The following prayer is a response to a joint pastoral letter from the Disciples of Christ in SC and NC written for a prayer vigil held at the Mt Moriah Community Church in Farmville, 9 am, June 20, 2015.
Good and gracious God, Father and Mother of us all,
Hearts shattered, souls lamenting, bodies languishing, and minds enraged,
We gather together with our members of our family of faith here in Farmville to grieve alongside our sisters and brothers in Charleston, praying that they will know a peace that is beyond understanding. May those who have lost loved ones be comforted knowing that you are suffering with them, and so are we.
We gather to support the leaders and the members of the Emanuel AME Church, praying that they will be led by your wisdom, endowed by your love and empowered by your courage to continue to live selflessly boldly proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom to the imprisoned and recovery of sight to the blind, setting free all who are oppressed.
We gather to stand with the leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Denomination, praying that they will persist and prevail courageously ministering to the social, spiritual and physical development of all people.
We gather in prayer for all African American churches who worship, serve and love their neighbors under the constant threat of persecution by the demonic forces of our time. May they be emboldened by remembering the words of their Lord and Savior and rejoice and be glad, for great is their reward in heaven, for in the same way the prophets were persecuted before them.
We gather to pray for the city of Charleston, the political leaders of our cities, states and country, and for the Body of Christ spread throughout our land. We pray for boldness in naming the sin of racism in our lives, our church and our country. We pray for fortitude in confronting racism, in all of its manifestations. And we pray for courage in confronting hatred and violence in all of its manifestations.
And we also gather this day O God to pray for the Body of Christ here in our own community. Forgive our division. Forgive our segregation. Forgive the barriers we have erected: racial, ethnic, and socio-economic. Forgive the chasm of fear that we have created. Forgive our failure to build bridges between the churches here in our own town. Forgive our failure to come together in the name of Christ, one body following one Lord, to stand for justice and equity for all of our citizens. Forgive us of our failure to truly love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Forgive us, O God, and envelop us with your grace. Grant us your guidance, will and determination to follow the Christ together in the steps that he is leading us next. It is in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord who unites us all we pray, Amen.