A Responsive Prayer Not To Just Pray

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Eternal God,

You alone are Just and Righteous and Holy.

You alone are Good, Right, and Perfect.

You tells us that your eyes are on the righteous and that you hear our prayers (1 Peter 3:12) and that You the Spirit even helps us when we don’t know what to pray (Romans 8:26-27).

So we “approach Your throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)

We pray to You, today to bring about Your Shalom; peace and flourishing for all Your children; that your will be done here and now as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10).

And we acknowledge that we are your ambassadors in and a broken and hurting world.

So we pray that we not merely pray to you, O God, to end war;

For we know that You have made the world in such a way that we must find our own path to peace: with You, within ourselves and with our neighbors.

As you have reconciled your people to yourself, we ask that you would equip and embolden us as your ministers of reconciliation here and now.

We do not merely pray that You, O God, would end starvation; For You have already given us the resources to feed the entire world, if we would only use them wisely.

We ask for wisdom with the resources you have given your people; that we would use them to further Your kingdom rather than our own.

We do not merely pray that You, O God, root out prejudice; For You have already given us eyes with which to see the good in all people, if we would only use them rightly.

You have shown us, O God, “what is good” and what You require of us: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You, our God” (Micah 6:8).

Empower us, O God, to humbly love the strangers in our midst, because we were once strangers to You (Deuteronomy 10:19).

Make us more like You, O God, who shows no favoritism to any country or people (Acts 10:34), protect us from believing that our country, our skin, or our position in society makes us any better than anyone else.

Remind us, O God, that Love does no wrong to a neighbor (Romans 13:10), and let us not justify our lack of love by asking: “who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29), but form us into a people that owes nothing to anyone but Love (Romans 13:8).

We do not merely pray that You, O God, would end despair; For You have already given us the power to clear away slums and to give hope, if we would only use our power justly.

God, you have shown us that where your people are, the ideal is that there should be no needy people among us (Acts 4:34). Help us understand that we are stewards of Your resources and to use them wisely so that people will see our generosity and praise You (2 Corinthians 9:13).

We do not merely pray that You, O God, would end disease; For You have already given us great minds with which to search out cures and healing, if we would only use them constructively.

God, grant us the humble confidence to stand against systems which enable those who oppress the poor to increase their own wealth (Proverbs 22:16).

We pray to You, O God, for strength, determination and will power,

To do and not just ask,

To become instead of merely to wish.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10)

For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. (Matthew 6:13)

Amen.

(Adapted from a prayer by Jack Riemer featured at Social Justice Resource Center)

A Prayer for Indigenous People's Day

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“O Great Spirit, God of every people and every tribe,
we come to you as your many children,
to ask for your forgiveness and guidance.

Forgive us for the colonialism that stains our past,
the ignorance that allowed us to think
that we could claim another’s home for our own.
Heal us of this history.

Remind us that none of us were discovered
since none of us were lost,
but that we are all gathered within the sacred circle of your community.

Guide us through your wisdom to restore the truth of our heritage.
Help us to confront the racism that divides us
as we confess the pain it has caused to the human family.

Call us to kinship.
Mend the hoop of our hearts
and let us live in justice and peace,
through Jesus Christ, the One who came
that all people might live in dignity.

Amen”

(from the Episcopal Church: Resources on the Doctrine of Discovery) #indigenouspeoplesday

Borrowed from All Souls Church’s Facebook feed.

Wednesday Morning

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“Lord God,

You have given me another day,

a day to live in your service

and for the good of my fellow people.

I am indeed a poor tool in your hand

and deserving to be cast aside.

Forgive me all my sins for Jesus’ sake,

and by your Spirit, grant me fitness for the work of today.

I ask you to make me mindful, dear Lord,

that I am but a stranger and a pilgrim in this present world.

Let me not devote my efforts today to purposes unworthy of you;

let me not gather treasures merely for this world;

let me not serve money and greed.

This life is but a vain show; let me not search for an abiding city here.

But, Lord, fasten my heart and hope on the life that is in you,

and let my strivings and desires be directed to the treasure of your Love.

As long as I am in the land of my pilgrimage,

hold my hand; keep me from every path that strays.

If I should stumble in sinful weakness, grant me repentance and faith.

For Jesus’ sake.

Amen.”

(taken from the 1951 Lutheran Book of Prayer)

A Prayer For Peace

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Eternal God,

in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn

but the sword of righteousness,

no strength known

but the strength of love:

So mightily spread abroad your Spirit,

that all peoples may be gathered

under the banner of the Prince of Peace,

as children of one Father;

to whom be dominion and glory,

now and for ever.

Amen.

(taken from The Book of Common Prayer online edition)

Identity In Christ: A Responsive Prayer

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Eternal God,

Uncreated Creator,

Life-giver and Sustainer,

You created us in your image.

From the beginning, you made us to show the world who you are and what you are like.

To find our identity in you.

From the beginning, you blessed so that we would be blessings. (Genesis 12:2)

To find our identity in you.

And yet we stray.

Prone to wander, Lord we feel it.

When Jesus went out to John to be baptized (Matthew 3:13-17),

he did not do so out of repentance.

But to identify with his people.

God dwelt among us.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him (John 1:10).

But, you have redeemed a people for yourself.

You have blessed us to be a blessing.

Through the work of You the Holy Spirit, we are united to You the Son

so that what is true of Jesus is true of us.

We find our identity in Jesus.

When Jesus went out to John to be baptized,

the skies parted, the Spirit descended like a dove, and the Father’s voice said:

You are my child and I am well-pleased.

Lord, help us to believe this about ourselves.

We are your children and your are well-pleased with us.

Even when we are not.

If God is for us, who can be against us?

What shall separate us from the love of God in Christ?

Nothing.

Shall trouble?

No.

Hardship?

No.

Persecution?

No.

Famine?

No.

Nakedness?

No.

Danger?

No.

or sword?

Not even swords shall separate us from the love of God in Christ. (Romans 8)

We know that “whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)

After Jesus was baptized, You the Spirit sent him to be tempted, and Satan took the chance to question Jesus’ identity (Matthew 4:1-11).

Satan tested: If you are really are the Son of God . . .

The world asks the same question to us: Are you really loved by God?

Yes.

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3).

We are God’s children and He is well-pleased with us.

We are convinced that nothing will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ.

Not death, nor life,

Neither angels, nor demons,

Neither the present, nor the future,

Nor any powers, neither height nor depth,

Nor anything else in all creation

will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ. (Romans 8:38-39)

Prayers of the People Concerning Immigrants and Refugees

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Prayers of the People Concerning Immigrants and Refugees (Courtesy of the Anglican Immigrant Initiative).

The Deacon or other person appointed says these prayers with the people responding to each petition – “Hear our prayer.” 

 Let us pray for the Church and for the world.

 Almighty and ever-living God you command us to offer prayers and supplications and to give thanks for all people. We humbly ask you to receive our prayers and petitions on behalf of all immigrants and refugees throughout the world. 

 Reader:Lord in your mercy.

People:Hear our prayer. 

 Dear Lord, we pray that you will lead the nations of the world in the ways of righteousness and truth. So guide and direct our leaders, in this and every land, in the ways of wisdom and compassion, that they will properly balance the need to protect our citizens with the need to honor and respect the dignity of every human being. 

 Reader:Lord in your mercy.

People:Hear our prayer. 

 Give grace, O Heavenly Father, to all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, and especially to your servant Archbishop Beach, so to guide and direct this Province in the ways of justice and peace modeling what it means to love you with our whole heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Reader: Lord in your mercy.

People: Hear our prayer. 

 Almighty and merciful Lord, we are taught in your holy Word to treat the sojourner among us with kindness and respect, remembering how the People of Israel were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34) Inspire us to reach out, in obedience to your Word, respecting and welcoming the sojourner in our midst. 

Reader: Lord in your mercy.

People: Hear our prayer. 

 Heavenly Father, we remember before you those families who have been separated at our boarders.  We pray for their protection and reunification. 

 Reader: Lord in your mercy.

People: Hear our prayer. 

 Additional prayers may be added. The Celebrant concludes with the following prayer

 Heavenly Father, grant these our prayers for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

  • Visit the Anglican Initiative website.

A Prayer For My Hospice Coworkers

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Each morning I open the day at the office with a meditation. Here is a prayer I wrote for my coworkers.

Gracious God,

Creator and Sustainer;

Eternal Three In One;

In humble confidence we ask that you would hear our prayers;

Meet us where we are but don’t leave us there.

We ask that you would make us more like Jesus; drawing us closer to Him,

But we do so hesitantly, knowing we often grow most in times of struggle.

We do not ask for struggle but for the grace to meet it with your grace when it comes.

You spoke and out of nothing came everything;

there is no problem we will face that is too big for you;

and yet you have named every star;

know the grains of sand on the seashore;

the number of hairs upon our heads;

no detail of our life is too small for your care;

As we seek to serve others, we ask that you would fuel us with gratitude;

we ask for the joy of your salvation

that we may walk among the hurting, sowing your healing. 

May we breathe in Your Love and exhale your goodness. 

As it was in the beginning,

is today,

and shall be forever.

Amen.

God, Please Don't Let Me Die A Billionaire

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News outlets have confirmed the death of “David Koch, conservative donor and philanthropist and conservative political activist, has died at age 79.

Here is a prayer of confused lament in response to this news.

A Prayer of Confused Lament in Remembrance of Deceased Billionaires.

Heavenly Father,

Glorious Son,

Empowering Spirit,

Three in One.

As it was in the Beginning.

Is Now, and Forever will be.

Three in One existing in perfect forever-communion.

Needing no one else.

And yet, out of the overflow of your Love, you created mankind.

You created us.

You created me.

to enter into Communion with you, our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.

You created us to trust in you completely and even told us what would happen when we would choose not to believe you. But like a child touching the stove because we must see for ourselves; because we don’t yet believe our parent has my best interest at heart; because we trust ourselves;

. . . reaches out . . .

(. . . and I burn myself . . . )

and ate the fruit God said not to.

Gracious God, we know that Adam and Eve are all of us.

Prone to wander, Lord we feel it.

Prone to leave the God we love.

The God who is Love.

Abba, Father, you know how fickle we are and how much money can mean to us. What are we to think of someone who died with so much of it? What are we to think of ourselves that we can be so jealous of someone who died with so much. Someone who died. Just like we will.

Someone who died.

Just like I will.

Every day, we are tested on what we will trust.

And so often I fail.

We all want security.

We all want some sense of identity.

We just want to belong.

Is it too much to ask for joy.

And it sure seems like, with enough money, I could have all of those things.

So what am I supposed to pray for at the death of another person who had so much and pursued their own personal agenda

(. . . just like I know I would . . )

I can’t help but ask what we will trust.

I can’t help but ask what I trust.

You tell us that we can’t serve you and money (Matthew 6:24). But as Brother Bob reminds us, “You Gotta Serve Somebody,” and far too often, we trust money.

Because far too often . . .

I trust money.

Because money can buy us chariots and and horses (Psalm 20:7).

Because when our cupboards are full, we are comfortable. And that’s when I know I’ve made it. That it’s all been worth it.

But, Gracious God, you know that when we are comfortable, we become complacent.

And when we are complacent, that means that we are trusting something other than you. I don’t know what to pray when it seems like the American Culture I was raised into teaches me to trust things other than you yet also claims to speak for you.

The voice I hear when I know it’s You doesn’t sound like the one when school districts make everyone say empty allegiance to you.

Please help me discern.

Please help me listen to you, because I was born into a culture that taught me to pursue the dream of comfort.

That’s success.

That’s what it’s all for. The long days. The lost nights. The abandoned relationships.

That’s what we are taught we are working for.

That’s what we’re taught we are looking for.

We are born believing that money can provide more than you.

And sometimes I believe the lie.

We are taught to pursue money.

We are taught to hoard money.

We make celebrities of the people who can hoard the most. Believing that we should emulate them. Because comfort means success.

But, Dangerous God, you do not call your people to pursue comfort.

And you do not reward hoarding.

You tell us that you’ll bless the generous “because they share their food with the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). You tell us to “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). You tell us to give, not hoard if we can if we can give it away (Proverbs 3:27-28).

God, I know you understand that there are times when I can’t give.

But you also know that most of the time, it’s just that I won’t.

You tell us that it is the emptiest hand which clings to the Cross most tightly.

But it doesn’t seem that way.

God, I know you already know this, and I hope it’s not being a tattle tail, because I discipline my kids for that, but:

people come into your churches and teach us that money is a sign of your approval; your blessing. And that it honors you if I hoard just enough of it to make sure that I can comfortably retire. And many people who claim to speak for you are telling me that since I worked so hard for mine other people should work even harder for theirs and that, in the end, I don’t really have to share.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.

Prone to leave the God I love.

Prone to trust the gift instead of the Giver.

God, you do not tell us that money is evil, but that the love of it sure is (1 Timothy 6:10).

You tell us to trust in you with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5-6) and you tell us to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). You tell us that you do not rejoice at the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 33:11) and you remind us that you don’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).

God, I know that you have taught me that an implication of Christian Community is that there would be no needy among us (Acts 4:34). The billionaires know this because they separate themselves. They don’t live next to people who won’t survive without their help. They seclude themselves from the need of everyday people.

Lord, forgive me for wanting that.

Forgive me for not knowing what to pray at the death of a billionaire..

It is only natural to mourn death. Even someone I did not know. But It is so easy to be envious of a family that will inherit so much when it feels like I have to work for so little.

Guard me from the root of envy that their luxury was not mine.

Protect me from believing that they were worth more because they had more money.

Shield me from believing that money equaled importance.

Lord, it’s easy to be jealous of the wealthy.

There is so much I worry about they don’t.

I know you tell me not to be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6-7), even including what I’ll eat or wear (Matthew 6:25-34), but just a little more money would sure calm my nerves. I know you know that. And it still seems like you don’t give it to me.

Another billionaire has died and I don’t know what to think of anyone who would keep that much money for themselves when there is so much want.

So much need.

So much injustice.

So much good to do.

So much wasted in the pursuit of human glory.

So much wasted.

So much idolatry.

God, I take comfort in knowing that you know what I’m praying even when I don’t because of your love through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). It is not mine to presume the state of another man’s soul. But I know how hard it is to trust you completely when someone has more than enough. Even when I have what I feel to be so little. I don’t know what it’s like to have my every desire available or my every want fulfilled. I worry about my kids. I lose sleep wanting the best for them. I can’t imagine what it might be like having so much money that ever goes away.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24).

I can only imagine how hard it must be to have so much and yet truly know I had so little.

I don’t know what to think upon the death of a billionaire except:

“Dear Lord, Please Don't Let Me Die A Billionaire.

Prayer of St. Francis

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The Peace Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.


According to Ourcatholicprayers.com: “The Prayer of St. Francis is one of the best known and best loved prayers in the world today. Attributed traditionally to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), pictured above, its actual origins are much more recent. Nonethless it beautifully reflects his devotion to God!”

A Litany For Weeping

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A Litany For Weeping by Kaitlin Curtice. Sojo.net. 11.08.18

We think that there are no more tears left,
that we can’t,
as a people,
possibly mourn this deeply, this often.

So we breathe and remember:
Jesus wept.

We are numb,
staggering with disbelief,
scared and wondering if shalom
still exists.

So we breathe and remember:
Jesus wept.

We try to make sense of hate,
try to trace the line
of white supremacy.

We see that though we’ve come so far,
it’s not so far that we’ve come.

So we breathe and remember:
Jesus wept.

We name those who have died
from unjust institutions
and the carrying on of hate.

We raise our fists and
beat our chests.

So we breathe and remember:
Jesus wept.

We hope to be brave,
but we are tired.
We hope for freedom,
but there are so many in shackles.

So we breathe and remember:
Jesus wept.

We fight with weapons of
peace and humility.
We fight with the power
of listening.

We breathe and remember:
Jesus wept.

And when tomorrow comes,
and the day is new,
we cannot deny reality.

We live our own belovedness,
and the belovedness of others.

So today, in all our places, we breathe and remember:
Jesus wept.
And so we breathe and weep with him.


A Litany For Gun Violence

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[Edited to add the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.]

We lament, pray, and discern what actionable steps we are called to take as followers of Jesus.

Litany in the Wake of a Mass Shooting

God of peace, we remember all those who have died in incidents of mass gun violence in this nation’s public and private spaces.

Six dead at the Wisconsin Sikh Temple.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Twelve dead at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Twenty-eight dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Six dead at Santa Monica College, California.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Seven dead at a Hialeah, Florida apartment complex.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Thirteen dead at the Washington Navy Yard.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead at Fort Hood, Texas.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Seven dead in Isla Vista, near UC Santa Barbara.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Five dead at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Washington.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Six dead in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Nine dead at Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Sixteen dead at a San Bernardino, California office.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Ten dead at Umpqua Community College, Oregon.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Six dead in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead at a Hesston, Kansas office.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Five dead at a Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania backyard party.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Fifty dead at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Five dead at Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Five dead at Fort Lauderdale Airport.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead in Fresno, California.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Eight dead in Lincoln County, Mississippi.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead at an Eaton Township, Pennsylvania supermarket.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Nine dead at a Plano, Texas football-watching party.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Fifty-nine dead at a Las Vegas, Nevada concert.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Twenty-seven dead at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Seventeen dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Five dead at the Veterans Home in Yountville, California.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead at a Nashville, Tennessee Waffle House.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Ten dead at Santa Fe High School, Texas.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Five dead at the Capital Gazette Newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead at the Fifth Third Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead at a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen, Maryland.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Eleven dead at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Thirteen dead at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Five dead at a bank in Sebring, Florida.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Five dead at their homes in Ascension and Livingston parishes, Louisiana.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Six dead at an industrial park in Aurora, Illinois.
Give to the departed eternal rest
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead at a home in Clinton, Mississippi.
Give to the departed eternal rest
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead in Solon Township, Michigan.
Give to the departed eternal rest
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Thirteen dead at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Give to the departed eternal rest
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Four dead at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California.
Give to the departed eternal rest
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Twenty dead and twenty six injured at Walmart in El Paso, Texas. 
Give to the departed eternal rest
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

Nine dead and twenty six injured in Dayton, Ohio. 
Give to the departed eternal rest
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

All those who have died in any incident of gun violence.
Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

For survivors of gun violence.
Grant them comfort and healing.
Hear us, Lord.

For those who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
Grant them peace.
Hear us, Lord.

For those first responders who care for victims of gun violence.
Protect and strengthen them.
Hear us, Lord.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

[from Bishops United Against Gun Violence]