In the wake of storms that have devastated communities across the Southern United States, and following yet another senseless school shooting, this time at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, our hearts are heavy. We turn to the God of peace and mercy.
For all those processing grief, loss, fear, and anger in these days, we offer these two prayers written by Tatayana Richardson. As we join in prayer together, may you remember that you are beloved and you are not alone.
God of Peace and Mercy,
This day we come seeking your solace and calming presence.
We find ourselves amid tragedy once again. We witness the reality of lives taken too soon. We contend with our inability to bring to justice to those who perpetrate senseless violence. We wail amid civic irresponsibility to protect the lives of our communities.
We come today praying your peace over families whose lives will never be the same. We pray that as they grieve and find themselves in agony, you will be with them, Lord. We pray that they know they do not walk this journey alone, but that they are enveloped in your love and in the love of the community.
We pray for those who on this day are personally reminded of the legacy of violence. We pray for those who may be reminded of their traumas and grief around mass shootings. Lord, please settle their hearts and spirits.
We pray this day for the community, Lord. We pray for the ones who have been forever changed and for the ones who have the power to make change so that this might never happen again.
On this day we shout to you, Lord, praying for reprieve from this violence. We pray that you move in the hands and hearts of law makers, of organizers, of activists, of everyday community members.
We pray that you remind us on this day of our interconnectedness that we might remember the grief of this moment is a responsibility on us all, that we might work as individuals and collectives to bring change to our nation so that no community may ever know this grief again.
We pray this day, oh Lord, that your spirit blow change upon us as we realize our transgressions of silence and carelessness. Compel us to work to change not only ourselves but also our communities, God.
We pray this in the name of God, the Creator and Sustainer.
Today we come to you with heavy hearts. In our angst, we cry out to you as a Good God who has crafted our world and keeps us in the palm of your hand. We ask the questions of “how” and “why” as we stare down the face of tragedy. We weep for our siblings and for ourselves. In the moment of this natural disaster, we are not just at a loss, but we are in the loss.
We cry out today as our communities
mourn the loss of loved ones,
mourn the loss of property,
mourn the loss of safety and security.
Steady our despair, oh Lord,
as we pray for this time between loss and restoration. May your peace and understanding wash over those in need that they might have some semblance of solace and calm in a time of agony and despair.
Steady our sense of loss, oh Lord,
as we pray that you will make yourself known and bring change where it seems impossible and human words seem lacking.
Steady our minds, oh Lord,
as we pray that you will come, not necessarily with deliverance, but offering your guiding hand and calming spirit.
Steady our hearts, oh Lord,
as we pray for a shift in the hearts and minds of those who have means to help; call them to respond beyond prayer and move into action.
Steady our spirits, oh Lord,
as we pray to be energized; deploy the hands of justice and equity that those who have been affected be not long in limbo. May they be engulfed in your holy love, and in the love and action of the Beloved community.
Shower Your steadfast love on those who need it most today, oh God.
Hear our prayer,
Tatayana Richardson is a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as the Crisis Content Intern at The Upper Room.