I prayed the following prayer during the services at my church. I also spoke at length about the attacks in my sermon, which I’ll post shortly.
Almighty God, our refuge and strength, our very present help in time of need: Our hearts are troubled once again by the brazen evil and violence of fanatical men, eager to die in their conspiracy to kill unarmed civilians—mothers, fathers, and children, the young and the old, the rich and the poor—people who share one thing in common: they did nothing whatsoever to provoke or harm the killers who aimed to harm them. We are heartbroken, indignant, filled with righteous anger at this affront to the decency of civilized people. We implore you, God, to ensure that everyone involved in this plot will be found and punished, according to the just authority that you ordained governments to have. Guide the French government, guide and protect its police, its intelligence personnel, and its military forces as they do their good and urgent work to protect innocent French people from further harm. Enable all nations of good will, including the United States, to join them in this just cause and redouble their efforts to eliminate the threat of terrorism wherever it exists.
We pray that justice will be done, even as we remember that vengeance belongs to you, and it is yours to repay. Remind us that you alone will ensure that justice is fully and finally done.
We pray for the families of all the victims: comfort them, strengthen them, give them the peace that surpasses all understanding. We pray for Muslims of good faith who also want peace and abhor the evil that’s been done in their name. Keep them safe. We pray that Muslims around the world will find the love and mercy of your Son Jesus. And we pray for our enemies: We know your grace has the power to soften the hardest heart. Please make it so. Enable them to repent and throw themselves at your mercy, O God.
Give us, who are far from this latest terror attack, the assurance of knowing that our lives are in your hand: that whether we live or die, nothing separates us from your great love; that our time is short and our mission urgent to spread the message of the good news of your Son Jesus.
Make Hampton United Methodist successful in this task.
We pray this in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.