It is difficult for all of us to make sense of a lot of the violence around us and around the world. It is especially difficult with the seemingly senseless mass killings we experience increasingly in this country. Sometimes we aren’t sure how to talk about it with our children and youth. We wanted to include a few resources here that may help you or people you know talk about or pray about this tragedy. (Additional resources are also cited as sources in the link provided.

For working with teens and youth: Fuller Youth Institute.

For working with children: HealthyChildren.org.

A Prayer:

Giver of Life and Love, you created all people as one family and called us to live together in harmony and peace. Surround us with your love as we face the challenges and tragedies of this week’s horrific violence.

For our dear ones, for our neighbors, for strangers, and those known to you alone, Loving God, make us instruments of your peace.

God of Righteousness, you know that our leaders have been entrusted with the responsibility to protect us and to uphold our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For all who bear such responsibility, for all who struggle to discern what is right in the face of powerful political forces, Loving God, make us instruments of your peace.

God of Compassion, we give you thanks for the courage of first responders, police officers, firefighters and EMTs, and all those whose duties bring them to the streets, the lobbies, the malls and the homes where the carnage of gun violence takes place day after day. Give them sound judgment in the heat of the moment and grant them compassion for the victims.

For all who risk their lives as they rush to our aid, Loving God, make us instruments of your peace.

Merciful God, bind up the wounds of all who suffer from gun violence, those maimed and disfigured, those left alone and grieving, and those who struggle to get through one more day. Bless them with your presence and help them find hope.

For all whose lives are forever marked by violence, Loving God, make us instruments of your peace.

God of Justice, help us, your people, find our voice. Empower us to change this broken world and to protest the needless deaths caused by gun violence. Give us power to rise above our fear that nothing can be done and grant us the conviction to advocate for change.

For your dream of love and harmony, Loving God, make us instruments of your peace.

All this we pray in the name of the One who offered his life so that we might live, Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

Adapted by Ginny McDaniel, First Congregational Church, from an original prayer from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, for Gun Violence Sunday.