Prayer After a Terrorist Attack …

Loving Father,

We have heard terrible news –

People killed without warning, and again

We ask ourselves how could one human being

Do this to other human beings?

What do they hope to achieve by such violence?

How did their hearts get so dark

That they ended up doing this?

We’ve seen it too often –

Breaking News, early reports of casualties,

Shaky film on social media, a death toll

We wish would stop rising, sirens and armed police, panic

People running in all directions…

Then the void gets filled with goodness –

#safespace #shelterhere, taxi drivers

Turning off the meter, blood donations, Good Samaritans

Staying with an injured one, finding a comforting word;

flowers piling up near the police tape,

softening the space, transforming it with words and beauty,

candles and silence, remembrance, tearful stories

of lives cut off with so much to offer.

Some people pray, some people feel that prayers

Are old fashioned, what’s the point?

Do something practical to help, if you can.

But in this place, Lord, we cling to our prayers,

They help us to think less of ourselves and more of others,

We hope that they will help the people

Caught up in the violence. We pray for the repose

Of those who have died, may they rest in peace.

We pray for the injured and the traumatised,

We pray for those who saw things that no-one should see,

We pray for the police, the paramedics, the nurses, the doctors,

Who rush into danger when everybody else is fleeing,

Who put themselves at risk to keep us safe,

Who bind up wounds and try to heal broken bodies and spirits.

We pray for all those in the weeks, months, and years to come

Who will be haunted by what they have gone through.

We pray for those who will try to restore in them some faith

In humanity, in goodness, in everyday life.

And dare we pray for the attackers?

The person, the people, who did this? Do they get our prayers?

Today it seems very raw and we’re not sure –

But Jesus, your Son, the human face of God,

Said something astonishing – “love your enemies,” he said.

We’ve struggled from the beginning to do it

But if God is love then that love is for everybody.

Help us today, when the sky is dark,

Not to give in to anger, or feel hate for those

Who did this terrible thing, but to keep believing

That love, not hate, is the only way.

We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Raymond Friel



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