Prayers for Christchurch Terrorist Attacks

From Andrew Gamman and Caroline Bindon of Kereru Publishing –

We have no answers when it comes to facing the unspeakable horror of a terrorist attack resulting in so many needless deaths. In times like this we are drawn again to the God of grace and mercy.  To God we bring our questions, doubts, anger, fears… and hopes for better tomorrows.

We provide this resource of prayers in the hope it will help you and your faith community to journey through this difficult time.

This is a free resource and you are welcome to share it with others. Apologies if you receive this email multiple times as we are sending it out to our Kereru Club, Taking Flight and 5 Senses to Prayer lists.

Andrew and Caroline

candle light isolated black

Congregational Prayer for Sunday 17 March

(Ask the congregation to stand. Pray in unison)

Lord God
we are shocked by the news of a terrorist attack in Aotearoa New Zealand

In our grief
we stand alongside Muslims in New Zealand
our brothers and sisters
asking that you would comfort the grieving

We stand alongside Muslims across the world
asking that they may live in safety
security and freedom from fear

We stand alongside the people of Christchurch
shaken by another tragedy
asking for your healing

We stand against those who would want to respond to hatred
with hatred
asking that you would make us into people of peace
love and reconciliation

To that end
we light a candle for hope

(Light a candle)


Congregational Station for Sunday 17 March

Set up stations around your worship space. The number you will need will depend on the size of your congregation.

  • At each station you will need:
  • A large printed picture of the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in Christchurch
  • Pencils
  • Post-it notes
  • And the following instructions printed out in large type:

Prayers for Christchurch and the Muslim community
Write on the post-its and stick them to the picture of the mosque
It may be you want to tell God what you are feeling; it could be a sentence or two… or just one word like: grief, hope, loss, anger, anguish …


Experiential Prayers for Personal or Congregational Use

In times like these we have a sense of powerlessness.  What can we do?  How can we respond?  The use of an experiential prayer provides the opportunity for a bodily act of prayer to convey some of our heartfelt emotion which words alone can not represent.

To focus your emotions and your thoughts, use a single word as your prayer. Examples could be words like ‘tolerance’, ‘unity’, ‘peace’, ‘love’, ‘anguish’.  You will have plenty more ideas.  If you want to pray more than one word, keep repeating the physical responsive action in your prayer.

Carry out these prayer ideas in reflective silence.  If you’d prefer to voice the words either mouth them, whisper or write.

Here are some simple prayer suggestions for use as an individual, in small groups, in church congregations or to set up in a prayer room.

Heartfelt Prayer
Create an outline of a heart shape on the floor using a piece of string or draw one on carpet or vinyl flooring with a piece of chalk.  Place objects on the shape outline and pray the one-word prayer.  Objects could include; polished stones, sprigs of rosemary or heads of flowers. If you’re in a large group invite participants to come in single file saying their one-word prayer as they place their object on the heart.  A smaller group may wish to sit around the heart outline and place their prayers together onto the heart. Individuals might prefer to display the heart on a table and keep adding to it during the days ahead.  For a prayer room, consider drawing your heart on a large piece of paper and taping it to a wall.  Participants could write their one-word prayers on small heart-shaped pieces of paper and glue them to the heart outline. In this way others coming to the prayer room, can appreciate the community of prayer.

Wall of Unity Prayer
Cut out strips of black paper into rectangles about the size of the face of a small brick.  Provide one to each person with a piece of white chalk.  Write on the brick your one-word prayer and glue or blu-tac the brick to a wall creating a heart-shaped pattern in an offset brick design as each new prayer is added.  If you’re in a large group invite participants to write their prayer where they are seated and then come forward to attach it to the wall themselves as a declaration of unity.  A small group may wish to build the wall together, writing and sticking as they pray.  Individuals might prefer to make smaller bricks and glue them on a piece of paper and attach it to the fridge or wall to be seen in the days ahead.  For a prayer room, create the build the bricks on the wall.  Provide a couple of liquid chalk pens for participants to each write on a brick as they use the prayer room.

Pool of Tears Prayer
Set up a small paddling pool.  Cover it with black polyurethane sheets or cut open some black rubbish bags and spread these over the lining and edges of the pool.  Weigh the polythene or bags down with stones both inside the pool and around the edge.  Fill the pool with a couple of inches of water.  Place plants around the outside of the pool.  Drop small stones or gems into the water and pray a one-word prayer.  As the stone drops a small splash is heard, like the sound of the shedding of a tear.  If you’re in a large group invite an initial dozen participants to stand around the pool to pray.  Place buckets or baskets of stones for each person to select one as they come up to the pool.  Invite the large group to form lines so that as each person leaves the pool, a new person can come and take their place.  A small group may all fit around the pool or take it in turns in the same way as the larger group.  For individuals you could pray this prayer around a sink or bathtub or use a large bowl of water.  For a prayer room, set up a large wash bowl on a table for participants to add their stones or gems to as they come to pray.



Kereru Publishing – Resourcing Christian Spirituality


The story of the Kereru is a metaphor for the church in New Zealand and in the western world.  Our dream is to provide resources to engage, encourage and inspire a generation of seed dispersers for the Christian faith.

Andrew Gamman and Caroline Bindon are founders of Kereru Publishing.  They live among the kereru on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula just to the north of Auckland city in New Zealand.

Mailing address is:  29 The Circle, Manly, Auckland, New Zealand, 0930
Copyright © 2019 Kereru Publishing Ltd


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