Prayer for the Terror-Stricken

God of the afflicted:
On this anniversary of [the Montreal massacre
where a man who declared feminists his enemy
opened fire in a school,
killing fourteen, wounding fourteen]
on this day we turn to you.
We pray for healing for all affected by acts of terror.
Terror from a bomb, or a gun,
or a knife, or a rope, or a body,
terror from any force poised for cruelty….
You know what happened next.
Be with all who are picking up,

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Surveillance: A poem about the suspects of the Boston Marathon Bombings

Walking through the crowd with your backpacks
surrounded by happy people on race day,
you weave your way purposefully
down the street
around the corner,
you know where you are going.

I want to reach out
from my vantage point on high
I want to call you by name so you look
I would reach out and put a hand on your cheek
like your mother
I would look in your eyes
looking for the good boy,
I would hold that gaze

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Prayer after a Mass Shooting

God, we are broken.
Broken by violence,
broken by grief,
broken by confusion.
Our hearts are with people in _________
devastated by a terrible crime.
We are lamenting with those who have lost loved ones,
feeling for those who are traumatized,
wondering in disbelief.
We pray for the family of the person who committed the crime
as they mourn for him, and try to comprehend his deeds.

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Palm Sunday Congregational Prayer

Thank you God for your triumphal entry into our world each and every day.
The slow motion explosion of buds on the trees proclaim “Hosanna!”
Rushing water, falling from heaven, gurgling to the sea, proclaims “Hosanna!”
The fragrance of spring in the morning air proclaims, “Hosanna!”
And the beauty of a baby’s fingers, the softness of their cheek proclaims your praise!

We long to join this chorus, giving you thanks and praise for who you are,
for all you have created, all you are creating.
Thank you for sending Jesus, who showed us your love for all creation,
your love for us….

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God Confronts War Today (Psalm 46)

God the Almighty longs for peace;                       
God confronts the desolation of war.
God cradles the broken bodies
and feels the agony of violence.
Jesus kneels with the grieving
and collects their wild tears.
The Holy Spirit broods over the bent world
counting the cost of carnage.
The Lord of hosts is with us,
the God of Jacob is our refuge
as we long for peace….

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Peace with Our Own Two Hands

God of Wisdom,
As we remember the atomic blasts, the gas chambers, the killing fields,
as we remember the war machines and the military establishments,
as we remember Hitler and Pol Pot, Jim Crow and the Indian Act,
call us to account for our own whispered innuendo,
our own snubs, our own finger pointing,
our own eyes averted from injustice, our own cutting words,
our own shove, our own furtive slap.
Do not allow the grandstand atrocities to blind us to our own cruelties.
From the darkness of our bedrooms to skyscraper boardrooms,
from schools and churches to houses of parliament,
give us ears to hear your call to peace in our time,
peace with our own two hands.

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Prayer for Peace in Afghanistan

As we wait for the anniversary of your birth, Lord Jesus,

we are waiting for peace in Afghanistan.

We have created a war that goes on and on;

military operations come and go,

bombs get dropped or planted,

hospitals fill up and empty,

graveyards in Afghanistan and around the world

are visited by those who mourn.

And we have not found peace.

Saviour, where is your relief?

We need your strength and consolation.

We need release from fear and sin.

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Save Us: A Prayer for Hostages and Captors

Hear now, God, the prayer of hostages!

Prayers spoken through teeth clenched in fear,

prayers courageously floating on a tide of despair,

prayers that are a slender thread of hope.

Lord, we join our voices with all captives,

crying for freedom and return.

We cry for an end to the nightmare

of each soul in captivity….

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God Save the Children

God, save the children tonight.

Save them from empty stomachs and hunger pangs.

Preserve them from beatings and harsh words.

Protect them from bullets and bombs.

Shield them from sexual abuse.

Guard them from pain and disease.

Shelter them from anger and discord.

In their innocence, grant them peace.

God saves the children tonight.

Saves them when someone sends food for body and soul.

Preserves them when a neighbour intervenes….

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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