We gather together aware of the violence around us:
the physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect of children,
including abuse by religious leaders;
the murder and beatings of women by their partners;
the forced prostitution of young women and men in the U.S. and
Canada and other parts of the world;
the sexual harassment of women in the workplace, including the
the exploitation of women and children for profit and
the rape of countless women within marriages and dating
the further violence perpetrated against women in the court
ritual abuse and mutilation of women and children;
the atrocities suffered by the victims of war.
(the leader may invite others to name those
for whom they wish to pray aloud or silently.)
ONE: in naming these forms of evil, we feel
grief and pain.
ALL: Loving God, you are the one who desires
that all people be brought into right relationship with one
another and with you. Show us the path to justice and fill us
with your healing power.
ALL: May we experience your presence among
us as comforter, sustainer and healer.
(From: Family Violence Packet: A Congregational Resource by the
National Ministries ABC/USA).
Reading based on Matthew 25:35-46
Right: I was hungry and you gave me bread.
Left: I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
R: I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
L: I was naked and you clothed me.
R: I was sick and you visited me.
L: I was in prison and you came to me.
R: I was raped and you stood by me.
L: I was beaten and you sheltered me.
R: I was harassed and you helped me act.
L: I was abused and you intervened.
R: I was in pain and you comforted me.
L: I was bleeding and you staunched by wound.
R: I was orphaned and you mothered me.
L: I as alone and you took my hand.
R: I was unworthy and you believed in me.
L: I was victimized and you empowered me.
R: I was confused and you brought me insight.
L: I was silent and you listened to me.
R: I was seeking and you searched with me.
L: I was knocking and you opened the door.
Breaking the Silence of Violence by Women in Mission and Ministry
Office at the Episcopal
power, steady each of us as we strive to make sense of a
fragmented world. We have lived in terror, when we needed to have
safety. We have lived with betrayal and duplicity, when we needed
peace. We have had to isolate ourselves, when we needed comfort
and warmth. We have hidden, and longed to be free. Help us to
bear these losses, help us to bear the time spent in anguish, help
us to bear the reality of the past. Bring us into that safe place
where we may be open to receive the everyday comforts of this
life, to love and to be loved, and to experience your grace.
of Healing For Traumatic Cruelty, St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, PA)
Prayers for Our New Creation
Leader: God of all power and might who dwells in the heart
of our being, come quickly to help us who are assaulted by evil.
Give us eyes to see beyond our tormentors to your loving heart,
which broke for us as we were broken. Give us grace to cast away
the works of darkness and to trust in your mercy toward us.
Heal us, God, and
return us to wholeness by your love.
God of healing, take
from us our self-doubt, shame and illness. Build in us the sure
knowledge that we could never be sullied by the acts of others, or
by the sacrifice of our bodies and our selves in the face of
evil. Give us the vision to recognize ourselves as you made us:
whole, beautiful and clean.
Bring us to new
understanding, and help us see ourselves as You do, in your
Leader: God of wisdom, in a world where power is often abused and the victim
blamed, we are confused by our own experience. We have trouble
understanding what is our responsibility and what is not. Help us
to give up our self-blame for falling prey to the coercion and
tyranny of our abusers. Give us grace to allow them to carry the
responsibility for their own acts. Help us to accept our limited
ability to understand and forgive.
People: God, we give our abusers to You.
Leader: God of love, allow us to recognize all the ways in which our
relationships with You, ourselves and the world have been damaged
by our pain. Deliver us from the burdens of rage and fear. Guard
us lest our own anger cause harm. Hold fast to us, lest we allow
our fear to keep us from the company of those who would love us.
Guide us as we seek ways, to heal and make whole the relationships
which we value in our lives.
People: Deliver us from our isolation, and bring us safely into the company of
good and loving people.
Leader: God of justice, we remember with pain all the times others might have
defended or rescued us, but chose to be silent. Help us to accept
that there is a potential for blindness and cowardice in everyone,
and empower us to overcome this potential in ourselves.
People: Give us courage and confidence, O God, to bear witness with those who
Leader: God of mercy, you have taught us that when we pray in faith, you will
be among us; hear us now as we pray for our own concerns, either
silently or aloud.
(Those present may add
their own petitions, to which we may respond) Hear our prayer.
Leader: God of compassion, have mercy on those who are still caught in abusive
relationships. Deliver them quickly from their oppressors.
Frustrate the design of Evil and establish your rule of justice,
love and peace throughout the world.
People: Hasten the coming of your kingdom of love among us.
Leader: God of all comfort, grant peace to those who have died in torment, and
bring them to that place where there is no pain or grief. Let
their hearts and souls now ring out in joy to You.
People: We pray to you, O God.
Leader: Almighty God, who calls new life into being, hear now our cries. Grant
us power to cast off our bonds and walk forth into the light of
your loving presence. Create in us new hearts, renew our spirits
and restore us to the joy of living, through Jesus Christ your
(From Service For
Healing From Traumatic Cruelty, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal
Church, Philadelphia, PA)
Lot offered his
daughters to a hostile crowd to be raped;
-protect women who find themselves in defenseless situations;
-women who are victims of war and violence;
sacrificed his only daughter to fulfill a vow;
-protect children who are victims of cults and misguided
daughter of David, was raped by her half-brother;
-heal the wounds of children who have been violated by those
To protect his
male guests, the virgin daughter of an Ephraimite was given to a
crowd to be abused;
-hear the cries of women who are battered and abused in their
falsely accused of infidelity and condemned to death;
women's voices be heard and believed so that justice may serve