The Common Good

A New Hymn for Lamenting Gun Violence and Racism

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, a pastor who is a foster mother to a four year-old African American boy, wrote this hymn after George Zimmerman was found not guilty for his shooting of Trayvon Martin.  She had read Jim Wallis’ “Lament from a White Father” and heard the Rev. Otis Moss of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ interviewed for the NPR report, “For The Boys Who See Themselves In Trayvon Martin.” (See the lyrics formatted with music HERE.)

We Pray for Youth We Dearly Love

O WALY WALY LM  (“Though I May Speak”)

Solo (optional young voice):

“If I should die before I wake,

I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take....

And if I die on violent streets,

I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep."



We pray for youth we dearly love

Who still await each bedtime hug,

Yet-- when they hear of violence-- cry

And ask, "Will I be next to die?"

O Lord, forgive our nation's sin:

We judge the one with different skin.

We turn from those we should embrace;

We count on guns instead of grace.

Forgive our blindness to the way

Some live in fear from day to day.

Forgive us when we cannot see

That all are bound till all are free.

God bless the youth who live in fear,

And may we seek your kingdom here.

May love be where we stand our ground

Till justice, peace and joy abound.

Tune: English folk melody.

Text: Copyright © 2013 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.  All rights reserved

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Hymn Use Permission:  Churches that support Sojourners have copyright permission to use “We Pray for Youth We Dearly Love” in their local church. 

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor (Discipleship Resources/Upper Room Books) and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship (Geneva Press); she and her husband Bruce serve as the co-pastors of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware after serving churches in New Jersey for 20 years. A complete list of the 200+ hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, many with peace and justice themes, can be found at  

Image: Grave marker showing face of sorrow, Hub.-Wilh. Domroese /

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