A Prayer for Women and Survivors
By Ellie Wilber
We feel afraid, angry, and powerless. We are hearing, from so many voices, that we do not have value in this society. That if we speak up we will not be heard. That our bodies are not our own and violations of them will go without consequence.
In a society that considered women property, you called us Daughter of Abraham, naming us equal to men in our relationship with God.
In a society where a good Rabbi would consider it disreputable to speak to a woman in public, you, a Rabbi, spoke to women in public.
At a time when it was considered "obscene" to teach women the scriptures, you taught women.
At a time when only men were allowed to participate in religious life, you partnered with women in your ministry.
When men who held power offered condemnation and death, you, Jesus offered protection, dignity, and life. And when men called her unclean and untouchable, you called her clean, and you touched her.
…when men called her unclean and untouchable, you called her clean, and you touched her.
You who were abused at the hands of men,
you who were laughed at and mocked in your pain
you who were perceived as a threat to the empire of men and their lust for power
you who spoke truth to that power,
hear our prayers.
You whose heart went out to women
who loved and cared for women
who revealed the glory of your resurrection to women
who as a baby nursed at the breast of a woman,
hear the cries of our hearts.
friend to women,
healer of women,
protector of women,
We pray to you today that you would heal us and comfort us. We ask for your protection, and especially hold in our hearts those who face elevated risk of abuse: our teenagers and college students, women of color, trans women and LGBTQ individuals, indigenous women, those in prison, and those without legal standing in this country. We pray that those who would try to dehumanize us, demean our intelligence, belittle our voices, consume our bodies and break our spirits would be defeated. That they would, in acknowledging our humanity, find their own.
We pray that those who would try to dehumanize us, demean our intelligence, belittle our voices, consume our bodies and break our spirits would be defeated. That they would, in acknowledging our humanity, find their own.
For those who are hurting, we ask for comfort.
For those who are afraid, we ask for courage.
For those whose autonomy has been violated, we ask for justice.
For those who feel unheard, we ask for the grace to be compassionate listeners.
For those who grow weary walking this path alone, we ask for faithful advocates to share the burden.
For the times we said "Why didn't they…" instead of "How can we", forgive us.
For aligning ourselves with power at the expense of our neighbors, forgive us.
For keeping quiet instead of standing up for what we know is right, forgive us.
For when our struggles for advancement have left others behind, forgive us.
For mistaking the evangelicalism of empire for the Way of Jesus, forgive us.
For the blasphemy of separating our own story from the stories of others, forgive us.
For elevating Philip but omitting Phoebe and Priscilla, forgive us.
For teaching the story of David without mourning the violation of Bathsheba, forgive us.
For being more devoted to order than to justice; for preferring the absence of tension to the presence of true peace, forgive us.
In your kingdom, God, all are heard.
In your kingdom, pain is not mocked.
In your kingdom, the marginalized are honored.
In your kingdom, swords are turned into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks.
In your kingdom, we are ALL co-heirs with Christ and there is room for ALL at your table.
In your kingdom, God, there can be no injustice because you yourself are just.
In your kingdom, the powerful are brought down from their thrones and the lowly are lifted.
So today we pray today that your Kingdom would come, and your will would be done.
In Jesus' name,
Ellie Campbell Wilber is a recovering neo-Calivinist who grew up in Lakeland, Florida. She studied English Literature at the University of Central Florida and somehow ended up an IT Consultant. She now lives in Long Beach, California with her husband and two dogs. She attends City Church of Long Beach, where this prayer was originally offered.