A prayer of lament

Candles. Photo by Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

O God, we began this week in a celebratory mood on our country’s Independence Day. But now we end the week with heavy hearts, with anger and despair, and not sure how to address the problem. It feels like our nation and our world are spinning out of control. Lord, to whom shall we go? We turn to you.

Instead of marking our independence as a people, we should be focusing on our interdependence as a people. God, when you created us, you put us in relationship with you and with each other. As humans, we became husband and wife, mother and son, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. We also live side-by-side as police and the policed, the governed and the governors, Christian and Muslim, people of faith and atheists, straight and gay, rich and poor. We depend on each other for friendship, love, and security. We rely on other people to supply us with food, to keep our cars in good repair, to deliver our mail, to clean our offices at night.

But human bonds have been broken in the killings of police officers in Dallas, in the shootings of African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week, and in the attacks in Baghdad, Dhaka, Istanbul, Medina, and in our own country in Orlando in the past few weeks.

Lord, to whom shall we go? We turn to you. We pray to you with the words of a hymn:

God! When human bonds are broken
and we lack the love or skill
to restore the hope of healing,
give us grace and make us still.

Through that stillness, with your Spirit
come into our world of stress,
for the sake of Christ forgiving
all the failures we confess.

You in us are bruised and broken:
hear us as we seek release
from the pain of earlier living;
set us free and grant us peace.

Send us, God of new beginnings,
humbly hopeful into life;
use us as a means of blessing:
make us stronger, give us faith.

Give us faith to be more faithful,
give us hope to be more true,
give us love to go on learning:
God! Encourage and renew!


Words of “God! When Human Bonds Are Broken” by Fred Kaan.

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