An Evening Prayer After the Capitol Riot

Hi all: like many of you I was glued to the screen yesterday afternoon. I was not sure what to do following the events that unfolded throughout the day. More sobering today, we now know four people died and fourteen police were injured. Beyond death and injury, people are unsettled for all kinds of reasons. I thought about releasing some kind of “pastoral wisdom” on the matter today but determined I might do better just to help people pray–not to avoid the pain and problems at hand, but to engage them more deeply. Prayer strengthens our spirit to engage the world with more love and wisdom.

So, here’s a common prayer you might want to use this evening (or at another time). The prayer is based loosely on Evening Prayer from The Book of Common Prayer (1979). Please contact me if I can offer you any pastoral care or support in this solemn moment of history.

— Zen

Common Prayer Following the Capitol Riot

Opening Sentence
One: Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
All: And bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling.

Close Eyes & Keep Silence
Do not stop the thoughts, images, and feelings from the past day from coming to mind. Let them come. After a moment of silence, share with others or write down what has crossed your mind in that moment.

O, merciful God, we confess, though many of us do not know exactly what needs to be confessed. You know.

Some of us confess our anger and hatred toward Donald Trump, and the people who adore and defend him. Some of us confess that we despise Joe Biden along with his companions. Some of us confess that we fear we have not done enough, not loved enough, not prayed enough. Some of us confess that we’ve believed lies and peddled in conspiracies. Some of us confess that we have lost hope in this country and this world.

We confess that the one thing we know we have in common is that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the life you’ve called us to. In our thoughts, deeds, and words. In what we’ve done. In what we’ve left undone. In what we have defended. In what we have shared. In what we have compromised.

Moment to name personal sins, silently or to one another.

We humbly repent of these sins, Lord,
and the sins that we do not know.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy

Have mercy on us, O Lord, and forgive us our sins. May Your Spirit dwell within us, and set us free to love your will and delight in your ways. May our lives bring glory to Your Name. Amen.

All: The Almighty and Merciful Lord grant us absolution and remission of all our sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

One: O God make speed to save us.
All: O Lord make haste to help us.

Glory to the + Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever more shall be. Amen.


Listen: “Psalm 2” by Poor Bishop Hooper


Read: Psalm 2

All: Glory to the + Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever more shall be. Amen.


Lesson 1: Genesis 11:1-9

A Reading from the Book of Genesis

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

A moment for reflection and for sharing of thoughts and questions.

Lesson 2: Revelation 21:22-26, 22:1-4

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it (Rev. 21:22-26).

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (Rev. 22:1-4).

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

A moment for reflection and for sharing of thoughts and questions.


Listen: “O Day of Peace” by Jessie & Zen


Read: Luke 2:29-32 (The Song of Simeon)

One: Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
    which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.

All: Glory to the + Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever more shall be. Amen.

The Prayers

People may wish to stand or kneel during these common prayers.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory.
Forever and ever. Amen.

A Litany for the Day
Lord, into our weariness,
Breathe your breath of life.
Lord, into our anger and fear,
Speak your blessed peace.
Lord, into our broken systems,
Send your healing Spirit.
Lord, into our fractured nation,
Give your gift of grace.
Lord, into our unknown future,
Guide us by your holy flame.

Beloved Christ, send your Spirit
And sanctify us for your glory.
Beloved Christ, through your body,
Save us from all our sins.
Beloved Christ, with your blood,
Inebriate us with faith, hope, and love.
Beloved Christ, in the waters of your baptism,
Wash us, refresh us, and give us newness of life.
Beloved Christ, through your weakness,
Strengthen us in gentleness for the world.
Beloved Christ, with your goodness,
Hear our prayers with compassion.
Beloved Christ, in your nail-scarred hands,
Hold us in our own pain and suffering.
Beloved Christ, who descended to hell for us,
Suffer us not to be separated from you.
Beloved Christ, in your faithfulness,
Defend us from the malicious enemy of sin.
Beloved Christ, in your eternal life,
Call me now and even in death.
Beloved Christ, Word made flesh,
Bid me come unto you.
Beloved Christ, from your throne,
Receive the praise of all your saints,
Forever and ever.

Spirit of God, you are powerful and kind. Lead us into holy living. Make us wise at all times, and fill us to overflowing with your fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Groan on our behalf when we do not know how to pray. And transform our minds, so that we do not repeat the patterns of this broken world, but subvert them with the perfect pattern of death and resurrection. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith: Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen

Prayer Requests
A time for sharing prayer requests, especially those coming from the list you made at the beginning of this time of prayer.

Someone ought to keep a list of the requests; and one or more people should pray for the others requests by name.

• For those who died at the riot.
• For those who were harmed physically and mentally at the riot.
• For the nation to find a way toward genuine healing.
• For politicians to act responsibly and speak honestly.

Prayer for Mission
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

General Thanksgiving
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Final Word

One: The peace of Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.

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