Oh God, we come to prayer this day
with no words…
hearts heavy, minds reeling,
fear and grief and anger and hopelessness and resistance
all mingling together
and blocking the things we want and need to say.
And yet you are still God.
We cannot comprehend why these things happen…
Ask us why.
We cannot seem to believe you
when you say we are one body, neighbors with near and far…
Ask us why.
And keep asking, in the silence of our hearts and the conversations of our lives,
until we see you face to face—
in every face.
We lift up to you those who grieve this day—
whose family and friends have been ripped from them
by cultural complacency.
We pray especially for the families of Mother Emanuel church,
and for their two remaining pastors.
May your spirit of comfort surround them,
even as your spirit of righteousness burns in their broken hearts.
May they know your powerful presence,
and be strengthened as their ancestors in that place were strengthened
to stand up for what is right,
to stand together with all who enter,
to stand firm in your promise that one day all tears will be wiped away,
and in that day we will see the truth that we belong to each other.
We pray also this day for ourselves.
May our eyes be opened to recognize you—even in people who look nothing like us.
May our hearts be opened to love as you love—without reservation or requirement.
May our minds be opened to the reality of this world and our place in it—without defensiveness.
And when you have broken us open,
pour in your Spirit of justice and truth, of transformation and peace.
Where we insist on putting the pieces back together,
provoke our imaginations to new possibilities,
and frustrate our self-preserving goals.
Melt us and mold us, however uncomfortable or painful it may be,
then fill us and use us to be agents of transformation in this world.
We pray reluctantly, and boldly, and fearfully, and hopefully—
my kingdoms go, Lord.
Our kingdoms of entitlement, our kingdoms of self-sufficiency, our kingdoms of privilege, our kingdoms of individualism, our kingdoms of helplessness, our kingdoms of self-righteousness,
whatever kingdoms we have sworn allegiance to, or built for ourselves, or used to hide in…
our kingdoms go,
and may your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Come Quickly, Lord.
We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, the One who sat down at the margins, worked to overthrow the empire, and taught us to pray together, Our father…
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL