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Grounding Prayers

Prayer is central to faithful action.

These intentional moments of grounding and reflection remind us of our interconnectedness with God, one another, and all of creation. Included in this section are selected prayers that relate to key themes and the call to restorative justice.

 


 

An Opening Prayer for Group Humility and Peace

Adapted from crosswalk.com 

Lord, as we gather together, we praise You for this day and Your purpose for it. Reset our agendas, as we sit in Your presence. For You assure us that where two or more gather in Your name You are here. Recalibrate our intentions and refocus our hearts. Your will for our lives does not always reflect our plans. Change them to reflect Your will. Help us to understand that we don’t need full clarity to walk into the unique purpose You’ve inlaid in our lives.

Lift our eyes to seek You first today, and always, surrendering our need to achieve, understand, and be known. Shift our perspective to seek Your peace above all else. In every situation we ponder in our daily lives, let the Holy Spirit translate Your commands. Give us renewed strength and godly courage to obey You without questioning. Forgive us for striving beyond our means, worrying, and forcing results.

Only You know what lies ahead. You are our good Father, just and righteous. Though our circumstances will be unfair from time to time in this life, You are always our unwavering protector and shield. Keep the words of King David fresh in our minds, and renew our hearts to the tune of Your truth. “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” Let Your peace rain down on us today, as we seek You more than anything else.

Amen.

 

To "Self Empty" 

by Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI

To "self empty" in the way Jesus is described as doing means being present without demanding that your presence be recognized and its importance acknowledged; 
It means giving without demanding that your generosity be reciprocated; it means being invitational rather than coercive; 
It means being vulnerable and helpless, unable to protect yourself against the pain of being taken for granted or rejected;  
It means living in a great patience that does not demand intervention, Divine or human, when things do not unfold according to your will;
It means letting God be God and others be themselves without either having to submit to your wishes or your timetable. 

Amen.

 

Litany for Those Not Ready for Healing

by Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce

This prayer was written in response to the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black 18-year old from Ferguson, Missouri, who was fatally shot six times by white police officer Darren Wilson in 2014.

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.
Let us not rush to offer a band­-aid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.
Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment.
Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.
Let us not rush past the loss of this mother’s child, this father’s child…someone’s beloved son.
Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance.
Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice.
Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness, and the pain that is life in community together.
Let us not offer clichés to the grieving, those whose hearts are being torn asunder.

Instead…
Let us mourn black and brown men and women, those killed extrajudicially every 28 hours.
Let us lament the loss of a teenager, dead at the hands of a police officer who described him as a demon.
Let us weep at a criminal justice system which is neither blind nor just.
Let us call for the mourning men and the wailing women, those willing to rend their garments of privilege and ease, and sit in the ashes of this nation’s original sin.
Let us be silent when we don’t know what to say.
Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage, and grief pouring from the lips of our neighbors and friends.
Let us decrease, so that our brothers and sisters who live on the underside of history may increase.
Let us pray with our eyes open and our feet firmly planted on the ground.
Let us listen to the shattering glass and let us smell the purifying fires, for it is the language of the unheard.

God, in your mercy…
Show me my own complicity in injustice.
Convict me for my indifference.
Forgive me when I have remained silent.
Equip me with a zeal for righteousness.
Never let me grow accustomed or acclimated to unrighteousness.

Amen.

 

Prayer for Life

by Bishop Daniel Flores

The following prayer was composed and shared at CMN’s 10th Anniversary Celebration to honor the lives of all those who have been executed, incarcerated, and victimized by crime. 

God Eternal Father, 
You are the Living God.
Life is who you are,
Life is what you love,
Life is what you breathe.
Creation was made to house life;
Life is what you give.

Human life is your most beloved,
And what You most affirmed when you sent your Eternal Son
To take flesh,
To die our death,
And to rise again glorious.

Help us to be a people of life – 
A church that can do no other
Than love what you so mightily love,
And defend what your Son so willingly died and rose to defend.

Amen.

 

The Spirit of Ubuntu

Inspired by the reflections of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in No Future without Forgiveness

“[Ubuntu] is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. 
I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion. A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. 
Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole. 
They know that they are diminished when others are humiliated, diminished when others are oppressed, diminished when others are treated as if they were less than who they are. 
The quality of Ubuntu gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them.”

Lord, help us to live this day and each day in the spirit of Ubuntu. Remembering, always, that we are profoundly and integrally connected with one another. When people and relationships are broken by violence and oppression, remind us that I am because we are, I am because You are. 

Amen.

 

Prayer for God's Justice, Mercy, and Compassion

by Sister Addie Lorraine Walker, SSND

This prayer was composed and shared by Sister Addie for a virtual prayer vigil honoring the life of Christopher Vialva, who was executed by the federal government on September 24, 2020.

Good and gracious God, we gather once again this day to name you as our God.
God of all the nations and peoples, 
God of Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca,
the God of Jacob and Leah and Rachel. 

We praise and we bless you and we glorify you. 
You are God of life, and love, and hope, and healing, 
Of justice and mercy and compassion. 

Bestow on us, O God, once again this day a renewed commitment to stand with you and in you for life and love; 
hope and healing, justice, mercy, and compassion.

United in our love for all peoples and all of life, we stand committed to building a world based on your covenant of love and life. 
We come together committed to the work of ridding our communities
Of violence in all its forms,
And of racism in all the ways that it impacts and plagues our criminal legal system.

We pray too that you remain with us,
Keeping us faithful to the promise we make this day 
To work to abolish the death penalty in our time and in our land.  

We ask these things of you, O God, 
For you are God from whom every family takes its name.

Amen.