Prayers for Boston

The temptation in the face of a tragedy like the one in Boston yesterday is to give in to the understandable sense of helplessness that attends such acts of violence and cowardice. It’s understandable because, in fact, there is very little we can do. Few of us can fly to Boston to comfort those who have been injured or help with the investigation or anything remotely like that. Yes, we can give a donation to the Red Cross and similar organization and in that way contribute, but acts of senseless violence like this threaten to render us mute and impotent.

But while understandable, it’s also not true.

We can do something. We can pray – for those who have lost loved ones, for those who have been injured and those who care for them, for those who are seeking justice, for those who are so warped they can even contemplate let alone execute such acts of terror, for all those who are saddened and dismayed and on the brink of losing hope because of such actions.

Prayer. A small thing, to be sure…but also powerful, as we call upon God to work in and through these situations and in and through us to bring health and healing and peace to world in such desperate need of all three.

I’ve been grateful today for the emails and comments at various places from folks suggesting resources to all of us as we cope and respond to this tragedy. I’ll share below just three.

First, a hymn written by Carolyn Gillette (sung to the tune of “Ah, Holy Jesus”), that we may join our voices to others inviting God’s presence and redemption:

God, we have heard it, sounding in the silence:
News of the children lost to this world’s violence.
Children of promise! Then without a warning,
Loved ones are mourning.

Jesus, you came to bear our human sorrow;
You came to give us hope for each tomorrow.
You are our life, Lord God’s own love revealing.
We need your healing!

Heal us from giving weapons any glory;
Help us, O Prince of Peace, to hear your story;
Help us resist the evil all around here;
May love abound here!

By your own Spirit, give your church a clear voice;
In this world’s violence, help us make a new choice.
Help us to witness to the joy your peace brings,
Until your world sings!

Second, a statement from the Rev. Laura Everett, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Church, responding to yesterdays events, that we may know of the response of Christians in and around Boston and join our prayers to theirs:

“Behold, I will bring health and healing to the city; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.” ~ Jeremiah 33:6


Our hearts are heavy in Massachusetts. On a great day of civic pride and joy, our city of Boston was scarred by violence. We grieve for those who have died. Bodies made to run and cheer were wounded. Our eyes are burned with images of terror in the very streets where we walk. Attend to us, Great Physician. We do not yet now why this has happened. Preserve us from quick judgements, O Lord. Give us wisdom in the days ahead. Reveal to us peace and truth. We sing the African-American spiritual “guide my feet, while I run this race, for I don’t want to run this race in vain.” In this time of uncertainty and fear, we cling to the sure promises of our God that we do not go on in vain.


Even as we grieve, we will remain steadfast in charity, defiant in hope, and constant in prayer. We are grateful for the prayers and support from across the country and the globe. Please continue to pray for the victims. Pray for our first responders, our elected officials, and the media who work with such trauma and return home to their own families. Pray for those without permanent homes who live in our public parks, displaced by this violence in our city. Pray for the marathoners, tourists and visitors far from home.


The Massachusetts Council of Churches joins our prayers with citizens throughout the Commonwealth. In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, may our God indeed bring health and healing to the city.

Third and finally, another fine video from the folks at Work of the People, that we may be reminded of God’s promise to redeem all things and call upon God to do so.

Notes: 1) If you are receiving this post by email you may need to click here to watch the video.
2) Thanks to Paul Rowland and Kathryn Lohre for their suggestions.