Prayer for Peace and Justice: Honoring the Women in Our Lives

On March 27, we welcomed the Georgetown Sexual Assault Peer Educators as our special guest at Chaplains’ Tea. After the tea, Rev. Olivia Lane delivered the following prayer for peace and justice, honoring both the month of March as Women’s History Month and the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

As women’s history month and draws to a close as we move through the final days of the Lenten journey and toward the cross, I am reminded of the witness of women, their actions, their voices, their courage to stay close in to grief and death, their willingness to step into the apparent brokenness of the redemption narrative, and believe that kingdom work and the will of God is made known regardless of our interpretation of the events. Today I offer prayers for all those who suffer as a result of the brokenness of our world, especially as it relates to sexual violence and harassment, and I give thanks for those who hold space for hope and an imagination that God’s peace and justice are a part of human existence no matter what the world says.

Let us pray.

God of our mothers, we pray for all the women and girls who are survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. We bravely choose to share our stories in person and by posting. We bravely choose to keep our stories to ourselves for reasons of our own. And we walk alongside survivors whose suppressed memories have been triggered by media, thoughtlessness, and places we pretend are safe. We own our experiences and stories. We did nothing wrong, and we release all shame—shame that was never ours to begin with.

C. God of love and mercy, hear our prayer.

God of truth, as we remember our identities as precious and beloved, we release any shame we were told is ours. In our own time and way, we release the people who didn’t believe us or tried to minimize the truth. We did nothing wrong, and we own the truth.

C. God of love and mercy, hear our prayer.

God of justice, we pray that those who harassed or assaulted us will come to understand the evil that they did, and that they will never do it again. And Lord God, our prayer calls us to action. We will use our voices. We will work to stop lawmakers and others from minimizing assault and blaming victims. We did nothing wrong, and we will work for change.

C. God of love and mercy, hear our prayer.

God of courage, we give thanks for all those who work to change a culture that is supremely bent away from your loving mercy and care for all people, and we thank you for the witness of people across the ages who engage our imagination around justice and spur on your good work in the world.

C. God of love and mercy, hear our prayer.

God of wisdom, help us spread knowledge about what it means to live in a rape culture. Help us to stand firm in our faith and embolden us to work to end sexual violence, relationship violence, and intimidation whenever it occurs in our churches and places of worship, our communities, and the world.

C. God of love and mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

Portions of this prayer drawn from a litany by the Women of the ELCA in response to #MeToo.