Prayers for Survivors: A Liturgy in Protest of Sexual Violence

 

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Georges Rouault, Miserere Plate 2

 

Silence for Reflection

We rejoice in the knowledge that there is love loud enough, bright enough, powerful enough to shine through the darkness. Love is seen in the support of allies, the gifting of survivor’s stories, the prayers of many. Allow this love to enter into our hearts, give us the ability to know it, and feel it, and allow it to do a work of healing.

 

Invocation Prayer – a communal version of Psalm 5:1-3

Give ear to our words, O God; give heed to our groaning.
Listen to the sound of our cry, O God, we’re calling out to you.
O God, we believe that you hear our voices; we plead our case to you, and watch.

 

Litany of Acknowledgement

We pause this day to recognize there are many among us who have been wounded by violence, exploitation, coercion, or manipulation.
There are many among us who are suffering and grieving.
There are many who need support and healing, who need their voices heard, and their stories acknowledged, and their experiences validated.

The weight of oppression is heavy,
and the effects of trauma are real and long-lasting.

We pause this day to recognize all of us are impacted by the culture of violence.
All of us are impacted by the culture of impatience and hostility in which we live.
By listening to one another, may we become instruments of justice and peace.

 

Scripture Reading – Romans 8:26-27

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

 

Hymn – “When Sorrow Floods the Troubled Heart” – Celebrating Grace Hymnal, #544

When sorrow floods the troubled heart and clouds the mind with fears, 
affliction presses from the soul the bitter flow of tears.
God’s weeping children raise the prayer: “Almighty God, how long
till tears shall cease and silence break and grief be turned to song?”

The voice is stilled, no words express the pain that lingers on;
our prayer becomes a silent sigh; all mortal speech is gone.
The Holy Spirit groans in us with intercession strong;
when tears have ceased and silence breaks, the Spirit stirs a song.

The sting of death cannot forbid the child of God to sing.
The scars we bear may long remain, but resurrection brings
the healing of the broken heart, the righting of the wrong.
Our tears shall cease, our silence breaks in Christ the living Song.

 

Prayer of Petition

God. In a world that has little time for us,
     we want to believe that you have time.
In a culture that too easily dismisses us,
    we want to believe that you care.
Among institutions that are slow to come to our aid,
    we want to believe that you are eager to help.
You are our first and last resort.

Here is our petition:
We ask for comfort and peace.
God, hear our prayer.
We ask for courage and strength.
God, hear our prayer.
We ask for your justice and healing.
God, hear our prayer.
We ask for compassionate listeners.
God, hear our prayer.
We ask for faithful advocates.
God, hear our prayer.
We ask for bold truth-tellers.
God, hear our prayer.
We ask for personal and institutional transformation.
God, hear our prayer.

In the space below, take a few minutes to add your own petitions:

We ask for…

God, hear our prayer. We need you to act here, to act now.

 

Litany of Commitment

As a community of faith we will not forget those who are hurting. We will listen carefully. We understand there are those among us who suffer in silence. And so…

We will not further silence our neighbor with platitudes or should-haves.
We commit to hold their pain gently.
We know we must continue to challenge the power dynamics in our world that make abuse prevalent, even when these dynamics and systems benefit us.

We will not worship ideas or institutions.
We will love God and love our neighbor above all else.
We struggle to understand how the world can be so broken, but we will not let this deter us from seeking justice.
We will not cease praying for your Kingdom come.
We commit ourselves to the journey ahead. Our friends will walk alone no longer.

 

For more resources and information, visit StrongWomenWrite.

Compiled by: Lilly Ettinger Leman, Sharyl West Loeung, Heather Mooney,
Kyndall Rae Rothaus, Rachel Toombs, Natalie Webb, and Emma Wood.