Opposing violence against women – a prayer

This prayer of the day for International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was composed by The Rev. Sarah Henkel and offered at the White Plains Presbyterian Church. It originally appeared on Pastor Jeff’s Blog.

It is reprinted here with permission and in the hope that others will use or adapt the prayer as we work for an end to violence against women.

Creator God,

You are God of hope and new life; God of healing and restoration.  You are the beginning and the end, the One who walks with us through all of life and for all generations.

We hold before you the fact of violence against women in our world, our communities, our homes.  We pray fervently for a new reality and ask that this church’s witness would be a spring of restoration that takes root and spreads and grows.  May the 25th of every month and symbol of the color orange be a catalyst for peace, a sign of welcome to speak out against violence against women, to share our own stories, to be a listener with hope and a plan, and to be an open door for individuals and families seeking refuge from fear and pain.

In the beginning you created us, breathed life into us, and shaped us in your image.  We call on your healing power to work in us and through us because the way things are is not how they have to be.  And so we speak and pray and sing our vision of healing and new life together:

We commit to speak of the realities of violence against women and to be a church that will not keep silent.

We pray healing for all women and men who suffered or are suffering from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. We pray for the circle of people around them who suffer the trauma of witnessing. We pray for all who dedicate their lives’ work to breaking the cycle of violence. Strengthen and protect their bodies, minds, and souls.

We sing songs of lament as we mourn lives lost at the hands of an abuser and families and communities torn apart by fear.    And we sing a song of hope of bodies, minds, and spirits restored. Of women and men once held captive by fear, now freed to dance and to rejoice.  Let us live into this hope, let it be the song that we sing.

And in hope now we lift up to you the prayers, the joy and sorrow of this community:

[prayer requests from the community were offered…]

We praise you God: Creator, Healer, Restorer of the streets that we live in.  We thank you for your powerful love, that was, and is, and ever shall be.  Amen.

Rev. Sarah Henkel and her husband Will Summers wearing orange for worship and as public witnessThe Rev. Sarah Henkel, Cross-Cultural Network Coordinator for Hudson River Presbyter and Parish Associate at White Plains Presbyterian Church. The photo shows the Rev. Sarah Henkel and her husband Will Summers wearing orange for worship and as public witness.

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