this is what you do

One of my colleagues, Andy Calder, is working on a project to create a public memorial for victims of road trauma… Andy’s had a long history of working in this area, and for the last few years he’s organised a public service for the family and friends of those who have died in road accidents. The next service is on November 15, at Parliament House.

It was in a conversation between Jenny, who is the chaplain at the women’s prison, Andy and myself, that we realised it would be good to have a prayer that could be used in worship in prisons that week, particularly acknowledging those who are serving sentences for culpable driving or vehicular manslaughter. This prayer is in response to that.


We have spent long enough wishing for things to be different.
We know we cannot change what we have done.

Today we pray we will learn to live with the truth of what is.

We remember today those who we have hurt
and the loved ones they have lost.

we name them now silently to you…
[light candles]

God, we know we don’t have the power to make better the things that have been destroyed

so we pray that you will do what you do
– even where it seems impossible:

that you will bring life into those places
where there is now only despair,

that you will breathe grace into hopelessness,
and peace into fear.

And we pray for ourselves:
that when we are in denial you would speak the truth;
and when we are paralysed by guilt or grief
you would speak of forgiveness
and give us the grace to live again.

It seems we are asking the impossible, God
but we know this is what you do.