Yesterday I posted a prayer of lament for the victims and families of victims of the shooting at the Dark Knight showing in Aurora, Colorado the other day. Here is another lament prayer, compiled by Laurence Hull Stookey from a collection of Scriptures.
Christians do, after all, have a rich Biblical tradition from which to draw in expressing our mournful prayers of lament to God. Below the prayer are citation information and a link to a formatted, print-friendly pdf of the prayer.
If I were leading a congregation in unison prayer or offering a pastoral prayer tomorrow morning for all those affected by the shooting, I think this is what I would use. It’s good “lament liturgy.”
Prayer of Lament
O God, you are our help and strength,
our refuge in the time of trouble.
In you our ancestors trusted;
They trusted and you delivered them.
When we do not know how to pray as we ought,
your very Spirit intercedes for us
with sighs too deep for words.
We plead for the intercession now, Gracious One.
For desolation and destruction are in our streets,
and terror dances before us.
Our hearts faint; our knees tremble;
our bodies quake; all faces grow pale.
Our eyes are spent from weeping
and our stomachs churn.
How long, O Lord, how long
must we endure this devastation?
How long will destruction lay waste at noonday?
Why does violence flourish
while peace is taken prisoner?
Rouse yourself! Do not cast us off in times of trouble.
Come to our help;
redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.
For you are a gracious God
abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
By the power of the cross,
through which you redeemed the world,
bring to an end hostility
and establish justice in the gate.
For you will gather together your people into that place
where mourning and crying and pain
will be no more,
and tears will be wiped from every eye.
Hasten the day, O God for our salvation.
Accomplish it quickly! Amen.
From Let the Whole Church Say Amen! A Guide for Those Who Pray in Public by Laurence Hull Stookey, pp 94-95 (Copyright 2001 by Abingdon Press). Reproduced by permission. Formatted print-friendly pdf of prayer here.
Scriptures from which the above prayer comes are: Psalm 124:8, Psalm 37:39, Psalm 22:4, Romans 8:26, Isaiah 59:7, Job 41:22, Nahum 2:10, Lamentations 2:11, Isaiah 6:11, Psalm 91:6, Psalm 44:23, Psalm 44:26, Exodus 34:6, 1 Corinthians 1:17, Ephesians 2:14, Amos 5:15, Revelation 21:4, Isaiah 60:22.