Litany of lament and longing

Public prayer vigil on the evening of Troy Davis' execution

Leader: God of justice and mercy, we gather as people of conscience and as people of faith. In our rich diversity, we assemble tonight in one spirit and with one purpose.

People: We convene our hearts, our hopes and our voices.

Leader: God of justice and mercy, we accompany our brother, Troy Davis, who in these moments faces state sponsored execution.  May he know the fullness of your embrace, of your freedom, of your love.  May he know that his witness, his courage and his faith will not die.

People: We hoist our hearts, our hopes and our voices with Troy’s.

Leader: God of justice and mercy, plant your vision deep within us so that we may recognize Troy’s life and death as an eternal pillar of fire ready to lead us through the night and towards the promised land of beloved community, a land where execution and torture reign no more.

People: Answer our weakness with strength, our fear with courage.

Leader: We pray for the MacPhail and Davis families. While we cannot fathom the depth of their anger and sorrow, we lift them up in prayer and ask that your healing powers continue to work in their lives.

People: We plead for consolation, on their behalf and ours.

Leader: We pray also for the people of Savannah, for the people of Georgia, for the people of our nation. Draw near in this season of pain and division.  Free us from the chains of violence and vengeance.

People: We ask for restoration.

Leader: Enliven our bodies with a harvest of hope. Enlarge this sanctuary of promise—for the canceling of debt and the outbreak of joy—’til it covers the earth and exclaims to the heavens!

People: We cry out for healing!

Leader: Mark all our days with the practice of praise that issues in pardon and mercy unmeasured.

People: Break us, remake us, from blinded might to the Light that foreshadows the Dawn of Delight.

Leader: Gracious Host, we acknowledge the frailty of human judgment. We acknowledge that our highest institutions are fallible, are plagued by racism and blindness, as are we.

People: We concede our need for humility and grace.

Leader: Author of All Breath, revive in us your reverence for life.

People: Cleanse us, mend us, mold and enfold us in bountiful grace for the healing of nations.

Leader: Beloved, sustain the MacPhail family and the Davis family. Establish the hand of every just intention, every envoy of peace, every agent of ransom.

ALL:  Amen. So may it be. For all of the earth, for you and for me.

Ken Sehested, written for a prayer Vigil on behalf of Troy Davis, Wednesday, 21 September 2011, Cathedral of All Souls, Asheville, NC. After a short delay in his scheduled 7 pm execution, Davis was executed by the State of Georgia. Read Amnesty International’s preview of the case.

©Ken Sehested @