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Worship Resources for Abuse Prevention
Suggested Bible Readings PRAYER

Suggested Bible Readings

Psalm 22:1-2, 14-15 
Psalm 27 
Psalm 55:1-8 
Proverbs 24:11-12 
Isaiah 52:1-2, 7-10 
Zechariah 13:6 
Luke 23:32-38 
Romans 8:31-39



Reader One: 
We gather together aware of the violence around us: 
the physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect of children, 
including abuse by religious leaders; 
the murder and beatings of women by their partners; 
the forced prostitution of young women and men in the U.S. and Canada and other parts of the world; 

Reader Two: 
the sexual harassment of women in the workplace, including the church; 
the exploitation of women and children for profit and pornography; 
the rape of countless women within marriages and dating relationships; 

Reader Three: 
the further violence perpetrated against women in the court system; 
ritual abuse and mutilation of women and children; 
the atrocities suffered by the victims of war. 

(the leader may invite others to name those for whom they wish to pray aloud or silently.) 

ONE: in naming these forms of evil, we feel grief and pain. 

ALL: Loving God, you are the one who desires that all people be brought into right relationship with one another and with you.  Show us the path to justice and fill us with your healing power. 

ALL: May we experience your presence among us as comforter, sustainer and healer. 

(From: Family Violence Packet: A Congregational Resource by the National Ministries ABC/USA).

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Reading based on Matthew 25:35-46

I was hungry and you gave me bread. 
Left: I was thirsty and you gave me drink. 
R: I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 
L: I was naked and you clothed me. 
R: I was sick and you visited me. 
L: I was in prison and you came to me. 
R: I was raped and you stood by me. 
L: I was beaten and you sheltered me. 
R: I was harassed and you helped me act. 
L: I was abused and you intervened. 
R: I was in pain and you comforted me. 
L: I was bleeding and you staunched by wound. 
R: I was orphaned and you mothered me. 
L: I as alone and you took my hand. 
R: I was unworthy and you believed in me. 
L: I was victimized and you empowered me. 
R: I was confused and you brought me insight. 
L: I was silent and you listened to me. 
R: I was seeking and you searched with me. 
L: I was knocking and you opened the door.

(From: Breaking the Silence of Violence by Women in Mission and Ministry Office at the Episcopal
Church Center)

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God of power, steady each of us as we strive to make sense of a fragmented world.  We have lived in terror, when we needed to have safety.  We have lived with betrayal and duplicity, when we needed peace.  We have had to isolate ourselves, when we needed comfort and warmth.  We have hidden, and longed to be free.  Help us to bear these losses, help us to bear the time spent in anguish, help us to bear the reality of the past.  Bring us into that safe place where we may be open to receive the everyday comforts of this life, to love and to be loved, and to experience your grace.  Amen. 

(From: Service of Healing For Traumatic Cruelty, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, PA) 

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Prayers for Our New Creation 

Leader:  God of all power and might who dwells in the heart of our being, come quickly to help us who are assaulted by evil.  Give us eyes to see beyond our tormentors to your loving heart, which broke for us as we were broken.  Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to trust in your mercy toward us. 

People:  Heal us, God, and return us to wholeness by your love. 

Leader:  God of healing, take from us our self-doubt, shame and illness.  Build in us the sure knowledge that we could never be sullied by the acts of others, or by the sacrifice of our bodies and our selves in the face of evil.  Give us the vision to recognize ourselves as you made us: whole, beautiful and clean. 

People:  Bring us to new understanding, and help us see ourselves as You do, in your infinite Love. 

Leader:  God of wisdom, in a world where power is often abused and the victim blamed, we are confused by our own experience.  We have trouble understanding what is our responsibility and what is not.  Help us to give up our self-blame for falling prey to the coercion and tyranny of our abusers.  Give us grace to allow them to carry the responsibility for their own acts.  Help us to accept our limited ability to understand and forgive. 

People:  God, we give our abusers to You. 

Leader:  God of love, allow us to recognize all the ways in which our relationships with You, ourselves and the world have been damaged by our pain.  Deliver us from the burdens of rage and fear.  Guard us lest our own anger cause harm. Hold fast to us, lest we allow our fear to keep us from the company of those who would love us.  Guide us as we seek ways, to heal and make whole the relationships which we value in our lives. 

People:  Deliver us from our isolation, and bring us safely into the company of good and loving people. 

Leader:  God of justice, we remember with pain all the times others might have defended or rescued us, but chose to be silent.  Help us to accept that there is a potential for blindness and cowardice in everyone, and empower us to overcome this potential in ourselves. 

People:  Give us courage and confidence, O God, to bear witness with those who suffer. 

Leader:  God of mercy, you have taught us that when we pray in faith, you will be among us; hear us now as we pray for our own concerns, either silently or aloud. 

People:  (Those present may add their own petitions, to which we may respond)  Hear our prayer. 

Leader:  God of compassion, have mercy on those who are still caught in abusive relationships.  Deliver them quickly from their oppressors.  Frustrate the design of Evil and establish your rule of justice, love and peace throughout the world. 

People:  Hasten the coming of your kingdom of love among us. 

Leader:  God of all comfort, grant peace to those who have died in torment, and bring them to that place where there is no pain or grief.  Let their hearts and souls now ring out in joy to You. 

People:  We pray to you, O God. 

Leader:  Almighty God, who calls new life into being, hear now our cries.  Grant us power to cast off our bonds and walk forth into the light of your loving presence.  Create in us new hearts, renew our spirits and restore us to the joy of living, through Jesus Christ your Son.  Amen. 

(From Service For Healing From Traumatic Cruelty, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, PA) 

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Lot offered his daughters to a hostile crowd to be raped; 

-protect women who find themselves in defenseless situations;

-women who are victims of war and violence;

Jephthah sacrificed his only daughter to fulfill a vow; 

-protect children who are victims of cults and misguided beliefs.

Tamar, the daughter of David, was raped by her half-brother; 

-heal the wounds of children who have been violated by those they trusted.

To protect his male guests, the virgin daughter of an Ephraimite was given to a crowd to be abused; 

-hear the cries of women who are battered and abused in their own homes.

Susanna was falsely accused of infidelity and condemned to death; 

-may women's voices be heard and believed so that justice may serve them.

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