O Lord, we pray for Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston and for our brothers and sisters in Christ who lost lives and loved ones. They are experiencing grief and pain and sorrow that passes understanding in these days. We stand alongside them, but we know that sympathy alone cannot bind up a broken heart. Only you, O God, in your abounding and steadfast love, can heal hearts, and we ask that your healing grace come to those who are suffering.
We give thanks for the lives of Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson, Daniel Simmons and Depayne Middleton Doctor. They were dedicated unto death to the cause of Christ’s love and love of God. They have left among us spiritual gifts that cannot be destroyed, a legacy of love for God and for one another. Be with their families, friends and communities as they struggle to rebuild their lives around these new wounds. Bring them your comfort and your peace.
Remembering that Christ prayed for forgiveness with his last breaths, we pray also for Dylan Roof and his family. Bring them your peace, and through your resurrecting power bring transformation in places where it may seem impossible.
We pray for the community of Charleston and for our nation as a whole as we struggle to understand and respond to this tragedy. We pray for every community that has been torn apart by the type violence which has become all too common of late. We are mindful that the strength of this nation lies not with its armies and navies, but in the courage, love and neighborliness of its citizens. Be with our leaders as they seek to guide us to solutions for problems that are inconceivably large and painful. Be with those who cry out for justice and peace.
Lord, we pray that you will be with all those who are reeling in the wake of this tragedy, and we ask that you may enter into the darkness that has been created and bring your light of hope and love. We pray this in your name and the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, whose love and glory conquered death itself. Amen.
–Prayer by Emma Marshall
Member of Georgetown Presbyterian Church and Summer Pastoral Intern at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church