In the wake of preliminary findings that unearthed a mass grave of remains of Indigenous children on the grounds of a former residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia, we cry out to God and ask, "how? why?"
If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. Romans 8:26 (The Message)
Come before the Lord, and bring the full weight of your emotions to the foot of the Cross. Consider holding silence for 2 minutes and 15 seconds and lean into a posture and prayer of sorrow and lament as you remember the children who died at residential schools, and their families.
If you are able, you are welcome to come by Tenth Church at Mt Pleasant this week and offer a prayer. Find the memorial set up outside of Entrance C located at W 10th Ave and Ontario.
Memorial Prayer for Children of This Land
Great and Heavenly Spirit,
God of compassion, healing and comfort,
We lift up in prayer the sacred lives of the children, some now known to us, all known to you, who died in residential schools.
We lift up in prayer the sacred lives of the children who went missing from these schools and whose fates are unknown to those who held them most dear.
We grieve the loss of so many thousands of these little ones, and we grieve especially their loss so far away from home.
We grieve the loss of youth with so much potential. These were children of this place, children of our land. The loss of their giftedness is our collective loss.
We lament how long their families have had to live with unanswered questions.
Hear our prayers:
for those who were not informed of their children’s deaths at all, or on a timely basis;
for those who were not told of where their daughters and sons had been buried;
for those who have long hoped that a child who went missing somehow survived and had a good life—even as they may have also feared the worst.
We lament our complicity in the loss of these children. As members of a church which ran residential schools, we seek your help as we look to redress the many ways in which our church failed these Indigenous children, their families, and their communities. We pray that your reconciling love will teach us how to create true bonds of community and understanding as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples today.
We lift up with gratitude the efforts of all those who are seeking to honour the lives of the children who died, as well as the children whose fates are unknown, through ongoing research and acts of remembrance.
We ask for your continued guidance of them as they work to uncover the stories of the lost. We understand how precious this information is, and how vital it is to the healing of so many families and communities.
Bless those who are preparing to honour the children with sacred ceremonies and those who work to protect burial sites, in keeping with the traditions of Indigenous peoples across this land.
We pray for the families of these children and for all who loved them. Envelop them in the warmth of your infinite care and give them peace.
Inspire all of us with energy, wisdom, and commitment to the loving pursuit of the truth which will heal all of us in our brokenness and lead to reconciliation with our neighbours across this land.
—A prayer offered by Indigenous Ministries for the memorial register honouring children who died at residential schools (TRC Call to Action 72), launched on September 30, 2019.