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A Prayer for All God’s Suffering Children

December 30, 2011

[At our Wednesday morning Holy Eucharist on December 28, we remembered the Holy Innocents, whom Herod murdered in his vain attempt to prevent Jesus’ rule. I invite us to pray the following litany together for all God’s children who suffer violence throughout the world.]

God of love, every family in heaven and on earth takes its name from You.                       

We pray for parents, that they may share faith in You with their children and find help and support in Your community.

We pray for children, that with faith in You, they may grow up confident, full of hope, merciful, gentle and creative in all their dealings with others.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. 

Today, we especially remember the violent world in which we live out Your call to discipleship. We ask for courage and strength to show by our lives that Your light overcomes all darkness.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those in our world, who, like the parents in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, have seen their children destroyed by violence or hunger. 

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all children orphaned by war.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. 

We pray for families who are homeless or separated, or who live in unhealthy, brutalizing conditions.                    

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for grace to show mercy and justice, that hope may be restored. 

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that our society will strengthen and support family life, so that children may grow up whole, for the good of the community.                      

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for Your Church, especially our own Diocese and Parish. May we do justice to holiness and Your love, which are stronger and surer than all our evil.                     

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.  

Heavenly Father, whose children suffered at the hands of Herod, though they had done no wrong, give us grace neither to act cruelly, nor to stand indifferently by, but to defend the weak from the tyranny of the strong; in the Name of Jesus Christ, who suffered for us, but who is alive and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

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The image at the top of this posting is the 1824 painting “The Massacre of the Innocents,” by Leon Cogniet (1794-1880).

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