(Adapted creatively from the Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices:
Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Open the eyes of all who see and the ears of all who hear so that they might readily discern the truth.
Lord, who sits enthroned in righteousness and judges what is right:
We come boldly to your Throne of Grace and ask you to bless the courts of justice in this land, and give all who play a role in the court the spirit of wisdom and understanding that they might discern the truth. See to it that they will impartially administer the law in the fear of You alone, through the One, our Savior who judges all. All truth is Your truth.
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless, the destitute, the old, the sick, and all those who have none to care for them. We pray for those who are harmed and abused. We pray for children who have no voice and no means to help or to protect themselves from harm – that you will deliver them and will bring them justice. Bring them into safety and restore them. Heal them so that you will shine through the brokenness they know so well. Let their healing refashion their pain like a master craftsman creates a mosaic of stained glass, transforming their pain into beauty through which you can shine to bring glory to Your Name.
Help us to minister to those who are broken in body or in mind or in spirit that they might be healed. Turn their sorrow into joy. Turn our sorrow into joy. Transform the ashes of what so many have suffered into creative beauty as you glorify your Name in the process. Only you can take a broken vessel and reform it again, that master potter who can make us anew. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. He was wounded and bruised for us that we might be made whole and delivered from harm.
Look with pity, O Lord, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us as you bring justice, as we need justice before we can be shown mercy. Justice allows your righteousness to shine like the dawn, and once justice has come, mercy can follow. Triumph in all. Help us to eliminate cruelty to our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of all of the riches of the land.
Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal. Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgement. Remember all prisoners and bring the guilty to repentance. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. Let this not be any negation of justice and truth and what is right for those who have been wronged. It is Your will that all men would come to repentance, and we ask for contrition and a broken spirit to come about in the hearts of the guilty. Open their eyes to see and their ears to hear the truth about their lot, that when their day to stand before You comes to give an account, that they might have made all things right while You could be found and while You were near.
Let tragedy have not been for naught. Let us glean from the heartache and death some message of hope and life for others who might be in harms way. Take what was meant for evil or what became evil and transform it into something that can be used for good that many might be saved. Let them be saved in body and mind and spirit. Buy back what has been taken and restore what has been destroyed. Let the seeds that have fallen into the ground, trampled and crushed, become life and faith somehow. Transform disdain and hatred into love and care, as only you can do.
Spare the Lydias and the Hanas of this world the pain of death. Comfort the Zariahs and the Immanuels of this world with your loving kindness as they sort through the rubble of their pain to find themselves and to find You in the love and comfort that comes to them through others. God of all comfort, show Yourself to them in tender strength and precious power. They know the fellowship of suffering. Let them come to know the power of new life in the whole of their lives.
In the Name of Jesus, we pray.
Amen, Amen, and Amen. (Let it be so. It is true.)