The following prayers for victims of violence and terror were written for the World Council of Churches following the bomb attack and killings in Norway on Friday 22 July 2011. They have been shared through social media and can be freely adapted for use in local contexts.
As we pray in Christ’s name for people in one country at a time of national distress, we also hold the whole of God’s Oikoumene in prayer, praying that violence may be overcome and the path to just peace be found.God of life, God of love:
In the face of unbearable tragedy we turn to you;
hear our cry, listen to our prayers, to our words, to our silence ...
God of healing, God of mercy:
Hear our prayers for the people of Norway;
for all in deep distress, for all who grieve, for the injured and the shocked, for those in despair.
May they be cared for and comforted.
For all in the emergency services working long hours to search, to listen, to care, to protect, to heal.
May they be given strength and also find support.
God of mercy, God of peace:
Hear our prayers for all around the world facing terror and unspeakable violence;
May violence be overcome and the path to peace be found.
All human life is fragile, each of us is precious in your eyes,
Teach us to value one another as you value us.
God of justice, God of courage:
We pray for all leaders in times of crisis,
That they may act for the common good, offering hope and not fear.
God of courage, God of transformation:
We pray for our churches,
That they may be places of openness and forgiveness, planting the values of peace and justice in society.
Transform all fundamentalism and vengeance into attitudes that make for reconciliation.
May we learn to be children of your kingdom of love.
God of all grace and all thankfulness:
In gratitude we pray, giving thanks for the prayers and encouragement which come from so many people and places at this time of suffering, pain and mourning. We learn global solidarity in a time of crisis; may we not forget one another in less stressful times ahead.
These prayers and the heavy silence of our hearts we offer in the name of your son Jesus Christ who trod the path of peace in the face of violence.