for Those Affected by Physical, Sexual, Political or Emotional Violence
God of all creation, in the beginning you created us, male and female, in your own image. You breathed into us the breath of life so that we may know love for you and for our families, friends and neighbors. You put the whole world into our care. You entrusted us with generations after generation of new life so that your creation would continue to grow in your knowledge and love. You gave us the gift of intimacy for one another. In it, we experience power and vulnerability, joy and contentment. And you gave us free will that we may develop more fully in your image. But there are some who turned your gifts into weapons of fear and harm and so tonight we bring to you all who have been affected by physical, sexual, political or emotional violence.
By The Rev. Patricia Sandra Horton, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
We pray for those who have died violently because of hatred, mistrust or wanton destruction:
Heal the violence that may also have battered our souls.
We pray for those who have suffered abuse, injury or death for reasons of prejudice and fear:
Open our hearts that we may find joy in our diversity.
We pray for the children whose innocence and trust has been shattered by sexual predators:
Give them strength and courage to face the days ahead.
We pray for all who have been victims of sexual violence:
Heal their shame.
We pray for those whose outstretched hands have experienced only bruises and broken bones:
Help us to hold them with hands of love and tenderness.
We pray for those whose self-inflicted wounds are the only way they know to cry for help, and for those who do not hear their cries:
Send them messengers of your grace and love.
We pray for those who are assaulted by words that cut deeper than could any knife:
Heal them and make them whole.
We pray for those whose lives are lived in fear and dreaded expectation of the next attack upon them:
Wrap them in your arms of compassion.
We pray for those who have sought love only to find hatred in return:
May they come to know your unconditional love.
We pray for those who are too angry or too hurt to give voice to their own prayers:
Bless their anger against you and hear the pain in their heart.
We pray for those who are neglected, abandoned or hungry:
May they find a safe refuge and someone who will love them.
We pray for the men and women, both young and old, and in between, who may never again know your gift of intimacy because of the violence they have suffered:
Help them to learn to trust again.
We pray for the families and friends of those who have been victimized for we know they, too, bear some of the hurt, rage and anger:
Unite them in love that their bonding may become a source of strength.
We pray for ourselves that we may be aware of the violence within our selves and within the culture we live:
Help us to return to your path of love.
Most blessed God,
whose will it is for us to live a life free of violence:
We have brought before you this night those who have suffered through the actions of others; those who bear on their bodies and in their bodies the scars of anger and the wounds of hate.
Be with them in your compassion and strengthen them in your love.
Heal the wounds that aff1ict them and the fears that hold them captive.
Be with those who have died violently as a result of terrorism, and with their families who grieve their death.
Strengthen, too, all families and friends who care for victims that through their love and support your healing grace may be made manifest.
We pray your blessing upon us who are gathered here and upon all victims of violence and abuse, especially those whom we have named and remembered this night.