A prayer vigil is a predetermined amount of time that a group of people devote entirely to prayer. A person representing a church or group of churches usually organizes a prayer vigil.
Prayer vigils often have a specific goal as the object of the prayer. Missions, special events, city or community challenges, political concerns, or sudden tragedies can all be reasons for organizing a prayer vigil. At Emmaus, we plan a prayer vigil on Good Friday to remember Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane with his disciples before his death. We also remember others in our church and community whose prayer requests we pray for. Prayers are requested for health and healing, relationships with family members, thankfulness to God and help with forgiveness of others, to name a few. Prayer vigils are often held on church property in a designated area, which keeps praying intentional and focused. We can also pray in our homes on our own or with others. During this time we intentionally set aside personal activities and choose a quiet time and place in our own homes in order to meet with God in prayer.
TODAY we share a PRAYER VIGIL GUIDE for LAMENT around the events of this past week in our state and our country. WE CRY OUT and WE LISTEN.
I have prepared a Prayer Guide for you to follow as you wish, which will include scripture to read and reflect upon (Lectio Divina) while you listen for God’s loving voice.
A PRAYER OF LAMENT
Enter and Prepare your space to pray 3 minutes
Bring your Bible, some paper and a pen to journal if you wish. You may choose to light a candle and lower the lighting in your room. Make yourself comfortable in your prayer space.
Praying with Scripture 15 minutes
Read the following scriptures from Habakkuk 1:1-4 and Psalm 130:1-5 out loud, slowly, three times with extended periods of silence between each reading. Listen. Breathe. Consider reflecting on the word(s) or phrase(s) of the scripture that “shimmer” for you or speak directly to you. What is God asking you to pay attention to at this moment?
How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence! “ I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence, I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given.
From the depths of despair, O lord, I call for your help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on God. I have put my hope in God’s word.
Praying 30 minutes
WE cry out to you in this time of crisis. We cry out LORD, LORD HAVE YOU FORSAKEN US? LORD, LORD, HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ME?
LORD, CAN YOU HEAR US? WE are hungry for justice, for relief, for YOUR love. Speak to us in our pain.
WE PRAY for George Floyd’s family as they grieve his death and loss of his life. May God comfort them in Jesus’ embrace of PEACE beyond all understanding.
WE PRAY for all people of color and nations as they continue to experience hate, discrimination, indignity and injustice. WE PRAY for eyes to see that you have created each one of your children in YOUR OWN IMAGE.
WE PRAY for recognition, acknowledgement and accountability in our own hearts for our own actions or inaction that perpetuates racism in our lives together. WE PRAY for YOUR LOVE to conquer all fear and hate.
WE PRAY for those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd. WE PRAY for the peaceful protesters who are marching in solidarity against racism to be heard and seen without violence. WE PRAY for those who seek to incite violence in this time of chaos.
OUR PRAYER is that YOU, our GOD, would infuse PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS and SELF-CONTROL in our communities filled with fear and violence. Move us to YOUR kingdom of unity for all.
WE PRAY for the Minneapolis police officers who killed George Floyd and for those police officers who stood by and watched. And we pray for their families. We pray for the entire Minneapolis Police Force, State Troopers and National Guard members and their families.
WE PRAY for the men and women who are serving in cities all over this country as police protection; where protests, rioting and looting have grown as people mourn the death of George Floyd and to speak out against racism.
O GOD instill compassion in those who serve. May your Holy Spirit bring PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS AND SELF CONTROL to our streets.
WE PRAY for the neighborhood business owners who have had their buildings looted, damaged or destroyed by fire.
WE PRAY for community members who are not only mourning the loss of a friend, but have lost resources and access to help.
WE PRAY for the kids of the community who have no one and nowhere to go for help. WE PRAY for the children and families that have lost access to food, groceries and supplies and ways to travel to obtain them.
WE PRAY that each would know the promise of YOUR FAITHFULNESS in times of trouble and that YOU are always with us. We are never alone.
O GOD in the midst of great pain and sorrow may we see a future of understanding, hope and JOY in YOU. In this crisis, do not let us lose sight of YOUR FACE and the faces of each other.
WE PRAY for our leaders, Mayors Frey and Carter, Governor Walz, President Trump, and other public officials. Give their leadership humility and direction to listen first to understand, peace and loving kindness to guide others toward learning and support of our humanity.
HOLY LOVING GOD, thank you for listening to and hearing us. We offer ourselves in worship and love to you. We affirm our trust in you. Lord help us to intervene, to act as the hands and feet of Jesus.
God rescue us from this time of trouble.
O GOD, Do not abandon us here. Show up. Heal us. Make all things new.
Use this prayer time as an opportunity to journal in response to the scripture reading and reflection upon the words that “shimmer” for you in the scripture. You may use this time to journal about anything the Holy Spirit is sharing with you.
When there is more than one person in your prayer space, some have chosen to pray together aloud or in silence. Many will end the hour praying together aloud the Lord’s Prayer.
Praying with Scripture 5 minutes
Read the scripture from Psalm 130: 1-5 one more time out loud, s.l.o.w.l.y., Leave plenty of room for silence.
If there are others present with you in your prayer space you may wish to close with this prayer together aloud.
The Lord’s Prayer 2 minutes
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours. Now and Forever. Amen.