Prayers in Response to the Charleston Shooting

Sadly, we find ourselves shocked, saddened, and frustrated by another shooting in the nation. The shooting took place following a Bible Study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., which led to the deaths of several individuals. Among the dead is believed to be Clementa Pickney, 41, who was the church’s pastor and a state legislator.

The investigation is ongoing and is focused on the alleged shooter, Dylan Roof, 21. In this difficult time, we each have our questions and frustrations about why someone would do such a thing. Yet, we must use this time, even in our questions, to come together as a community. We must no longer see ourselves as disconnected parts of a whole. We must see ourselves as children of God, loved by God, and connected to one another through Jesus’ love for all people.

We can begin to do this through prayer. What follows are a collection of short prayers for various groups and individuals involved with this tragedy. I invite you to use these prayers during your devotion time and to offer them as your own prayers.

For the Victims’ Families

Lord, we know and trust that in all seasons of life you are there. We ask you, now, to comfort those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy. We ask that you comfort them and give them hope. May they know your love and strength in their questions, sadness, and hurt. May you provide a community of support that will walk with them and allow them to feel your love through them. Through Christ we pray, Amen.

For Mother Emanuel AME

Lord, we pray for Mother Emanuel AME as they grieve and seek to be a witness of your love in this time. We pray for them as they mourn the loss of church members and their pastor. We pray that you will support them and encourage them. Enable them to be an instrument of your amazing love to the people of Charleston, S.C. Give them the eyes to see that you are there and the ability to hear your voice speaking words of hope today. May they be a witness of what your love for all people looks like. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For Charleston, S.C.

Lord, we ask for your peace to come over the community of Charleston, S.C. We ask that you enable the people of this great city to come together and to be a witness of your love for all people. We pray for the pastors, community leaders, and other servants who will be at the forefront of these efforts to be instruments of your love and hope. Give them the words to say and give them the strength to lead. Through Jesus’ name, Amen.

For the Police Officers in Charleston, S.C., and Others Investigating the Case

Lord, we ask your blessings and protection upon the police officers and investigators looking into this case. We ask that you will keep them safe and lead them to the answers in this situation. Help them in this effort through your presence and your strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For the Family of the Alleged Shooter

Lord, often the alleged shooter’s family and friends go unnoticed in these situations. We ask you give them peace and comfort. May that experience your love and grace today. May they seek you in their questions about why someone they love could do something like this. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For the Alleged Shooter

Lord, we are at a loss to understand why someone would commit such a horrible act. We cannot understand why someone would go into a church and to kill people. Yet, Lord, we know you never give up on anyone. In that hope, we pray for the alleged shooter. We pray that he may experience your love and grace. We pray he might repent and find forgiveness in your arms. Through Jesus we pray, Amen.

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