Lament: An Additional Prayer Vigil | UMC YoungPeople
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January 2021

Lament: An Additional Prayer Vigil

By Chris Wilterdink

Several weeks ago, we made a post about the spiritual need for “worship services of lament.” Truly, there is no shortage of heartbreak in the world. In the United States context, many youth leaders are working to help their youth process the raw footage and emotions on display during the violent riots and acts of terror demonstrated at the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

We would encourage you to review the previous post on lament, and how to organize that worship experience, and consider adding this recently written prayer vigil by Rev. Samantha Blewis (Los Altos UMC, CA) and shared by permission of her staff team.

I believe that lament, and embracing chances to engage in difficult conversations, are a part of discipleship. Providing opportunities for young people to process their emotions and thoughts will look different depending on your context. Take heart in your ministry to aid that processing through abundant grace. This vigil could be lead in-person or online.

A Prayer Vigil

By Rev. Samantha Blewis
6 January 2021


(These words or make them your own)

We gather this evening with grief, with fear, with a longing for peace.
We long for an end to division and unrest.

No matter why you have come, whether for comfort, or hope, or simply to do something, you are welcome. Welcome to this space where all of you is welcome—every worry, every hope, all of your anger and sadness and anxiety. May we listen and look for God’s presence in this time and may God’s presence surround us, comfort us, and hold us in this moment.

You are invited to get a candle to light later in the service. May you know that you are beloved and may we enter into this time of prayer together.



Will you pray with me?

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, “Peace I give to you; my own peace I leave with you.” Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly City, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.1



A reading from Psalm 31

I take refuge in you, Lord.
Please never let me be put to shame.
Rescue me by your righteousness!
2 Listen closely to me!
Deliver me quickly.
be a rock that protects me.
be a strong fortress that saves me!
3 You are definitely my rock and my fortress.
Guide me and lead me for the sake of your good name!
4 Get me out of this net that’s been set for me
because you are my protective fortress.
5 I entrust my spirit into your hands.
you, Lord, God of faithfulness—
you have saved me.


We often think of events like today’s at the capitol as adult matters—something to shield our kids from, something to protect them from. And that is good and right. We should want to protect our children from this.

But they are perceptive. And they are smart and capable. And so, rather than shelter them from this time, we hold space for them. We offer this space, here and now, as a space for children’s hopes and dreams and fears and worries. Will you join me in praying with and for our children now?

Jesus, our friend and helper, you want us to come to you with whatever we have and so we do that now. Our nation is in a bad place tonight and we need your help and your hope. Help us to love one another, help us to be safe, give us kindness and goodness toward each other, so that we can be the people you want us to be.



Each of us here brings our own perspective and our own concerns to this space and this time. In a moment, we will have space where you are invited to name out loud whatever you are carrying in this moment. You may also place those prayers in the chat.

God, take this moment and make it yours. Hear the prayers of our hearts, hear our longings, our hopes, our fears . . . hear all that we are carrying, which we offer to you now by naming them aloud or writing them in the chat. As we name those people and things we are carrying, we light our candles as an act of petition and prayer.

Musicians, or music, plays as people write and speak prayers.
If meeting virtually, person leading in chat room leads by writing prayers.
Service leaders can light candles and read prayers aloud that come from the chat.

Be with all we have lifted up, all we have said and left unsaid. Comfort us this night, O God.



1: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
2: For you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.
1: Keep us, O Lord, as the apple of your eye.
2: Hide us under the shadow of your wings.

1: Lord, have mercy.
2: Christ, have mercy.
1: Lord, have mercy


Together we pray the prayer that Jesus taught us:
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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

CLOSING, Various leaders or young people

1: O God, your unfailing love sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.1

2: Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised; for these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.1

3: Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.1

4: As you prepare to go from this place, have faith, you do not go alone. You are beloved and God is with us.
Now, receive this blessing:
The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bless us and keep us. Amen.1


  1. Book of Common Prayer
Chris serves as Director of Young People’s Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Chris has a BA in English Education, and an MS in Project Management, and over 15 years of local-church youth ministry experience. He is passionate about leadership and faith development in young people and helping ministry leaders understand their value in the lives of young people. A Stephen Minister, Chris is a native of Colorado living in Franklin, TN with his wife Emily, 2 children, and sausage-shaped beagle.