Prayer Resources: Stolen Lives

The following prayers can be used by individuals or congregations (with acknowledgement of writer) to lament and cry our to our Father for justice for Aboriginal peoples who continue to die in police custody.

A Prayer - Aboriginal Lives Matter

This prayer, Black Lives Matter: A Prayer, was originally written by Menachem Creditor, 2014. It was adapted by Brooke Prentis for last years Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Vigil.

Great Creator Spirit, Lord God, Papa Jesus

We stand before you because we must.

We stand before You because

truths that should be self-evident

are not so evident in this land now called Australia.

And so we turn to you to breathe

ever more of Your Spirit into us

because we find we cannot breathe,

the arms of armed forces wrapped around our throats

when we call out for justice.

We call to you in defiance of

State and Territory systems that deny our human rights and human dignity,

where Aboriginal people in custody are sick and dying and are denied medical attention,

where Aboriginal men are twice as likely to be in prison than in University,

where 10 year old children are sent to prisons and Aboriginal children and young people are 24 times more likely to be in prison.

We shout to the Heavens with one, unified voice:

Aboriginal. Lives. Matter.

We are called by scripture to pray for the day when we will

beat swords into plowshares and study war no more,

when the surplus of war led by greed and deception

will not spill into our streets,

where swords and rifles and chains and iron bars

will be beaten thinner and thinner,
the iron of hatred vanishing forever. (Amichai)

We pray to you because,

as our prophets have taught us:

human suffering anywhere

concerns men and women everywhere.

We call to you, O God,

because Your Image

had broken ribs

and was dragged across a concrete floor.

We call to you, O God,

because Your Spirit

was choked out of a young man who

called out 12 times’ “I can’t breathe.”

We call to you, O God,

because Your child

was placed in a spithood with hands and feet restrained

We raise our hands to you,

knowing that the work is ours to do,

black, white, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal,

Multicultural Australia, young and old –

These are your images, battered

Bruised

Stripped of their human dignity.

Dead.

We are all responsible for what happens next.

And so we pray to You,

Source of Life,

raise up our eyes

to see You in each other’s eyes,

to take risks for justice,

to bring through our unified prayer today

more Love and Compassion into Australia and into the world.

Ignite us to combat the hidden prejudice

which causes memory loss and coverup,

Let truth and transparency reign from the tongue of every witness.

We pray today not for calm but for righteousness

to flow like a mighty river, until

peace fills the earth as the waters fill the sea.

Comfort the families of all who grieve.

Strengthen us to work for a world redeemed.

And we say together:

Amen.

A Prayer - by Latoya Aroha Hohepa

Latoya Aroha Hohepa is Wayne Fella Morrison's brother, an Aboriginal man who died in custody three years ago today, and who's coronial inquest is currently underway in Adelaide. Latoya wrote this prayer for last years Aboriginal deaths in custody prayer vigil for us to pray across the country:

We pray for my family, the family of Wayne Fella Morrison.

We pray for the Coroner, and for our lawyers.  

We pray even for those who were involved in the incident and who are responsible for Wayne Fella Morrison’s death.

We pray for peace to abide in the space of the Coroner’s Court – that God’s love will flow and cause those who are burdened to come to confession.  

We pray that through Wayne Fella Morrison’s Coronial Inquest, that justice will be had in some way that causes change to the correctional system throughout Australia.

We pray that the inhumane treatment of Aboriginal peoples in custody will cease, that spithoods and other death-causing restraints will be abolished.

We pray that the Coroner is moved by the grace of God to make Godly decisions in this case and recommend crucial changes to this system.

We pray that those who are responsible for implementing these changes will do so with respect for the lives of peoples in custody.

While I know that ultimate justice and salvation rests in God and in Jesus’ return, I want to call down the powers of heaven into the space we will sit for the remainder of the Coroner’s Court and cause something completely supernatural to occur that has never occurred before.  

We pray for a miracle and we pray for healing for all involved in this issue and for the lives and hearts of all families of death in custody victims.   

Amen.

A Prayer - by Anne Annear

Anne Annear is part of the WA Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and a member of the Perth Anglican Diocesan Aboriginal Ministry Working Group. She is a passionate advocate committed to amplifying First Nations voices and seeking justice. 

Anne wrote this prayer for our Reconciliation Week 2019 series. 

Holy God of the Dreaming and Father of us all, You gave Christ, your Son, to live amongst us, teaching the true meaning of your Justice and Reconciling Love. He was nailed to the Cross and faced the desolation of darkness and death.

We remember today, all our First Nations sisters and brothers who have suffered the desolation of darkness and death in car chases, police lock-ups and prisons, leaving grieving families in the shadow of death – all of them your beloved children.

We pray that, through Christ’s Resurrection and promise of eternal life, all those who have suffered through denial of Your Justice may now live in the glorious light and love of your presence, and that their families may know Your consolation and compassion.

And we ask that You will guide with wisdom and insight all who work in the Justice system and those who work to bring about change.

God of Holy Dreaming, we offer our prayer to You, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer - Prayer for Yuendumu by Aunty Rosemary Rigney

Aunty Rosemary Rigney is an Aboriginal Christian Leader, a Ngarrindjeri woman, a prayer warrior, who lives in the Aboriginal community of Raukkan in South Australia.

Aunty Rosemary wrote this prayer in response to a 19 year old Warlpiri man who was shot dead by police in the Aboriginal community of Yuendumu.

Creator God...

Hearts are sore... Beings are in Trauma... The Community of Yuendumu is in mourning... Family... a Mothers heart and being is crying... A Son is gone... Blood has been shed... and is now 'crying out from the Land'... I'm reminded of a song by our dear Archie Roach who sang... 'be careful where you stand... because a child was born here' ... well in that house... a child died here'....remember he was here...I'm reminded of Your Son and how they did things to Him that were unjust... His blood spilled... in front of His Mother and Community... we remember He was born and that He died there....

I'm awake as a Mother in the early morning...a 1st Nation Leader... on an Aboriginal Community... crying out to You for sense to this one... and for all the other ones... our children... our Family... our Mob... How do we mourn ..Again... how do we pray...how do we support each other ...Again... I'm praying for Justice like in Micah 6:8...'He has told you , O man.. what is good.. and what does the Lord require of you..but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God'...Lord help us with this anger.. this pain upon other pain... this whole cluster of pent up emotion... help us to do something good with it so it doesnt destroy us... So many crying out... just like the Land is crying out because of more spilled blood... all I can stand on and decree and declare to try to encourage us at this hard time .. Amos 5:24...But let Justice roll on like a river..and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.. May these words for those who believe and want to believe.. even in these very hard , challenging times.. stand on these words and believe that... Isaiah 55:11..'it is the same with My word. I send it out and it produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Keep praying for Kumunjayi's Mother and Father.. his Family and his Community and for conviction of the Police...For Comfort of hearts and minds and souls... For Breakthrough...For real Truth and Justice...We draw the line in the sand and say No more... in Jesus Name and with His authority as His kids.. in this Nation...This is my prayer....