Residents pray for end to violence

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

in News

Feeling the weight of recent events, Jennings residents sought a way to take action. Sister Valerie Sweeney, Director of Mission and Ministry at Jennings, coordinated a prayer service that offered an activity of unity that also reflects Jennings’ value of compassion. All who wished to participate were invited to join, with residents also taking on parts as readers.

If you too are seeking prayer for an end to violence, we invite you to see this prayer service content from the service:

A Prayer Service to End Gun Violence

Opening Song: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace or Peace Is Flowing Like a River

Reader 1: Merciful Lord, we come to you heavy hearted, for we have heard the cries of the slain calling to us from the ground. We come remembering all the lives lost to the weapons of war that have flooded our communities. We come reminded of the many bodies locked in jails and prisons all across this country.  And we ask for your mercy.

Reader 2: Although we find ourselves in a broken world – a world in which hurting people hurt other people, it is no mystery that you are a God capable of healing our world through justice and fairness.  Your own revelation has shown us that you stand firmly with those people whose backs are against the wall. Your own life demonstrates how you came from heaven to earth to redeem creation, our communities and our own lives. So we ask for this same redemptive power to be unleashed among us as it was on the day of Pentecost. May we be empowered by your Spirit to reverse the conditions that produce men and women who are driven to resort to violence and destructive behavior for no reasonable purpose.

Reader 3: We know that you take no pleasure in the death of anyone, so we boldly come to the throne of grace today dear Lord, seeking your wisdom as we create strategies that provide pathways and lifelines to hope and healing. Help us to remember we are all your children, created in your image, and we are connected by a single garment of mutuality and destiny. Help us to never forget how our needs are the same and our calling to address these needs is the same. Reveal to us Lord, that the pain felt in Newtown is the same pain felt in Chicago. The tears shed in Las Vegas are the same tears shed in Orlando. The lives lost in Sandy Hook are the same lives lost in Detroit.

Reader 4: We cry out to you, heal our souls from this scourge of violence. Endow us with the courage to step down from the pulpits and out of our homes to seek the peace of the land. In the coming days and weeks as our leaders debate solutions, Lord we ask that you grant us the voice to speak truth to power and demonstrate sacrificial compassion to the hurting.

Reader 5: Teach us your ways, O God. Bless us with the wisdom and strength to put down our swords and be peacemakers. Use us, work through us and, if necessary, work in spite of us to mend our nation’s brokenness. We thank you for your protecting embrace and unfailing love. All of these requests we bring to you, in the name of Jesus the Lord, we pray. Amen.

Gospel Reading: Matthew: 10:28-33
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 80:4

All: O Lord of Hosts, restore us. If Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.

Reader 1: Hear our prayer, O Lord, rouse Your power and come. We are in the dark, with no light to lead our way. We stumble and fall without Your beacon of peace to guide us.

All: O Lord of Hosts, restore us. If Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.

Reader 1: Lord, we beseech You to show yourself. Come to our aid, guide us in our despair, assist us to break free of the violence in our hearts, homes and communities.

All: O Lord of Hosts, restore us. If Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.

Prayers of the Faithful: Our response is “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Reader 2: For all victims of violence, crime, abuse and terrorism, for the elderly who feel imprisoned, for the youth on the streets, for children who are victimized. We pray…

Reader 3: For all those who commit acts of violence; from those who speak harsh words in anger, to those who hate others who are different from themselves, to those who take the life of another. We pray…

Reader 4: For our youth who experience violence from their peers, strangers and family members in their schools, neighborhoods and homes. We pray…

Reader 5: For each of us gathered here today, that we may learn to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God. We pray…

Closing Prayer: Good and loving God, we ask you today to show us the way to peace. Comfort those who mourn and bless those who have died with eternal life with you. Soften the hearts and steady the minds of those who would do violence to others. May hate be replaced with love, violence with peace, and darkness with your light. We ask these blessings in your goodness and love, Amen.

National Day of Prayer: May 4, 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

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The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May. Created by a join Congressional resolution 1952 and signed into law by President Truman, it has become a uniting observance for people of all faiths. Click here to visit the National Day of Prayer web site. This year’s theme is For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us… Forgive Us…Heal Us! It was taken from Daniel 9:19, which says, “O Lord, Listen! O Lord, Forgive! O Lord, Hear and Act! For Your Sake, O My God…”.

National Prayer

Hear Us…Forgive us…Heal us!

We worship You, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  You are the living God of our nation’s founding fathers: George Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and many others.  When we pledge our allegiance, it’s as one nation under You.  Every time we use American money to buy or sell, we make the statement that in You we have placed our trust.

We acknowledge that You are the One who has set us high above all the nations on the earth. You have made us the head and not the tail.  We have led the free world. The whole world has known that we are identified with You, and they have respected us.

Again and again, You have given us victory over our enemies. You have blessed us when we have gone out and when we have come in. You have blessed us in our bustling cities and in our beautiful countryside. You have blessed our “fruited plain” so that we have had an abundance for ourselves and for others. You have opened up the storehouse of Your bounty, and have blessed the work of our hands. You have given us unprecedented prosperity so that in the past we have lent to many nations but been debtor to none.[1]

We now turn to You as the God of Our Fathers.   You alone are our Hope for the future.  If we as a nation do not get right with You, no one in Washington or in our state capitols can reverse the downward moral and spiritual spiral that has become a free fall and is provoking Your judgment. We approach You now with fear and trembling, as we confess our national sins:

We confess national addiction to sex. To money. To pleasure. To entertainment. To pornography.  To technology. To drugs. To alcohol. To food. To television. To popularity. To ourselves.

We confess we no longer fear You, and thus we have not even the beginning of wisdom with which to handle the vast knowledge we possess.

We confess our foolishness of denying You as the one, true, living God, our Creator to whom we are accountable, living as though our lives are a cosmic accident with no eternal significance, purpose or meaning.

We confess our greed that has run up trillions of dollars of national debt.

We confess our arrogance and pride that has led us to think we are sufficient in ourselves.

We confess to believing that the prosperity of our nation has been great because we are great while refusing to acknowledge that all blessings come from Your hand.

We confess that we depend upon our military might and our weapons systems to protect us from harm and danger, while denying, defying, and ignoring You.

We confess that we have allowed the material blessings You have given us to deceive us into thinking we don’t need You.

We confess that we live as though material wealth and prosperity will bring happiness.

We confess that we have marginalized truth and mainstreamed lies.

We confess choices that reveal we would rather live in bitterness, resentment, and anger, rather than forgive those who have hurt us or acknowledge our own wrongdoing.

We confess that we have become one nation under many gods, divided and polarized, with license to sin and justice that no longer follows the rule of law.[2]

Therefore, we turn to You with tears of shame and a heart of fear for the judgment we are provoking. We repent of our sin. Please, God of Our Fathers, do not back away from us. Do not remove Your hand of blessing on us. As we return to You with humility…With sincerity…Out of necessity…With a desperate sense of urgency.  Please! Return to us! Hear our prayer. Forgive our sin. Heal our land. 

For the Glory of Your Great Name…JESUS.


Anne Graham Lotz

Some content is drawn from Deuteronomy 28:1-14

Some of these confessions have been taken with permission from The Daniel Prayer, Anne Graham Lotz, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 2016

Prayer for World Day of the Sick

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11 is World Day of the Sick, an observation introduced by Pope John Paul II as a way to offer prayers for those who are ill and their caregivers. Please join us in prayer at 1 p.m. wherever you are to offer our appreciation and support to all those who provide care and compassion [more…]

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