Peace Prayer for an Insurrection
Susan Oxley of Seattle, WA, USA
For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
says the LORD…Thus says the LORD:
I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob,
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound,
and the citadel set on its rightful site….
And you shall be my people,
and I will be your God. -Jeremiah 30:17a, 18, 22
On January 6, I heard with shock and fear of the assault on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The senators and representatives were being evacuated, the work of Congress halted, and damage to the windows, chambers, and offices was underway. The outcome of the day’s events was still uncertain, and our government appeared to be threatened from within.
How do I pray in the rising chaos and uncertainty? Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). One meaning of “love” in the ancient world was desiring good for someone with no strings attached. Could I desire good for those who were breaking into the Capitol and truly mean it?
“God of grace, you know all things,” I prayed. “These are your people, both those who do violence and those who are injured and terrorized. I place them all into your loving arms for a blessing. Enter their hearts and help them to know you are present. Turn their thoughts from violence to peace and wholeness. Bring about good in their lives in spite of their personal choices and actions. God, only you can bring a blessing out of this conflict.”
As I prayed, my own heart stopped racing, and I felt a deep inner peace. God’s reassurance of grace, faithfulness, and abiding presence calmed and strengthened me. I knew the future was still uncertain, with no guarantee that the violence was over. Divisiveness would continue to influence the transition to a new presidency and hinder the nation’s healing. Even so, I felt assured that God would not abandon us. Whether we lived up to the highest and best in us or not, God would continue to act in the world. And there would always be opportunities to join God in transforming and gracing the world.
I offered a second prayer. “God, help me to be open and trusting. Transform my judgment and condemnation into love for all people and a desire for good in their lives. Help me be an instrument of the peace of Christ. Amen.”
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Gospel Contemplation (Mark 1:9-11)
Each week during Lent, you are invited to pray with a different gospel story from the life of Christ. Use your senses and imagination to enter the text. Allow it to come to life in you, observing details, noticing interactions, even engaging in dialogue. Notice where you find yourself in the story and how you feel about what is happening. Notice what it evokes in you or invites of you. Take time to journal or enter silent prayer to reflect on your experience and to sense where the Spirit may be leading you through this scriptural encounter.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.