus’ name on their lips. They were valiant saints — but more. They were sons, fathers, brothers, husbands, friends. Hear the cries of those who mourn their loss. And Lord, welcome them as martyrs into your presence we pray.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, when we witness these atrocities, we experience the sinking sense that the world is not safe, that our lives are not free from threat, and we wonder if assault will come to our well-ordered lives. Help us not to trust the flying jets and uniformed soldiers or bombs to fix this. We confess that violence only begets more violence. Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, you instead taught us to pray for those who persecute us and for those we know as “enemies.” When you hung on the Tree, you prayed that the Father forgive those who were murdering and mocking you. We confess that we are among the guilty, we acknowledge our own complicity in the crucifixion of the Son of Love, and we repent of the ways that our actions and rhetoric have contributed to fear and hate that are not of you. As forgiven and reconciled people help us not simply to hate groups like ISIS and Boko Haram; help us hear and echo the whisper of the crucified one: “Forgive them, they know not what they are doing.” Help us pray for them and we ask you for the grace of conversion for them.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.


*prayer adapted from a prayer written by Ed Gungor for Sanctuary Church in Tulsa, OK.


(Patrick Craig is a graduate student at Duke University Divinity School)


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