Responding to Violence in Prayer

On Wednesday, August 9, 2017, before the violent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, someone broke into a church near Waco, Texas, a historically African American congregation, and vandalized the property with hateful graffiti. The pastor of the church is a student at Baylor’s Truett Seminary. At the request of Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone, the Office of Spiritual Life at Baylor developed this prayer guide which will be used at community-wide gatherings on Friday, August 18.

The Prayers of God’s People

Singing Together: "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" (Stanza 1)

I want Jesus to walk with me, I want Jesus to walk with me.
All along my pilgrim journey, I want Jesus to walk with me.

Words: African American Spiritual

Praying Responsively with the Psalmist

In my distress, I cried to the Lord,
And He heard me.
    Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips
    And from a deceitful tongue.
Woe is me, that I dwell in barbarism.
That I dwell in tents with those who do not love you.
My soul has dwelt too long
With one who hates peace.
    I am for peace;
    But when I speak, they are for war. (from Psalm 120)

(Pause and reflect)

How long, Lord? Will you forget us forever?
    Look on us and answer, Lord our God.
How long will you hide your face from us?
    Look on us and answer, Lord our God.
How long must we wrestle with our thoughts and day after day
have sorrow in our hearts?
    Look on us and answer, Lord our God.
How long will our enemies triumph over us?
    Look on us and answer, Lord our God.
But we trust in your unfailing love;
our hearts rejoice in your salvation.
    We will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good.
Hear our prayer, O Lord; let our cries come to you.
    Do not hide your face from us in this day of distress.
Let us know your ways; teach us your paths; Lead us in your truth.
    Look on us and answer, Lord our God. (from Psalm 13)

Singing Together: "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" (Stanza 2)

In my trials, Lord, walk with me. In my trials, Lord, walk with me.
When my heart is almost breaking, Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.

Words: African American Spiritual

Prayers for Those Experiencing Violence and Hate

Holy One, Creator of all, you have made us all in your image, each one of us unique, each one of us with gifts, each one of us with dreams. Forgive us today for all the ways we deny that in one another and hear our prayers for all who have been hurt by that denial. We remember to you today all who struggle to be together in community, where they are divided by race and wounded by our human limitations, fears, and sin. We remember especially today our sisters and brothers who have suffered violence -and death- in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in Speegleville, Texas. And we remember to you all who are held captive by their own hatred. We join our hearts and remember in particular... (specific prayers are offered)

Lord, have mercy.
      Christ, Have mercy.

Prayers for Peace in our World

Almighty God, Creator of us all... In this world of conflicts and violence, we ache for peace. We are weary of wars and rumors of war. We are discouraged by headlines of hate and by old enemies who cannot heal from old wounds. We grow tired of the great suffering and death caused by egos, thirst for power, and fixation on revenge. But we are your people and you call us to hope... you call us to care and to pray for peace. And so we join our hearts and remember in particular... (specific prayers are offered).

Lord, have mercy.
      Christ, Have mercy.

Prayers for the Baylor Community

Lord of all creation and of this our home, grant that our life together will bear witness to your love and to the hope that is ours in your son, Jesus. May all who teach and lead, may all who plan and order, may all who listen and learn, find purpose and meaning in the year before. As we say yes again to your call in this place, fill us with your Spirit that together we may speak the truth boldly and love with great compassion in this world you love. Heal us that we might be healers. We join our hearts and remember in particular... (specific prayers are offered)

Lord, have mercy.
      Christ, Have mercy.

A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Singing Together: "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" (Stanza 1)

I want Jesus to walk with me, I want Jesus to walk with me.
All along my pilgrim journey, I want Jesus to walk with me.

Words: African American Spiritual

Benediction from 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

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