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“You shall love the Lord your God.” Matt. 22:37

Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
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Prayers on Stopping Torture

A Prayer for our Nation

Gracious God, in whom we live and move and have our being, we give thanks for your presence made known to us in the words, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

God of all truth, by whom all nations are judged and from whom nothing is hidden, we pray for the courage to face what we have done as a nation and who we have become as a people.

God of grace, grant repentance and forgiveness to leaders whose decisions have made victims of guards, interrogators and prisoners through torture and cruelty.

God of love, grant healing and restoration to all those who suffer the scars of pain, hatred, guilt, shame and self-recrimination.

God of peace, in whose outstretched arms we all find welcome, kindle within us the desire to love our enemies and to find ways to bring this about.

God of hope, heal our cynicism. Deliver us from adopting the terrorist ethic that the end justifies the means. May we not do what we say we condemn.

So, may we do justice and love mercy, and walk humbly with You, our God, our Strength and our Redeemer, Amen.

— The Rev. Kermit D. Johnson, chaplain and Major General in the U.S. Army (retired)


No2Torture! 

What happened that the world doesn’t know
what the church stands for?
What happened? What happened? What happened?

What have we in the church been doing
when we should have been voicing,
should have been making clear
who we are ...
who Jesus is????

Has it come to this?
That we in the church must say,
must shout,
must stand
for what we believe?
Does the world no longer know us
by our fruits?

Do we have to have a discussion,
to inform the world that the Church says
No2 Torture?
Is there any doubt that
The Church of Jesus Christ
does not condone torture?
Any question,
any room for discussion?

What happened to
The Church of Jesus Christ?
Jesus who said,
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself”?
Jesus who said,
“Do unto others as you would have
them do unto you”?
What happened?
Who is it who came along and
changed the Word of God?
There is no room for
torture in the words of Jesus.
He did not say:
Return evil for evil.
He did not say:
Hit back.
He said, Turn the other cheek.
He said, Love your enemies.
He said, Follow me.

The world should have heard us
shouting good news from the roof tops,
singing Alleuluias in the streets of the world!
The world should have seen us
praying for our enemies.
The world should have seen us
following the Prince of Peace.

Oh, God, may they see us now!

Oh, God, may they hear us now!

No2Torture!!!!

— Ann Weems
May 4, 2007


A Prayer for Those Affected by Torture

God who is the source of all life, we pray for our sisters and brothers.
... for those affected by torture, whether physical or mental.
... for those who suffer brutal violence.
... for those who are mocked and humiliated and disempowered.
... for those who are shown no mercy.
... for those who are forced to exist in a state of perpetual terror, and who experience life-long trauma.
... for those whose precious humanity is taken away.
... for those who are not give the chance to live the gift of life, but instead fear for that life every moment.
Provide signs of your presence. Grant strength and courage and all that is needed for the living of these days. Guide the nations and peoples of the world to turn from policies and practices that violate one another. Move us to act in that cause. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

— Katie J. Anderson
Young Adult Intern
Racial Ethnic Young Women Together and National Network of Presbyterian College Women


A Prayer Related to Torture

God for all the world,
We pray for our brothers and sisters
Throughout your world
Who endure torture
Physically,
Spiritually,
Emotionally.
In their pain
May they experience your presence and care
Binding their wounds
Supporting them.
We pray for our brothers and sisters
Throughout your world
Who inflict torture
Physically,
Spiritually,
Emotionally.
May they experience your presence and care
Binding the wounds they bear
Wounds they receive as they wound others.
Open them to see the dignity of each person.
Strengthen them to seek ways
To break free from violence.
We pray for our brothers and sisters
Throughout your world
Who authorize torture
Physically,
Spiritually,
Emotionally.
Break the hold of fear and anger upon them.
Inspire them to seek other ways to advance their causes.
We pray for ourselves
Confessing our responsibility for acts of torture
Which violate our sisters and brothers
And degrade us and our values.
Guide us to pray and study,
Dialogue and speak,
Come together and advocate
For an end to torture.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
Whose life, death and resurrection
Reveals that God's love
Is indeed stronger than torture and fear.
Amen.

—The Rev. W. Mark Koenig
Associate for Resources and Publications
Presbyterian Peacemaking Program


A Reading Using Excerpts from Chapters 1-3 from the Book of Lamentations

Reader 1:
My eyes are spent with weeping, my stomach churns,
My bile is poured out on the ground
Because of the destruction of my people.

Reader 2:
Look, O Lord, and consider!
The young and the old are lying on the ground in the streets;
Our young men and young women have fallen by the sword.

Reader 1:
For these things we weep; our eyes flow with tears.
Our elders sit in silence; our young bow their heads to the ground.
We seek a comforter, one to revive our courage.

Reader 2:
Cry aloud to the Lord! Let tears stream down like a torrent.
Arise, cry out in the night! Pour out your heart like water before the Lord!
Lift up your hands to God, for the lives of your children!

Reader 1:
But call this to mind, and therefore have hope:

Unison:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
God’s mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness, O Lord!

— the Rev. Diana Gibson
Written for the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq


A Prayer Based on Psalm 42 and 43

God of the Universe, Creator of All Life, as deer long for flowing streams, our souls thirst for you, our living God.  You are our rock and our redeemer. Even at night your song lingers with us. In you, rests all hope. We praise your holy name again and again.

But our souls are down cast, our hearts restless. We fear you have forgotten us, that the waves and billows of your power have gone over us. And we know the depths of human despair. The shackles of darkness and disobedience separate us from you as a desert surrounds the springs. Our tears have become our food day and night.

Our tears fall for our brothers and sisters who helplessly suffer humiliation and anguish. They fear for their lives. Their tears are their food day and night. Together we cry out, for in their tears we see the horrifying reflections of other brothers and sisters whose humanity is threatened by their own actions. They feel confusion, fear and anger. The shackles of darkness and disobedience separate them from you as a desert surrounds the springs. These same shackles chain us to our fear, and we fall silent. Our hearts are torn. Our souls yearn to act for your justice, yet we become complicit.

— Deb Bowsher

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