People draw near to God in their distress,
pleading for help and begging peace and bread,
rescue from guilt and sickness, nearly dead.
Christian or not, all come in helplessness.
People draw near to God in his distress:
find him rejected, homeless, without bread,
burdened with sin and weakness, nearly dead.
Christians stand with God in his wretchedness.
And God draws near to people in distress,
feeding their souls and bodies with his bread;
Christian or not, for both he’s hanging dead,
forgiving, from the cross, their wickedness.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45) translated Alan Gaunt (b 1935)
A Prayer of John Henry Newman chosen by the families of the British victims of 9/11 for
the memorial service in Westminster Abbey, November 2001:
O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the
evening comes; the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then
Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last, through Jesus
Christ, our Lord.
A Prayer of GA Cleveland Shrigley (adapted):
Father of all, free us from prejudice born of hate and fear and kept alive by ignorance and
pride. Open our hearts and minds to new friendships and new contributions of the spirits
from peoples, cultures and religions not our own. Enrich us by the great thoughts and
experiences of all peoples and countries. With all your children on earth make us sharers of
your abundant life and workers together in your kingdom of love and peace.
A Prayer of Alan Warren
Lord Christ, shine upon all who are in the darkness of suffering or grief; that in your light
they may receive hope and courage, and in your presence may find their rest and peace; for
your love’s sake.
A passage by Henry Van Dyke (1852–1933)
Time is too short for those who wait
Too swift for those who fear.
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice.
But for those who love, time is eternity.
A prayer for responsiveness by Canon Chris Chivers:
take my anger,
and make of it a well-spring of compassion
for the bereaved and distressed;
take my revulsion,
and make of it a burning desire to overcome wickedness;
take my incomprehension,
and make of it an open channel
through which I may see the realities of evil;
take my pity,
and make of it a source of remembrance;
take my despair,
and make of it a fountain of hope:
Turn me, O God, from indifference and apathy
that I may work to ensure that never again
will the sanctity of human life
be destroyed in this – or any – way.
Prayer written by an unknown prisoner in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and found
on a piece of wrapping paper in the camp near the body of a dead child
O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will but also those of evil will. But
do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted upon us; remember the fruits we have
borne thanks to this suffering – our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our
generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this; and when they come to
the judgement, let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.
An Elizabethan Prayer for our enemies
Most merciful and loving Father,
We beseech thee most humbly, even with all our hearts,
To pour out upon our enemies with bountiful hands whatsoever things thou knowest may
do them good
And chiefly a sound and uncorrupt mind,
Where-through they may know thee and love thee in true charity and with their whole
And love us, thy children, for thy sake.
Let not their first hating of us turn to their harm,
Seeing that we cannot do them good for want of ability.
Lord, we desire their amendment and our own.
Separate them not from us by punishing them,
But join and knot them to us by thy favourable dealing with them.
And, seeing we be all ordained to be citizens of the one everlasting city,
Let us begin to enter into that way here already by mutual love,
Which may bring us right forth thither.
Two prayers of Imam Abdul Rasied Omar
Most Holy God,
you sometimes use sin and suffering – and turn it to good;
you have united people of faith against evil and helped us to work for justice, despite our
you hold all people in your love and draw us towards you:
free us from our sinful desire to dominate others;
free us from arrogance and prejudice;
make us one in our struggle against humanity and poverty;
forgive those who have encouraged division between people of faith.
May the united actions that we continue to undertake, be their forgiveness.
* * *
God, most compassionate, dispenser of all grace: as we call to mind the many victims of
violence, hatred and revenge in our age, we implore you to comfort the hearts of all who are
lonely or distressed. From what we have witnessed or endured, grant us a greater empathy
for the suffering of innocent victims of whatever nationality or religion. All wise and
Almighty God, grant our leaders wisdom that they may use their power for the good of all
and to fashion a more just and caring world. God, who art Peace, grant us to live in the
embrace of thy peace.