Lament and Prayer for Sexual Abuse Victims in the SBC
Written by Bethany Clark
“I am beginning to see that much of praying is grieving”-Henri Nouwen
Creator, we acknowledge and welcome your presence here with us. Jesus, as you wept with Mary & Martha, we know you grieve with the victims and survivors of sexual abuse.
Spirit of God, intercede for us as we pray.
Here we are with heavy hearts, bringing our sorrows, confusion, anger, and mourning to you.We don’t come with obligatory “thoughts and prayers” but we come because where else would we go? You hold the words of Life. You are acquainted with sorrow and you are not uncomfortable with our grief.
Jesus as you left this earth you called your followers to live in a new kingdom of love, peace, justice, and healing. Yet men have loved power more than people. Where you demonstrated compassion, leaders in the SBC, and beyond, have abused those in their care. Instead of nurturing truth and justice, there has been a culture of silence and secrets.Injustices have been covered up and victims have been shamed and silenced.
God of the outcast and defender of the weak - We are angry. We are sad. We echo the psalmist who cried out “how long O Lord?” Do you hear your children who have suffered in silence?
We grieve and lament with Christa Brown, Tiffany Thigpen, Jules Woodson, Jennifer Lyell, Hannah-Kate Williams, Megan Lively - and so many others - who have had to fight to be heard and believed, as well as those who feared speaking out. We are angry over the way they have been abused, slandered, and mistreated in SBC churches, seminaries, and committees.
With the ones who have been hurt by the very people who were supposed to care for them, with those who have been physically, emotionally, and spiritually abused, we cry out.With those who no longer feel safe in a place where they should find God’s love, we grieve.Oh God, it should not be this way among those who call themselves your followers. We recognize that the release of this report may cause survivors and victims to relive their trauma. Holy Spirit, we pray you surround them with love, support, care, and protection.
We groan along with Creation, waiting for the day when you will make all things right. Until then we pray for an end to systems and structures that have allowed abuses of power to be perpetuated and covered up for far too long. Grant your people courage and wisdom. May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Deliver us from evil. May we live in the light, knowing your forgiveness and power and walking in the way of Jesus - the way of love.
It is in his name and for his sake that we pray and grieve. Amen.