Enough with Our Thoughts and Prayers!

This is a re-publication of a prayer I prayed in October 2017, following the Las Vegas massacre in which 59 people were killed and over 800 injured.

Enough with our thoughts and prayers, O God.
Our thoughts are clouded by arrogance
and our prayers are tainted by hypocrisy.

We’re lost, Lord. We are a violent people.
We have chosen to be led by violent leaders.
And we live in a land that is wracked by violence.
We profess love for all.
But grandparents are shot dead in the grocery store
simply because of their race.
Bombs are sent to former Presidents
because of their political party.
People are mowed down in their house of worship
because of their religion.
Indeed, we are a people
lost in the violence of our own ignorance.

Because we have intentionally
established a rigid system of laws
that defends weaponry as a right and life as but a privilege,
we say we can change nothing.
And so give us a new heart and a new will—
a heart that chooses life over death,
and a will that accepts transformation rather than resisting it.
Give us hearts that reach out
to people who look different from us,
whose native language we don’t understand,
whose politics don’t agree with ours,
and who practice a different religion.
Give us a will to create a land
where all these differences coëxist,
where diversity is celebrated,
and where all have a right to live.

May we, your people in this place,
who confess your Name according our own traditions
and who share a similar set of convictions,
be agents of change and instruments of peace.
Help us to take the love we feel here
outside these church walls,
that all whom we encounter may know that you are love,
and that all your children are sisters and brothers.
These things we ask in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.