Home Worship Planning Preaching Resources Archive - Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism

Archive - Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism

DAY ONE (JUNE 15, 2020)

“Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol, popularized by Billie Holiday:

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

God of Justice and of Mercy,

Your servant Paul warned us that as we sow, so shall we reap. Your prophet Hosea warned us that if we sow the wind, we shall reap the whirlwind. So now, as we bow our heads into the force of the whirlwind, we must know deep down that this is not a momentary aberration or accident of the changing of the wind. As we gaze upon the strange fruit that we have produced we must know in our hearts and souls that this is not random mutation of our planting, but the result of years of sowing in blood and hate. And your church is complicit in sowing a system of injustice, our hands are not free of the blood and our hearts are not free of the hate.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us.

Confessing our sinful natures, we pray for your Spirit to begin the long hard work of repentance within and between us, and tear down the dividing walls of hostility so that we may begin to sow to the Spirit of reconciliation and begin the long, hard journey to forgiveness and peace. May those of us who have benefited from systems of injustice seek forgiveness from those of us who have broken by those systems. So that together we might glimpse, if only from a distance for now, the possibility of the Kin-dom of God where all are seen to reveal the image of God as we live in God’s justice and peace.

In the Name of the first strange fruit hanging from the tree, the crucified Christ, we pray. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, May 2020

DAY TWO (JUNE 16, 2020)

INVOCATION
Creator God, we come into your presence this morning with hearts of thanksgiving,
and mouths filled with praise!
Loving God, in spite of the turmoil and tragedy we have witnessed this year,
In spite of the pain and struggle of witnessing the murders of Black Bodies,
the enslavement of Brown Bodies,
poverty, inequality, child abuse, racism, sexism,
children and infants separated from parents . . . caged like animals,
government leaders who remind us daily that we are not judged
by the content of our character, but by the color of our skin,
In spite of all these things, You are still a miracle-working God,
In spite of all of this, You remain faithful!
In spite of all of this, you are still our healer, our comforter, our provider and protector.
And so, we come in humility, adoration with worshipful hearts,
Giving you honor, thanks and praise, rejoicing, for ALL of who you are,
In the Name of Your Son, Our Brother, Jesus, The Christ.
Amen and Ashe’!

Written by Cynthia A. Wilson ©2020 Free Indeed Ministries

DAY THREE (JUNE 17, 2020)

Spirit of God,

We have heard your call to share in building up the Kingdom of God. Fill us with the desire to change ourselves and to change the world. Enflame our passion for justice into a commitment to address unjust situations and structures. Deepen our concern for our sisters and brothers in America and overseas who endure the burdens of poverty, war, exploitation and persecution. Let us enthusiastically play our part in the mission of the Church in the modern world.

Banish any complacency in our hearts and minds. Teach us to recognize the lack of justice. May we always act in the Spirit of justice. May we envisage, pray about and create a different sort of world
in which injustice is replaced with a renewed sense of solidarity and care. Enlivened by the Spirit, may we go forth in the peace of the Holy Spirit to love and serve the Lord.

Amen.

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

DAY FOUR (JUNE 18, 2020)

Prayer for National and Church Leaders

Lord, we believe you when you say you will lead us. But we have suffered at the hands of those who would destroy and scatter your sheep. You promised that you would raise us up shepherds who will gather us together so that no will live in fear. So, we look for those shepherds, Lord.

We pray for those shepherds who will do good and do right, for those who will protect the children, who will teach the children, who will give the children hope. We pray for those shepherds who will pursue peace, who will walk humbly, who will reconcile the nations. We pray for those shepherds who will fight injustice, who stand on the side of justice. We pray for those shepherds who will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and set at liberty the captives. We pray for those shepherds who will spread love, show mercy, and practice hospitality.

Lord, we pray for those shepherds, we pray for all peoples, we pray for the church universal, we pray for our country, we pray for the nations.

From The Africana Worship Book: Year C, ©2008 Discipleship Resources, p 164. Written by Tony Peterson, Inspired by Jeremiah 3:15, 23: 1- 4). (Paraphrased by Cynthia A Wilson)

DAY FIVE (JUNE 19, 2020)

Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

United Church of Christ

DAY SIX (JUNE 22, 2020)

We’re all out of answers, O Covenant God of all humanity,
We can’t find the right words that will fix what has been broken,
We can’t heal the wounds caused by hundreds of years of hatred, with the Band-Aid of, “sorry,”
or the hand sanitizer of, “not really my fault.”
We decry destruction of property in a moment of anger
and minimize the destruction of a people over years of disgust.
We claim an understanding of sorts of the anger we see around us,
But secretly wish they would act more . . . like us.
Give us a solution; we’ll pay it. Give us a fee; we’ll pay it. What will it take to make all of this go away?
“All of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’.”
Give us the grace to be humble, O Sovereign Lord. Let us not seek our own wisdom,
let us be slow to give answers,
slow to say, “they should,”
and quicker to say, “I’m listening.”
To say, “tell me about your pain.”
To say, “I see you.”
“I care about you.”
Let us humble ourselves
that we might begin anew the journey to becoming the family of God.
In the Name of the One who humbled himself upon a cross we pray. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, June 2020

DAY SEVEN (JUNE 23, 2020)

Come, O Holy Spirit
Come, open us to the wonder, beauty, and dignity of the diversity found in each culture, in each face, and in each experience we have of the other among us.
Come fill us with generosity as we are challenged to let go and allow others to share with us the goods and beauty of earth.
Come heal the divisions that keep us from seeing the face of Christ in all men, women, and children.
Come free us to stand with and for those who must leave their own lands in order to find work, security, and welcome in a new land, one that has enough to share.
Come bring us understanding, inspiration, wisdom, and the courage needed to embrace change and stay on the journey.
Come, O Holy Spirit, show us the way.

“The Justice Prayer” https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/prayers/justice/

DAY EIGHT (JUNE 24, 2020)

Let us pray this song, let us hope this hope, let us march, continue to march, in the light of God.

Siyahamba, ekukanyen' kwenkos',
Siyahamba, ekukanyen' kwenkos',
Siyahamba, ekukanyen' kwenkos',
Siyahamba, ekukanyen' kwenkos',
Siyahamba, siyahamba, oh,
Siyahamba ekukanyen' kwenkos'.
Siyahamba, siyahamba, oh,
Siyahamba ekukanyen' kwenkos'.

We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching, we are marching, ooh,
We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching, we are marching, ooh,
We are marching in the light of God.

“We are Marching in the Light of God (Siyahamba)” The Faith We Sing, #2235

DAY NINE (JUNE 25, 2020)

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
I can’t breathe, cry your people, with the knee of oppression on their necks, fill me with life anew,
Prophesy to the breath, You declared to your prophet, prophesy to the breath, that I may love the way you love,
That these bones might live, these beaten, broken, and weary bones might live and love again, and do what you would do.
That they may stand as a mighty army, Your mighty army against the forces of hate.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
No, that we may stand as a mighty wind of change and hope, we dry bones of despair, until my heart is pure,
And begin to distribute justice and healing in small ways, like drops of rain in a desert, until my will is one with yours,
Because we are led by Your presence, O Lord, who hasn’t given up on us, to do and to endure.
So we chip away at the walls we have built, though it takes more than any one of us have to give.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Those made in your glorious image deserve to breathe fully and freely and in peace, so shall I never die,
So eternity is experienced in the Kin-dom within which we all can live and breathe, but live with you the perfect life
So that each life, each precious life that matters, is woven into yours for all eternity.
In this life, today, right now, and into the tomorrows that only you hold for us.
Let it be so, Amen and Amen.

Derek C. Weber, June 2020; “Breathe on Me Breath of God” Hymn Text: Edwin Hatch, Public Domain

DAY TEN (JUNE 26, 2020)

Almighty God, you have given all peoples one common origin, and your will is to gather them as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of all with the fire of your love and the desire to ensure justice for all our sisters and brothers. By sharing the good things you give us, may we secure justice and equality for every human being, and a human society built on love and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

United Church of Christ

DAY 11 (JUNE 29, 2020)

A cup of cold water, that’s what you asked for, O Lord of Justice and Mercy. A cup of cold water for the little ones striving to make their voices heard. A cup of cold water for those who march out of anger and despair, out of a persistent hope for a better tomorrow; a tomorrow where they and we won’t be so thirsty.

Why does hospitality matter so much to you, Lord of all Creation? Why does the way we treat the thirsty among us, the way we welcome a prophet who tells us a truth about ourselves that we can only barely begin to hear, the way we welcome those whose righteousness is coarser than ours, more lived in than ours, matter so much to you? And why do you keep insisting that the best way, perhaps the only way to see you, is to welcome, is to love our neighbor? Why are you with those who cry for justice? Why are you with those who are thirsty for righteousness, or maybe just thirsty from walking the streets and are hot with anger and unrest?

A cup of cold water, that’s what you asked for, O Lord of Justice and Mercy; Lord of Hospitality and the Blessed Community. That doesn’t seem so much, really. Except that it just might begin to change our world.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Derek Weber, June 2020

DAY 12 (JUNE 30, 2020)

Litany of Lament

We hear your prophet crying, O God, "Let justice roll down like water . . ."
But it is not justice we see flowing; it is the blood of black men and women.
Peace without justice is neither peace nor justice.
It is not justice we see flowing; it is the tears of a mother who quakes with fear when her son goes out the front door.
Peace without justice is neither peace nor justice.
It is not justice we see flowing; it is clouds of tear gas rolling down the streets where young people cry out the names of the murdered.
Peace without justice is neither peace nor justice.
It is not justice we see flowing; it is the sweat of those fighting for their lives from two deadly viruses: the pandemic and racism. Both are deadly. Only one has any hope for a vaccine.
Peace without justice is neither peace nor justice.
It is not justice we see flowing; it is a raging river that separates those of us oblivious to our privilege from those denied their basic human dignity.
Peace without justice is neither peace nor justice.
God, we want to stop that river. We want to quell those tears. We want the violence to cease. And so we turn to you, confessing what we know to be true:
Peace without justice is neither peace nor justice.
There can be no choice between peace and justice. They must live together or die together. We cannot turn our back on hatred. Open our hearts to hear your call. Give us the strength to be instruments of peace and justice right here, right now.
For peace without justice is neither peace nor justice.
God, we come to you in pain, but also in trust. Hear the cry of our hearts.
“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amen.

Elizabeth S. Moore, O.S.L. Abbot, the Order of Saint Luke, June 4, 2020

DAY 13 (JULY 1, 2020)

God who sees the suffering of all people:
When the road is long,
When the way is hard,
When the cause is just,

Come by here.

Where hate is entrenched,
Where protest puts us at risk,
Where police are tempted to use deadly force,

Come by here.

When government is divided,
When security protects business and sacrifices citizens,
When our song is shouted down,

Come by here.

Where policy is changing,
Where it isn’t,
Where martyrs die and mourners cry,

Come by here.

Pillar of Fire by night and Cloud of Smoke by day,
lead and guide us in resolute action
knowing we belong to each other
until all shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well. Amen.

(The last two lines are from Julian of Norwich)

Daniel Benedict, Order of Saint Luke

DAY 14 (JULY 2, 2020)

Good morning, God!
I long to make this day the longest day in you.
My prayer is that my living brings your love into the world.
Let me be wide awake today and ready.
In all of my choices, let them be love-offering and life-giving.
To be this way . . .
I’ll need to unburden myself of some stuff.
I may have to leave something behind – let it go – maybe even something dear.
It takes some holy searching for sure because . . .
I’ve discovered that I was born on 2nd base and thought I hit a double.
I can’t even see all the stuff I’m carrying around – it blends right into my day to day.
An old attitude, fear, biases, myths, the handles of my bootstraps . . .
Familiar handholds that feel comfortable and safe to me,
But that are slippery and dangerous in your kin-dom.

I repent. In all my liberal progressive understanding, my traditional conservative understanding, global understanding, patriotic understanding, personal understanding, educated understanding, “have to put food on the table” understanding, (fill-in blank) understanding and complicity, I repent.

Holy One, stay with us in this reckoning.
Let us be wide awake today.
We’re going to peel away the layers that keep us from revealing you.
Nothing between us and you.
Another’s hunger is my hunger.
Another’s inability to breathe is my inability to breathe.
We will listen, lean in, act, speak up, and . . . Love.
We will unlearn, learn, discover, grow, and . . . Love.
We will tear down what must be torn down, and build up what must be built, and . . . Love.
We will speak up and advocate, and pray for demonstrators and for those who are afraid and frozen, and . . . Love.
We will lift each other’s bootstraps.
We will get to know each other.
In love with you, and our sisters and brothers – every single one of us made in your image – no exceptions,
We will – at last – be liberated for full life in you.
Amen.

By Rev. Ted Crass, president, United Methodist Foundation of New England
Inspiration: Psalm 86.1-10, Matthew 10.38-39, Jacqui Lewis

DAY 15 (JULY 3, 2020)

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Oh, freedom! / Oh, freedom! / Oh, freedom over me! / And before I’d be a slave / I’ll be buried in my grave / And go home to my Lord / and be free

The land of the free, that’s what we call our nation, O God of the whole world. Yet we learn again and again that this freedom isn’t shared equally. That for too many, it is a freedom to be oppressed, a freedom to be abused. It is a freedom to hate and demean and segregate and redline. That freedom is parceled out to the few, the privileged, the comfortable.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

It is still our dream, the American dream, the dream of the Kin-dom of God, that we will know true freedom. And that we will use our freedom not for self-indulgence, but for building up the blessed community of humanity, that those who have been denied their freedom by systemic racism will at last know the freedom God intended for all and for each.

On this independence weekend celebration, let us not be blinded by a false patriotism that claims all is well when it clearly is not. So, instead let us rise up as one body, one blessed community, one voice and sing “Oh freedom” over us all, in this life, in this nation, in this world.

May we, O God of true freedom, allow your Spirit to build our true home and be free, as only the Christ who was nailed to a tree can show us the way to this freedom. In the name of this Christ. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, June 2020

DAY 16 (JULY 6, 2020)

Their blood cries out. Oh Lord have we become deaf? Your Spirit implores us yet again: “Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” The blood of your sister cries out to me from the floor of her bedroom. From the streets where they ran, the neighborhood where they lived, from the fields and meadows, their blood cries out, our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters. Their blood cries out, O Lord of Justice and Mercy.

And we bear the mark, the mark that protects but does not forgive; the mark that privileges but does not redeem. We bear the mark of Cain, brother killer. Now we are wanderers in the land, wanderers from our true home, the blessed community, the righteousness of God. The blood cries out.

Let us hear that cry, O Lord of Love and Hope. Let us open our ears to the cries of our brothers and sisters who have watered the ground with tears and with blood. Let us hear that cry. And then not stand unmoved in our supposed innocence, but stand with those who raise their voices in an unending cry for justice. Let us change our hearts, our minds, our prejudices, with repentance and action. Let us build the community you intended us to build from the very beginning.

Their blood cries out. Let us hear, O Lord, let us hear. Amen.

Genesis 4:1-15

Derek C. Weber, June 2020

DAY 17 (JULY 7, 2020)

God of mercy and foe of indifference,
Until every hurt is healed,
Until restoration replaces retribution,
Until the beloved community replaces white privilege,

Let your kin-dom come.

When property is protected and people of color are not,
When criminal justice equals institutional racism,
When COVID-19 runs rampant in prisons,

Let your kin-dom come.

As long as police misconduct can be erased,
As long as prisons are big business,
As long as we forget that we belong to one another,

Let your kin-dom come.

Into our churches,
Into our praying,
Into our caring,

Let your kin-dom come.

God of tender compassion, you shine on those who live in fear and under the shadow of death:
Keep us mindful of Lazarus at the gate and bold to confront the powers that keep him there,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The concluding section adapted from “Evening Prayer” in The Book of Offices and Services of The Order of Saint Luke, p. 46. Used with permission of OSL Publications.

Daniel Benedict, Order of Saint Luke

DAY 18 (JULY 8, 2020)

GOD OF GRACE AND MERCY

Antiphon (spoken or sung):

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to acknowledge our complicity and shame for the systemic
discrimination and pervasive institutional racism we have accepted and fostered.
We need mercy to forgive and the humility to ask for forgiveness for our sinful actions and beliefs.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to open our eyes and minds to see the steps forward we must take.
We need mercy to learn what we do not yet know.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to move into a future of respect, equality and partnership
with each other.
We need mercy to make the changes required to live in peace together.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need the grace that calls us to align our actions with your vision
for relational harmony.
We need mercy to seek the wholeness of shalom.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.


Musical Antiphon:

Musical antiphon

DAY 19 (JULY 9, 2020)

"Justice also does not preclude mercy. It makes mercy possible. Justice is the pitch of the roof and the structure of the walls. Mercy is the patter of rain on the roof and the life sheltered by the walls. Justice is the grammar of things. Mercy is the poetry of things." - Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking

Our cry is for justice, God of law, of right and wrong, blessing and sin. Our cry is to set right all that has been broken and cast aside by our greed and our fear and our prejudice. Our cry is to fix the broken structures that have kept some in bondage, while flattering others with freedom. To live in this world, to live this side of your kin-dom, we must have justice.

Yet, our souls long for mercy, God of loving and forgiving, of healing and uniting. We long to live in the kind of community you describe for us, the kind centered on loving you, God of us all, and loving our neighbor. And we repent how narrowly we have defined neighbor, while we weep at how miserly we have defined loving. We are missing the beauty of the human creation; we are missing the joy of diversity, the rich tapestry of the living. We are, all of us, parched for lack of loving.

We want to cry for justice; we want to live in mercy. But we don’t know what to do, how to get there from here. Speak to us, O God of justice and mercy.

The prophet Micah said to us centuries ago, “God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

May we finally begin to do, and to love, and to walk. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

(Scripture quote: Micah 6:8) Derek C. Weber, June 2020

DAY 20 (JULY 10, 2020)

A Prayer for Living the Gospel

God of yesterday, today and tomorrow,
we call to mind your presence within us and around us.
Open our ears that we may hear your Word.
Open our hearts that we may understand your Word.
Open our mouths that we may speak your Word.
Inspire us with the gospel message,
that we may celebrate all that is life-giving,
restore hope where it has been lost,
and work to bring about change where it is needed.
May we live the gospel with courage, constancy, and love.
May we be open to the challenge of your call to true freedom.
May we be faithful to you in our daily choices and decisions.
May we make your love known through our words and actions.
May the Triune God reign in our hearts, now and forever.
Amen.

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

DAY 21 (JULY 13, 2020)

God of liberty and justice,
who hears the silent tears of those wearied by continued inequality and violence:
open the ears of everyone in our society to hear the truth of continued racism in this stony land,
so that we may return to the places where we will meet you,
places of love and respect for all your children;
in the name of the One who was slaughtered for us, your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Drawing from “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
Sr. Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL

DAY 22 (JULY 14, 2020)

Dear God,

We implore you to open our hearts and minds each day to the actions and inactions that wound your children. We have not been the glorious reflection of your love for all God’s children. Forgive us for the sin of racial injustice. Guide our thoughts, words, and deeds so that they will be pleasing to you and honor each of your creations.

We see throughout the whole of creation that you love variety. Teach us to love people, whom you have formed in your very own hands, that look different from us. Let us not be afraid of one another. Give us the words to speak with one another justly and kindly. Let us not quarrel with one another. Give us the ability to choose actions that do no harm mentally, spiritually, or physically. Let us recognize the divine spark you have placed within each of your children and honor it daily. Give us love, so that it crashes over us, wave upon wave upon our dry and withered souls. We thirst for more of you. Give us the courage to speak out against injustice daily. Let us stand for iniquity no more.

Glorious God, we thank and praise you for all you have done and all that you will do. With every fiber of our being, let us belong to you and love you more fully. Amen.

Carol Ann Smolka, Worship Staff, Discipleship Ministries, July 2020.

DAY 23 (JULY 15, 2020)

“As years go by I want you to go with your head up high
I want you to live by the justice code
And I want you to walk down freedom's road
You little Brown Baby”

“Brown Baby” by Oscar Brown Jr. sung by Nina Simone

Mothering God, who nurtures and lifts and loves, we pray for the children.
There are children who grow up afraid, who grow up hungry for justice and for peace, who grow up being told they are less – less smart, less motivated, less valuable. Who of your creation, oh Creator God, is less? Less than holy, less than precious in your sight, less than alive with grace and hope? Who is less?

God our Father, who tends and teaches and loves, we pray for the children.
There are children who are being taught to hate, to mark differences with suspicion and distrust, to fear the other and stick to “their own.” Who of your creation, oh Creator God, is sufficient in their own tribe, blind to the tapestry of color and dry-mouthed to the flavor of your rich gumbo of a world? Who is enough?

God of us all, of constant presence and of never-ending care, we pray for the children.
Because your child taught us that if we listen to the children, who despite a broken world and harsh teachers, who despite cruelty and neglect, we can sometimes be surprised by grace and reminded how to live in love. We pray for the children, oh Creator God, that we might become like them and then begin to see the kin-dom of God.

In the name of your child, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

“It makes me glad you gonna have things that I never had
When out of men's heart all hate is hurled
Sweetie you gonna live in a better world
Brown baby brown baby brown baby”

DAY 24 (JULY 16, 2020)

God of Comfort and Peace, we are sick and tired.

Our souls are sick with hatred,
our hearts thirsty for violence, and
our bodies are discounted as worthless.
We are tired of shouted slogans filled with ugliness,
actions that claim one-sided freedom,
shallow patriotism that uses words while ignoring their depth.

God of Justice and Hope, we are sick and tired.

Our spirits are sick of endless battles,
our eyes are disquieted with images of cruelty,
our senses are disordered with shame.
We are tired of inequality in all its forms,
laws that are unjustly, unevenly enforced,
privilege that is unquestionably reserved.

God of Past, Present, and Future, we are sick and tired.

Our minds are sick with imbalanced teaching,
our language impaired by historical lies,
our ears deaf to cries that remain unanswered.
We are tired of inadequate pathways for change,
systems that perpetuate poverty and racism,
feckless leaders who disregard the common good.

God of Health and Wholeness, we are sick and tired.

Come to us and shepherd our souls,
quiet our hearts, and give rest to our bodies.
Yes . . . and no!

Let us not be satisfied with the status quo.
Stir us to action from a core of love.
Help us offer comfort, and be servants of peace.
Teach us to speak words of welcome and grace.
Grant us mercy when we need forgiveness.
Make us generous with our resources.
Keep us gentle and humble in all things.

We pray in the name of Christ, who offers rest for our burdens.
Amen.

GOD OF COMFORT AND PEACE: A prayer by Rev. George R. Crisp, OSL

DAY 25 (JULY 17, 2020)

God of the saints already gathered home,
who leads us through trials dark and hidden snares:
give us perseverance to work toward the perfect day here and now,
rather than tolerating oppression
until we reach the by and by;
in the name of the Word, whom we trust, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Drawing from “By and By”
Sr. Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL

DAY 26 (JULY 20, 2020)

Loving Jesus,
who walks with the sorrowful:
give strength to all who walk the pilgrim journey though hatred, stereotypes, racial violence, and even death,
that they may know your strength and comfort in the face of these troubles.
Loving Jesus, walk with them. -or- Loving Jesus, walk with us.
Loving Jesus, walk with them. -or- Loving Jesus, walk with us.

Drawing from “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me”
Sr. Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL

DAY 27 (JULY 21, 2020)

Prayer of Confession

Holy God
You called all that is into being
and offered humanity life in all its fullness.
Yet we have allowed good relationships to be broken.
We have become distant from you and our neighbour.

Lord have mercy

At times we have failed to speak out for justice,
leaving the voiceless without an advocate.

Christ have mercy

To all who fall short of God’s glory
you offer pardon and peace.

Lord have mercy

Assurance of Forgiveness

God is just and forgiving.
God receives us as we are,
lifts us up and calls us again to
be people upholding justice and peace.
Receive God’s pardon and peace,
knowing that all sins are forgiven

Thanks be to God!

—from “I Was in Prison and You Visited Me,” Worship Resources for Social Justice Sunday, posted on the website of the The Social Justice Network.

DAY 28 (JULY 22, 2020)

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid."
Matthew 5:14

We have seen ourselves as that light on a hill, O God of the ages;
we have believed ourselves to be the shining example of all that is good in the world.
But lately our light has been dim, and our good has been muddied by a hidden hate we try to deny.
We can’t help but wonder how the world sees us now,
We who have held a banner for rights and for equality,
We who have pointed fingers at those who abuse others,
We who have condemned acts of injustice in other lands,
How shines our light now?

Yet, despite our failings, our brokenness and our sin,
you still call us,
each of us and all of us,
to be the light of the world.
Even when we are ready to give up on us, even when our sin is too great to bear,
you still call us,
each of us and all of us,
to be the light of the world.

There is too little light around us and within us right now, God of mercy,
how can you still call us?
How can you still hope in us?
We long to be that light, Loving God. We long to be that hope.
Help us, now especially; help us bring light to a world roiling in the gloom.
Help us claim the hope that we can be light,
as a nation, as a church, as followers of the true Light of the World.
Help us find the way into the light. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, July 2020

DAY 29 (JULY 23, 2020)

God of freedom and peace,
who sees your children through all circumstances:
help us walk hand in hand with one another,
that together we may overcome all evil forces which attempt to divide us from each other;
in the name of the One whose Body is made of many members, Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Drawing from “We Shall Overcome”
Sr. Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL

DAY 30 (JULY 24, 2020)

Forgive us, Lord.
Forgive us when we wake each day hoping the nightmare has ended.
Forgive us when we cling to our opinions that it can’t be as bad as some say.
Forgive us when we shout for our rights when others can’t breathe.
Forgive us when we look for short-term fixes rather than substantive changes
in our society, in our institutions, in our neighborhoods, in our homes, in our hearts.

In our hearts, O Lord, of every part of me, every thought of mine, every reaction and response.
In our hearts.

Forgive me when I think this problem is about everyone else’s heart.
Forgive me when I won’t do the work I need to do to examine my own soul because
“I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
Forgive me when I discover that I am a part of the problem and not somehow different or pure.
Forgive me when I want to give up because this is too big, too much, too frightening, too overwhelming.
Forgive me, Lord.

Forgive, please forgive.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. (Matt. 18:21-22)

Derek C. Weber, July 2020

DAY 31 (JULY 27, 2020)

O God, our Maker,
you created us in your image
and formed us in infinite variety.
You value every creature, each person.
Startle us with renewed awareness of human diversity.
Challenge us to receive your gift with humility and grace.

O Christ of Redemption,
you teach us to love one another,
and we receive this as a problem in our education.
Forgive our ignorance and move us to changes
that can come only through wholesale reform.
Rather than neutralize our fear with vigils,
bring us to committed action that reveals our complicity
and dismantles systemic racial injustice.

O Spirit of Holiness,
you pour upon us the fire of your mercy
and form us into community.
Let us be a movement for equality
and send us beyond our safety nets
of conversation and conventionality.
Lift us above our narrow understandings.
Help us embrace new ways of being.
Show us the pathway of reconciliation
and reveal anew your vision of a kin-dom of peace. Amen.

George R. Crisp, OSL
July 15, 2020 – Redlands, CA

DAY 32 (JULY 28, 2020)

When the door is shut in our face,
Lord, encircle us.
When cruelty abounds,
Lord, encircle us.
Till the struggle with racism is finished,
Lord, encircle us.
When we feel alone,
Lord, encircle us.
When we dare to think critically,
Lord, encircle us.
When we act collectively,
Lord, encircle us.
When others scorn our cause,
Lord, encircle us.
So that we dare risk doing justice,
Lord, encircle us.
So that we encircle you,
the still point of the turning world,
Lord, encircle us.

(a time of silence)

“still point of the turning world” from T.S. Eliot.
Daniel Benedict, Order of Saint Luke

DAY 33 (JULY 29, 2020)

Well mother don't you stop prayin'
Father keep right on prayin'
Don't you stop prayin' for this old world is almost done
Keep your lamps trimmed and burning
Keep your lamps trimmed and burning
Keep your lamps trimmed and burning
For this old world is almost done

Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning, Spiritual

For this world is almost done.
God of mercy, we seem so far from done. We seem so far from the kin-dom promised, when all will be brothers and sisters in love. And every day, that vision and that hope seems to recede farther and farther away. With every angry shout, with every sword rattled and gun toted, with every post and tweet and slogan, we are snuffing out the lamp that burns for peace.

For this world is almost done.
Who’s done, O God of presence and power? Are you done with us? Done with our empty words and half-hearted repentance and lack of reconciliation? Done with our self-righteousness and finger pointing, with our ability to blame everyone else instead of looking within for what is broken in our world? Are you done with us, done with the promise of a better world, a better way, the Eden we ran from because paradise was just too hard for us? Who’s done?

For this world is almost done.
Or are we done, finally done, with our “that’s just the way it is” acceptance of hatred and division? Are we done, finally done, with our easy capitulation to a system that lifts up by pressing down, that honors by rejecting? Are we done with the chains of fear and the lash of words and ready to keep praying for that better world?

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, for this old world is almost done.
May we keep praying. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, July 2020

DAY 34 (JULY 30, 2020)

Prayer Litany
(Adapted from Psalm 72:1-10 and Amos 5:24)

God let your justice and fairness
flow like a river that never runs dry
Please help those of us who are rich
to be honest and fair just like you, our God.
May we who have such abundance
be honest and fair with all your people,
especially the poor.
Let peace and justice rule every mountain
and fairness flow as a river that never runs dry.
God let your justice and fairness
flow like a river that never runs dry
May we your people defend the poor,
rescue the homeless,
and crush everyone who hurts them.
May we be as helpful as rain that refreshes the ground,
to those who are treated unjustly.
Let the wholeness and fairness of your kingdom
live forever like the sun and the moon.
God let your justice and fairness
flow like a river that never runs dry
Because you our God,
rescue the homeless and have pity on those who hurt
May we who are rich stand up for the poor
and let peace abound until the moon fades to nothing.
Let God’s kingdom of justice and fairness
reach from sea to sea, across all the earth.
God let your justice and fairness
flow like a river that never runs dry
Amen.

from Christine Sine’s Godspace website, http://godspace.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/i-have-a-dream-a-prophetic-speech-now-50-years-old/

DAY 35 (JULY 31, 2020)

A Prayer for Challenging Racism

God,
You are the source of human dignity,
and it is in your image that we are created.

Pour out on us the spirit of love and compassion.

Enable us to reverence each person,
to reach out to anyone in need,
to value and appreciate those who differ from us,
to share the resources of our nation,
to receive the gifts offered to us
by people from other cultures.

Grant that we may always promote
the justice and acceptance
that ensures lasting peace and racial harmony.

Help us to remember that we are one world and one family.

Amen.

from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. Posted on the Social Justice Resource Center website, https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/prayers/racism.

DAY 36 (AUGUST 3, 2020)

Dear God of Justice,

Please help my generation to see the need for justice. It is my dream because we need change; and I know that, with you, it can happen.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Ben (age 11)

DAY 37 (AUGUST 4, 2020)

Spirit, whose name literally means breath, we’ve been thinking a lot about breath over the past weeks.

The word for Spirit is also feminine, which is often forgotten. It reminds us when we say the name George Floyd, we cannot forget the names like Breonna Taylor. Spirit, I can’t help but think we need the comfort, strength, and tenacity of a mother in these trying times.

As we find ourselves in a pandemic, where the virus is most known for taking our breath, we cry out for you, Spirit.

As we work through the new normal of wearing masks that cover our breath - not for ourselves but for our neighbors, we think of you, Spirit.

As we listen to the cries of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others pleading for one more breath, we cry out to you, Spirit.

Holy Spirit, I pray you give us ears to hear during this time. That our hearts and minds will be open. And even though it is hard, I pray that you will fill us with an attitude of surrender - to lie down and let go and truly let you breathe in us again and make us come alive.

Breathe on us, Spirit of God; speak to us, Spirit of God; transform us, Spirit of God.

Matt Temple, church planter and associate church developer for the North Texas Conference

DAY 38 (AUGUST 5, 2020)

What’s next, loving God? Where do we go from here? How do we move from this broken place? Too often, we dwell in our pain for too long. Too often, we sit in our sinfulness, unable to see an alternative, unable to grasp hope. Can repentance lead to revolution? Can confession lead to resolution and action? Can contemplation continue in change of behavior?

What’s next, sending God? How do we live into the changes that we want to see? How do we walk in an undiscovered country? How do we chart a course for a new way of living together in community? Must we wait for everyone to finally get the message before we begin to make a change? Or do we strike out, we few who long for a new vision of relationship, and go as we can small step by small step?

What’s next, vision-casting God? Can we see a new tapestry of colors defining who we are? Can we celebrate diversity without jealousy and suspicion? Can we name a family of different faces, different hues, different voices, yet be woven into one?

What’s next, Holy One, God of the prophet Isaiah? We want to be a part of the new thing you are doing in our midst. We want to move on from the past that drags us down and claim a future that is springing up. We want to perceive a new way in our desert; we want to dance in the gardens of this wilderness.

What’s next, God of tomorrow? Can we be a part of it?

In hope and in commitment. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, July 2020

DAY 39 (AUGUST 6, 2020)

On Reading “How to Be an Antiracist”

God of all things, help me now.
I want to be an ally to my black brothers and sisters.
I want to be an ally to my brown brothers and sisters.
I want to be an ally to all who are oppressed by racist systems and policies.

And so I fight for their right to get the same education that I had.
For the right to acquire the same wealth that I have.
For the right to live in a “good” neighborhood as I do.
For the right, in short, to be like me.

And as I pray this, O God, my words convict me of my sin.
Why do I privilege my reality as the one that everyone should desire?
God, help me fight for the right for everyone to be themselves –
to live and love and speak from their own hearts.

Give me the courage to admit my false sense of superiority.
Give me eyes to see others as you see them.
To celebrate their distinctive ways of being in the world.
To honor their culture; to honor their values.

Holy One, open my ears. Open my eyes. Open my heart.
Lead me into humility. Call me into love.
Amen.

Elizabeth Moore, OSL
Abbot, the Order of Saint Luke

DAY 40 (AUGUST 7, 2020)

God, I pray that someday I can live in a non-racist world. I pray that black and white people can be friends for eternity. Help us, please.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Izzy (age 9)

Day 41 (August 10, 2020)

Dear God, we pray with Psalm 19 that you reveal our hidden faults, that you expose and free us from what we do not know or realize that keeps us from one another and from you. We pray that in your Light our darkness is revealed. We pray that we may be free from all that binds us–– racism and all forms of sin–– that that we may sing with Charles Wesley:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Dear God, free us from those things that bind and blind us, that we may joyfully follow Christ.

Amen

Frank Richard Coats, OSL

Day 42 (August 11, 2020)

In fierce and fiery mercy,
there is help for every time and trouble:

Where “white” is privileged,
Where black, brown, yellow, and red aren’t;
Where anguish is raw,
Come down, O Love divine.

When a Latinx child discovers prejudice,
When black youth must be warned to be wary,
When COVID-19 is rampant in the prisons,
Come down, O Love divine.

While we wait for government to see the poor,
While we march and shout,
While we get out the vote,
Come down, O Love divine.

Despite setbacks,
Despite lip service and betrayal,
Despite what never should happen again happens again
(Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks . . .),
Come down, O Love divine.

Till we listen to one another,
Till we know we belong to one another,
Till policy and law look like justice,
Come down, O Love divine.

Pending honesty about systemic racism,
Pending living wages and equal opportunity,
Pending fair and free elections,
Come down, O Love divine.

When courage falters,
When the strife is incendiary,
When we need a song,
Come down, O Love divine.

Carry us strong Pillar of Fire
and kindle in us your holy flame
burning away resistance and racism,
and save us
good and plenty.
Amen.

Br. Daniel Benedict, OSL, The Order of Saint Luke, June 29, 2020

Day 43 (August 12, 2020)

One day when the glory comes
It will be ours, it will be ours
Oh one day when the war is won
We will be sure, we will be sure
Oh glory (Glory, glory)
Oh (Glory, glory)

One day, O Lord of all, one day.
You have promised, poets have sung, prophets have proclaimed,
Teachers have informed, preachers have exhorted,
Glory.

The glory of a kin-dom, of unity and peace,
The glory of a home, of justice and grace,
Your glory, revealed in a people of hope,
Your glory, made real in a death on a cross.
Glory.

Give us to know that glory,
Give us to work for that glory,
Give us to live in that glory,
One day, O Lord, one day.

By your grace and glory. Amen.

Now the war is not over, victory isn't won
And we'll fight on to the finish, then when it's all done
We'll cry glory, oh glory (Glory, glory)
Oh (Glory, glory)
We'll cry glory, oh glory (Glory, glory)
Oh (Glory, glory)

Song: “Glory” by John Legend and Common

Derek C. Weber, August 2020

Day 44 (August 13, 2020)

A Prayer for Government

Give the government justice, O God,
and give righteousness and mercy to those who represent us.
Help us strive together for a government that makes justice for all.

God, you demand justice for the poor and deliverance from their needs.
Help us work steadfastly for political systems
that care for the least among us.

God, you call us to be peacemakers in all things, large and small.
Help us to seek peace
and pursue it with all our hearts, minds, and resources.

God of all, give us the courage to speak truth to power.
God of justice, help all those in power to seek truth.

O God, give us the conviction to elect a government
that gives priority to the “least of these.” Amen.

— written by Dan Claude, and posted on the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative website. http://www.msjc.net/

Day 45 (August 14, 2020)

Oh God, today let us rise with a renewed commitment to do justice and to love kindness. Let our spirits be mindful of those in need and our voices responsive to the injustice in our midst. Help us continue to stand for something larger than ourselves. Amen.

Sojourners, Daily Prayer, https://sojo.net/daily-wisdom/verse-and-voice-07312020

DAY 46 (AUGUST 17, 2020)

A Covenant Prayer: Recommitment to Justice

One: O God, who has created your children to be free
we attest in word and deed that you are our God and we are your people.
From our earliest days… you have called us forth
from self-seeking bondage, comfort, complacency, and complaint,
to freeing and redeeming action for justice
everywhere in the world.

All: You are our freeing God, and we would be your free and freeing people.

Two: O God of Exodus and the Burning Bush,
of the Prophets and of Jesus,
we hear your powerful calling to be your servants
in the service of all those who are oppressed.
At every turn we hear your voice in the cries of the poor,
the hungry, the imprisoned, and the broken,
for you made yourself one with those who seek justice,
freedom, and peace.
We share a vision, a promise,
and a yearning for the day of your reign, O God.

All: You are our servant God, and we would be your serving people.

Three: O God, Our Sustainer,
search our hearts and reveal to us our sinfulness,
all the ways that we contribute to injustice
and to self-destroying bondage.
Give us deep courage to find the true path of your way,
ready to give our very selves as living sacrifices for your will.
We have heard your calling.
Hear us now as we make our pledge. (All rise, if able).

All: You are our God and we are your people.
We pledge ourselves now to pursue relentlessly
that living, breathing justice which transforms persons and peoples.
To your will for justice we recommit ourselves
and pledge ourselves, our funds, our actions.
Through Christ we pray. Amen.

— from Martin Luther King Day Liturgy, posted on the Presbyterian USA website.

DAY 47 (AUGUST 18, 2020)

Come 'round by my side and I'll sing you a song
I'll sing it so softly it'll do no one wrong
On Birmingham Sunday the blood ran like wine
And the choir kept singing of freedom

Birmingham Sunday, by Richard Fariña, sung by Joan Baez (YouTube)

The choir is still singing of freedom, O God of justice and peace.
The air still echoes with bombs and destruction from that Birmingham Sunday in 1963.
It echoes through shouts and tears
Through shooting and shouting,
Through water cannons and dog snarls,
Through fear-mongering and profiling,
Through death and disappearance,
Through “say their name” and “I can’t breathe,”

And the choir keeps singing of freedom.

How long, O Lord, must the song go on being sung?
How long until we realize that the only way we can get to “all lives matter”
is when first we all acknowledge that “black lives matter”?
How long must we sing a song no one wants to hear,
No one thinks is necessary,
No one is willing to work for,
No one is able to hope for?

And the choir keeps singing of freedom.

But now …
What do we hear? If we listen, if we lean in and pay attention
The choir begins to grow,
The voices multiply,
The music swells,
Freedom rings from the rocks and the trees,
From the hearts and the tears,
From the hopes and the hands.

The choir keeps singing of freedom,

because Sunday is coming.
Thanks be to God, Amen and amen.

Derek C. Weber, August 2020

DAY 48 (AUGUST 19, 2020)

Let Freedom Ring Litany

Take heed that what you sing with your mouths,
you believe in your hearts,
and what you believe in your hearts
you show forth in your works.

(Fourth Council of Carthage, 4th century)

From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

(end of stanza 1 of Samuel Francis Smith’s, “America,” 1831)

When our works don’t measure up to our creeds,
When our lives don’t match our songs,
When our systems don’t uphold our ideals,
From ev’ry mountainside let freedom ring!

Where our works hollow out our professions,
Where neighborhoods exclude,
Where misery calls us to right the wrong,
From ev’ry mountainside let freedom ring!

In prisons warehousing people of color,
In zip codes that are food deserts,
In statehouses mouthing clichés about race,
From ev’ry mountainside let freedom ring!

From pulpits and pews divorced from justice,
From executive offices disconnected from truth,
From police headquarters evading accountability,
From ev’ry mountainside let freedom ring!

With mouths singing hope for all,
With hearts believing justice for all,
With lives living love for all,
From ev’ry mountainside let freedom ring!

Br. Daniel Benedict, the Order of Saint Luke

DAY 49 (AUGUST 20, 2020)

For months now, Loving God of all, we’ve been praying for normal. We’re tired of the restrictions, of the limitations, of the regulations designed to keep us safe from an invisible enemy that some doubt exists at all. We want to return to our lives, to the way it was before, when things were easy and happy and fun. Give us normal, we plead again and again.

But what if this moment, this un-normal moment, this take us out of ourselves moment, this pause on the hell-bent rush to who knows where, is a gift of grace from you? What if your question to us in this uncomfortable, inconvenient disruption is not, “How do we get back to normal,” but, “Is normal really serving us anymore?”

What if normal is oppressive to many? What if normal normalizes division and hatred and prejudice? What if we’ve become so comfortable with normal we no longer see who is suffering? What if complacency, normalcy, blinds us to the injustice all around us? What if normal is the last thing we want, the last thing we need?

We pray, Loving God of us all, for a new normal, a better normal, a more just normal, a kin-dom normal. In the name of the abnormal Lord we call Jesus. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, August 2020

DAY 50 (AUGUST 21, 2020)

(Portuguese version) (Versão em Português)

Deus dos pobres e dos oprimidos,
Amigo e irmão dos que sofrem injustiça e indiferença,
Que sua graça sustentadora ofereça esperança aos que hoje se encontram angustiados;
Que seu amor incondicional console aqueles que perderam seus entes queridos,
Que sua presença transformadora nos renove a cada manhã.

Deus dos abandonados e dos esquecidos,
Como seus filhos clamamos por sua grandiosa misericórdia,
E como cristãos ansiamos para que sua compaixão alcance os marginalizados.
Em tempos de isolamento e medo, que a Igreja ofereça acolhimento e coragem.
Em tempos de injustiça e opressão, que a igreja lute por aqueles enfraquecidos pelo ódio.
Em tempos de incerteza e desespero, que a igreja anuncie a esperança.

Deus dos que não são aceitos e respeitados,
Oramos por uma sociedade mais justa,
Oramos por uma igreja mais inclusiva,
Oramos por famílias que amem, por pessoas que aceitem todos como são.
Oramos para Sua missão se cumpra: que todos sejam transformados pelo amor.

Deus dos enfermos e daqueles em luto,
Que este tempo de medo e perda passe,
Que sua consolação alcance os sofrem pelos que já foram,
Que sua graça transforme lamentos em sorrisos,
E que suas bênçãos entrem nos corações quebrados.
Amem.

Based on Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Rev. Marcelo Gomes, serving Lee Memorial UMC in Norwich, CT, Seacoast District

###

God of the poor and the oppressed,
Friend and brother of those who suffer injustice and indifference,
May your sustaining grace offer hope to those in distress today;
May your unconditional love console those who have lost loved ones,
May your transforming presence renew us every morning.

God of the abandoned and the forgotten,
As your children, we cry out for your mercy,
And as Christians, we long for compassion to reach the marginalized.
In times of isolation and fear, may the church offer support and courage.
In times of injustice and oppression, may the church fight for those weakened by hatred.
In times of uncertainty and despair, may the church proclaim hope.

God of those who are not accepted and respected,
We pray for a more just society,
We pray for a more inclusive church,
We pray for families that love and for people who accept everyone as they are.
We pray that your mission be accomplished: everyone transformed by love.

God of the sick and those mourning,
Let this time of fear and loss pass.
May your consolation reach those who have suffered,
May your grace transform laments into smiles,
And may your blessings enter broken hearts.
Amen.

Based on Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Rev. Marcelo Gomes, serving Lee Memorial UMC in Norwich, CT, Seacoast District

DAY 51 (AUGUST 24, 2020)

God grant that violence be overcome by the power of love,
that opposition give way to reconciliation
and that the desire to oppress be transformed
into the desire for forgiveness, justice and peace…

May peace be in our hearts
so that they are open to the action of God’s grace…

May all members of the family community,
especially children, the elderly, the weakest,
feel the warmth of this feast,
and may it extend subsequently to all the days in the year.

Amen.

Pope Benedict XVI

DAY 52 (AUGUST 25, 2020)

The fire prayer

There are fires in our streets, O Lord.

Unholy fires in blazing buildings, on sidewalks,
in parked cars, in trash cans.
They are the fires of destruction, anger, frustration.
These are fires born of hopelessness,
weariness, impatience.

The rifles fire bullets that are all too real,
and tear gas canisters are fired into crowds
filled with unanswered burning questions.

The fire of justice seems to have grown dim,
The fire of equality extinguished,
The fire of common sense ignored,
The fire of democracy displaced,
The fire of fairness forgotten.

You know something of fire, O Lord.

Your Spirit’s fire has baptized with holiness,
sanctified souls, guided the faithful,
taught the wavering, warmed the heart.

You have been the pillar of fire that leads,
the fire that calls us to action,
the fire that fed hungry disciples,
the fire that has heard our denials,
the fire that exposes the truth,
the refiner’s fire that burns away the dross.

Send your Pentecost fire again, O Lord.

Build a holy fire in our hearts, a holy fire in our nation,
a refining fire that cleanses the evil hatred of generations,
a fire that purifies and heals your divided children.
Clear away the dross poisoning our lives.
Lead us in new directions, guide our steps along fresh pathways.
Teach us your loving way of relating to others.
Call us to healing action, hear our confession,
warm our hearts until our souls glow with your love for all people.

In the holy name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Rev. George R. Crisp, OSL
August 10, 2020

DAY 53 (AUGUST 26, 2020)

“Guide my feet while I run this race;
guide my feet while I run this race;
guide my feet while I run this race,
for I don't want to run this race in vain!”

We are running, Lord of all, running full out,
With our hearts in our throats and our fears chasing behind,
We are running for our lives.
We are running for our future, for our world,
We are running for hope and for justice,
Lord, we are running for your vision of who we are and can be.
We are running.

We don’t want to run this race in vain, though, that’s our true fear.
That we will somehow miss this moment.
That in our mad dash to return to normal
We will surrender to a vision that is less than just for all your people,
That devalues black lives in favor of property values and an uneasy peace,
That ignores a broken system that favors one race over others,
That falls short of the kin-dom toward which we strive.

Guide our feet, Lord, while we run this race,
For we don’t want to run this race in vain.
Hold our hands, while we run this race,
Search our hearts, while we run this race,
Stand by us, while we run this race,
For we don’t want to run this race in vain.

Amen and amen.

Derek C Weber, August 2020

DAY 54 (AUGUST 27, 2020)

Litany for Social Justice

We pray for the strength of heart and mind to look beyond ourselves and address the needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world; for the rural and urban poor; for the rebuilding of our communities; and for an end to the cycles of violence that threaten our future.

God of generosity and compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for all nations, that they may live in unity, peace, and concord; and that all people may know justice and enjoy the perfect freedom that only God can give.

God of liberty and freedom, hear our prayer.

We pray that the Holy Spirit may embrace the most vulnerable members of our society; we pray also for an end to the growing disparity between the rich and poor; and for the grace and courage to strive for economic justice.

God of all gifts and blessings, hear our prayer.

We pray for an end to prejudice throughout our country and the world; that we will respect all people as precious children of God; and that racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination will be forever banished from our hearts, our society, and our laws.

God of fellowship and equality, hear our prayer.

We pray for all immigrants, refugees, and pilgrims from around the world, that they may be welcomed in our midst and be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.

God of outcasts and wanderers, hear our prayer.

We pray for all prisoners and captives; that a spirit of forgiveness may replace vengeance and retribution; and that we, with all the destitute, lonely, and oppressed, may be restored to the fullness of God’s grace.

God of absolution and mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all children and families, and particularly for the orphaned, neglected, abused, and those who live in fear of violence or disease; that they may be relieved and protected.

God of children and families, hear our prayer.

We pray for the reconciliation of all people, and for the Church throughout the world, that it may be an instrument of your healing love.

God of outreach and restoration, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who have died as a result of violence, war, disease or famine, especially those who died because of human blindness, neglect, or hardness of heart.

God of eternal life and resurrecting love, hear our prayer.

Almighty God, you have promised to hear what we ask in the name of your Son. Watch over our country now and guide our leaders in all knowledge and truth and make your ways known among all people. In the passion of debate give them a quiet spirit; in the complexities of the issues give them courageous hearts. Accept and fulfill our petitions, we pray, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as you know and love us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, https://episcopalchurch.org/posts/ogr/episcopal-litany-social-justice

DAY 55 (AUGUST 28, 2020)

God of Unity,

We come before you dismayed at our own divisions. We have struggled as your church to come to live in unity; but we are divided – along all the fault lines of our societies. The ruptures in our families, among friends, among denominations, among nations are wide and deep. When we attempt to get on the same page, we build taller walls and dig deeper trenches. God, help us! We know that Christ is not divided. We know that it is your baptism to which we have been called. It is your service to which we are compelled. You have called us to proclaim the gospel, but we even fight about what that is. Help us, God! Help us to give up our power and our privileges. Help us to yield for the sake and cause of the cross of Jesus. Help us to embrace and to live the foolishness of a life emptied of power and given to service, in the likeness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Help us to walk in salvation – in the name of the Servant Christ, amen.

Valerie Bridgeman Davis, The Africana Worship Book, Discipleship Resources, 2006, p.85

DAY 56 (AUGUST 31, 2020)

Behold the Lord, God’s Servant, the Chosen One.
God’s Spirit rests upon the Son to bring justice to the nations.
We need justice in our homes and communities today.
Come, Lord Jesus, with justice for the earth.

We need justice in our schools and on our streets today.
We need justice in our nations and world today.
Come, Lord Jesus, with justice for the earth.

Lord, God’s Servant, the Chosen One,
We call upon you to uproot ungodliness
In every crevice of human existence today.
Come, Lord Jesus, with justice for the earth.

We call upon you, Lord, the only Righteous Judge,
To dispense the type of justice that transforms illicit behavior.
Come, Lord Jesus, with justice for the earth.

We call upon you, Lord, to provide the kind of justice
That clears muddy waters of corruption.
Come, Lord Jesus, with justice for the earth.

The earth cries with the voices of the hungry,
The maimed and the slaughtered innocents.
Come, Lord Jesus, with justice for the earth.

Kwasi I. Kena, The Africana Worship Book, Year A, p.83

DAY 57 (SEPTEMBER 1, 2020)

Almighty God, you created us in your own image.
Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil,
and to make no peace with oppression.
And, that we may reverently use our freedom,
help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice
to the glory of your holy name;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer, USA, 20th Cent., Alt.
The United Methodist Book of Worship, 513

DAY 58 (SEPTEMBER 2, 2020)

A Safe Place to Land, by Sara Bareilles

We’re sinking, Lord of life, sinking in a storm of our own making.
We’re afraid that all is lost, that we are lost, unable to find our way to safety,
And it is hard to hold on to hope.
We fall back on the prayers we have prayed, on the words we have known,
And wonder, Lord, we wonder if there is a safe place to land.
Hope is all that we have.

But, praise be, it is a fierce hope, a strong hope, and hope worth clinging to.
It’s a hope that drives us – drives us – to not just hunker down in the sinking boat.
To not just look out for ourselves, to not just be content with thoughts and prayers.

We want to be the hopeful stranger;
we want to be the hand that reaches out to help others find a safe place to land.
No longer content to wait, to sit, and hope,
We choose to stand and hope, to move and hope, to help and hope.
We choose to stand against the storm and hold on to hope.
Because we believe that the sun will come up.
We believe in the Son. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, August 2020

DAY 59 (SEPTEMBER 3, 2020)

A Prayer in a Time of National Crisis

God of the ages,
in your sight nations rise and fall, and pass through times of peril.
Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and save.
May leaders be led by your wisdom;
may they search your will and see it clearly.
If we have turned from your way,
reverse our ways and help us to repent.
Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us;
through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen.

Presbyterian Worshipbook, USA., 20th Cent., Alt.
The United Methodist Book of Worship, 517

DAY 60 (SEPTEMBER 4, 2020)

Multihued God,

I am troubled today. This changing one’s way of thinking after a lifetime is hard. And confusing at times. For years, we thought that our goal was to get beyond race, to remove color from the conversation. We thought it was a good thing to say, “I don’t see color!” or “I am colorblind when it comes to people.” I even heard a white man quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” The quoter implied that even King wanted to get beyond color to something deeper, something more important than skin. Yet now we hear that to deny color is demeaning, inauthentic, … bad. That’s what we have heard about that statement for years. How are we to think, loving God?

I listen again to that familiar quote. Because you asked me to, Jesus. I listen again and wonder if what we got wrong is that the emphasis in that sentence is not color but “judged.” King said he dreamed of a world that didn’t judge by color. He didn’t say that he dreamed his children wouldn’t be seen, experienced, understood, enjoyed, loved for who they were, including the color of their skin, but that they wouldn’t be judged because of that color. How often, Lord, do we judge – do we demean, diminish, deny, defile – because of color? How often do I?

I am troubled today. Changing one’s way of thinking after a lifetime is hard and confusing, at times. Yet, it is worth the struggle. May your Spirit work the change in me and in us that will help us see as you see, rainbow God. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, August 2020

DAY 61 (SEPTEMBER 7, 2020)

Black, brown, red, yellow, white God,
you see all,
you know all,
you name all.
Circle us now.

You see the we who are more than any me;
our full humanity in both sin and grace.
Circle us now.

We are overwhelmed again,
frustrated again, and yet – still hopeful –
that racial discrimination
will end someday. (Even someday soon?!)
Circle us now.

If you see and treat none with discrimination,
but always with preference for the poor and excluded,
then we must too.
Circle us now.

So, with seven bullet holes in his back,
Jacob Blake will live paralyzed;
and you see him and us whole in love,
through Yeshua who emptied himself
suffering death on a cross
to have a name – Jacob Blake – with his,
a name above every name,
and “we wound with mercy round and round.”
Circle us now.

Amen.

Br. Daniel Benedict, The Order of Saint Luke.
August 26, three days after the shooting in Kenosha, WI
The last line is from a Gerald Manley Hopkins poem,
“Wild air, world-mothering air,”
https://hopkinspoetry.com/poem/the-blessed-virgin/
* “wound” past tense of “wind” (wīnd) as in wrap around a thing or person so as to encircle or enfold.

DAY 62 (SEPTEMBER 8, 2020)

God, help me to realize that it doesn’t matter what clothes people wear, how they cut their hair, or what color their skin is. We are all the same in your eyes, and with this awareness your children can move forward as a family. Discrimination deprives people of not only their civil rights but their human dignity. To overcome the evil challenges of our life we must turn to Christ, the good news of Jesus. Everyone deserves the love that you taught us to give to each other. I guess I am petitioning you not to miraculously solve a problem but to allow for an individual understanding of the violation against you and your world that blatant prejudice and discrimination commit.

Nakela Cook, from Dreams Alive: Prayers by Teenagers, St. Mary’s Press, 1991, p.45.

DAY 63 (SEPTEMBER 9, 2020)

Again?

My God, what will it take? How many must die before we realize what is broken? What fears must we surrender before hope can rise again? What suffering must we observe with eyes of compassion before we see the face of a brother or a sister battered and bruised unto death? How many deaths will it take before we see the atrocity of hatred more clearly than the damage to property because of frustration and pain? What will it take, God of justice, who hears the cry of the broken and oppressed?

Your prophet Hosea reminded us that when we sow wind we will reap the whirlwind. When we sow empty words to placate or dismiss, we will reap the whirlwind of the anger of a people pushed aside, bowed, and almost broken. And the wind is blowing; the whirlwind is around us threatening and fearsome. Let it be our prayer, wise Spirit, that these are winds of radical change bringing us to a new equality, and not the whirlwind of our ultimate destruction. Guide us, God. Again. Amen and amen.

Derek C. Weber, September 2020

DAY 64 (SEPTEMBER 10, 2020)

God, give me a voice.

God of all that is, you have given me eyes to see,
and the pain is so great that I cannot bear it.
I see children whose sense of self-worth is stolen from them
before they are even old enough to go to school.
I see young men labeled as “criminal” whose crime is the color of their skin.

You have given me ears to hear.
and the cries of your children tear at my heart.
I hear victims being blamed for the crimes that have been committed against them.
I hear the gunshots and the screams of the mothers.

You have given me a sense of smell.
and I am overcome by the odor of fear.
Fear of scarcity; fear that my wealth is dependent upon someone else’s poverty.
Fear of the unknown; fear that makes it easier to embrace nostalgia than to risk change.

And yet, O God, you have also given me the gift of wonder.
You have given me eyes to see the beauty of a young artist’s mural.
You have given me ears to hear the soaring strains of music lifted in praise to you.
You have given me the smell of bread being broken as you feed us with your body.

And so I pray to you, O God, give me a voice.
Give me a voice to declare the dignity of all your people.
Give me a voice to demand justice where today there is no justice.
Give me a voice to quell the fear and to declare the truth and the depth of your love.

Lord, give me a voice that I may declare your praise. Amen.

Sr Abbot Elizabeth Moore, O.S.L

DAY 65 (SEPTEMBER 11, 2020)

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home.

Home is at the center of our being. Home is how we understand grace, how we experience love.
Home is where we learn to live as family despite our differences. Home is where our hearts long to live.

God, our Parent,
You placed in us a desire for connection, for welcome, for inclusion.
You gave us a longing for home, a true home, a true family.
Yet there is within us a capacity to exclude, to push away.
You have made us a tapestry, weaving together, enhancing the whole.
Yet, we create division, sameness, drawing lines.
We find some strange security by seeing others as less than, worse than.
Help us, Mothering God; guide us, God our Father.
We feel a long way from home.

Help us find our way home.
Home to you. Home to each other. Home to the kin-dom where we long to be.

Sometimes we feel like a motherless child, a long, long way from home.
Let us not give up on home. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, September 2020

DAY 66 (SEPTEMBER 14, 2020)

A Prayer for Jacob Blake

Justice is not retribution or revenge,
As if that would undo the offense, the harm.
Confronted by another senseless shooting,
Our sense of disbelief and anger
Boils over into street demonstrations,
Breaks open another round of protests.
Law and order is the battle cry for some, but
Anarchy is not on the agenda.
Keep our hearts focused on love, Lord.
Equality is a sign of your kin-dom come. Amen.

Rev. George R. Crisp, OSL
August 27, 2020

DAY 67 (SEPTEMBER 15, 2020)

God of justice, we once heard your song, but now we hear the vitriol of hatred and anger. Silence the noise that we may hear your music once again.

God of mercy, we once heard your song, but now we hear racial slurs and calls for attacks on peaceful protesters. Silence the noise that we may hear your music once again.

God of love, we once heard your song, but now we hear calls for division and hating our perceived enemies. Silence the noise that we may hear your music once again.

God of the stranger, we once heard your song, but now we hear the fears of welcoming people who don’t look like us into our suburbs or our country. Silence the noise that we may hear your music once again.

God of forgiveness, we once heard your song, but now we hear people name-calling those who think differently than they do. Silence the noise that we may hear your music once again.

Jesus, Lord of the Dance, help us to hear your song that we may dance once again, dancing the dance of justice, mercy, love, welcome, and forgiveness. Amen.

Rev. Chad J Bogdewic, STM, Associate Pastor, St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Allison Park, PA

DAY 68 (SEPTEMBER 16, 2020)

“Some of my best friends are . . .”

I’ve heard it said, Lord, maybe even said it myself from time to time. As an excuse, an explanation as to why I can’t be racist. Because some of my best friends . . . But I wonder if it is really true. As far back as I can remember, we kept apart. At school, around the lunch tables, on the playgrounds. And later, in college and in church, we kept apart. But not because it was the rule, not because we were forced to. Yet, we did. We do. I wonder why?

But still, some of my best friends . . . Well, to be honest, not really. Acquaintances, co-workers, even neighbors – in the proximity sense. And I like them; I’ll wave to them, respect them, listen to them, but befriend them? Best-friend them? The other, the ones not like me? Different?

Love your neighbor as yourself. I know that; I hear that; I even believe and proclaim that. So, why don’t I do it? Do it more. Do it sincerely? Befriend. Best friends. Maybe that’s why Jesus said that. Maybe if we did that, things might really begin to change.

I don’t even know where to start, Lord. Or how to start. Keep working on me; keep working on all of us, Spirit. So that one day, one new day, one transformed day, we can say with sincerity, some of my best friends. In the name of the other we call Christ. Amen.

Derek Weber, September 2020

DAY 69 (SEPTEMBER 17, 2020)

Dear God,

In our efforts to dismantle racism, we understand that we struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of the family are inferior and others superior.

Create in us a new mind and heart that will enable us to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories.

Give us the grace and strength to rid ourselves of racial stereotypes that oppress some of us while providing entitlements to others.

Help us to create a church and a nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed people of color where we live, as well as those around the world.

Heal your family God, and make us one with you, in union with our brother Jesus, and empowered by your Holy Spirit.

Pax Christi, https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/prayers/racism/

DAY 70 (SEPTEMBER 18, 2020)

“The Racist Bone”

I need some help again, Lord of Wisdom, some knowledge I’m lacking in this difficult time, this difficult subject. So, help me, if you would, and use words that I can grasp, understanding that isn’t too great for me.

I have heard it said, “He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.” I think that is a good thing. Or at least I certainly hope I don’t have one. Now, forgive me if this sounds too simple, like something I should have learned in school a long time ago; or maybe I missed the class in freshman biology when it was discussed. But what exactly is the racist bone? And would I know if I have one? Would I recognize it when I see it in others?

Maybe it isn’t visible; most of our bones aren’t, I realize. But does it affect how we walk? Is it a bone that makes us limp around those who don’t look like us? Or run faster when our fears create monsters out of neighbors? Or is it a bone that we thrust out to keep others at a distance, like a barrier on a gated community?

Maybe the racist bone is one of those tiny things in the ear, like the hammer and the stirrup. The racist bone shapes our hearing so that everything sounds suspicious when it comes from the mouth of a person with different skin. Or maybe a bony covering of the eye that causes one to miss the mistreatment of another by persons of authority. Perhaps a hardening of the tongue that allows one to tell a “joke” or repeat a story that demeans another because of race.

Can we find the racist bone in the brain, Lord of creation, that allows us to hold thoughts that go against your word simply because they make us feel superior? Is the racist bone found in the spine where it supports our stand that allows oppression to continue unchallenged because it would change our way of life too much?

Did your prophet Jeremiah speak of the racist bone when he told us that you long to remove the calcified heart within us, the heart that makes room for hate, the heart that denies sinfulness, and replace it with a heart of flesh? Is that the racist bone at the core of my being? I don’t want it any more. Please, Lord of transformation, remove any racist bone in my body. Whatever it takes. Let my mind and my body, my eyes and ears and tongue, be instruments of your grace and live a life of loving. In your name. Amen.

Derek Weber, September 2020

DAY 71 (SEPTEMBER 21, 2020)

Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
But
It will be our brave space together,
and
We will work on it side by side.

By Micky ScottBey Jones, posted on https://oppeace.org/blog/2019/11/20/an-invitation-to-brave-space/

DAY 72 (SEPTEMBER 22, 2020)

Lord, open unto me
Open unto me – light for my darkness.
Open unto me – courage for my fear.
Open unto me – hope for my despair.
Open unto me – peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me – joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me strength for my weakness.
Open unto me – wisdom for my confusion
Open unto me – forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me – love for my hates.
Open unto me – thy Self for my self.
Lord, Lord, open unto me!

Prayer by Howard Thurman, posted on https://urbansimplicity.net/2013/08/22/five-or-seven-quotes-and-a-prayer-from-howard-thurman/

DAY 73 (SEPTEMBER 23, 2020)

Holy One,
In your image
You have created humankind, in great diversity.
We give thanks for the differences—

Holy One,
In your image
You have created humankind, in great diversity.
We give thanks for the differences—
of cultures and ethnicities, of histories and life-stories, of skin colour and language and
hearts that love the world.

We watch in horror as Power desecrates Black and Brown bodies;
walks on their sacredness, kills and subjugates,
in thousands of ways, hidden and overt.
We must not stop at watching—
held back from right action by our horror or seeming powerlessness.

Grant us hearts that listen and learn;
egos that are willing to accept when our own racism is called out.

Grant us courage, to disassemble the systems,
the stories, the mythos, that privilege whiteness over all others.

Give us your Holy Spirit’s wind to call out racism in all its forms—
inside our hearts, inside the church, and in your world,
give us the strength, the wisdom and the will to root out White Fragility,
and White Supremacy, so that they would never again do harm,
never again take away, never again kill.

Help us to be anti-racist,
in all that we say, in all that we do, in all that we are.
It is time. It is well past time.

God of all creation,
bless us all with what we need, to march on.
To live this work of anti-racism.
Today.
Every day.
Always.

In Jesus’ name.
May it be.

-A prayer by the Right Rev. Richard Bott. https://www.united-church.ca/prayers/anti-racism-prayer

DAY 74 (SEPTEMBER 24, 2020)

Written by the Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team.

Dear God, in our efforts to dismantle racism, we understand that we struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of the family are inferior and others superior.

Create in us a new mind and heart that will enable us to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories.

Give us the grace and strength to rid ourselves of racial stereotypes that oppress some of us while providing entitlements to others.

Help us to create a Church and nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed People of Color where we live, as well as those around the world.

Heal your family God, and make us one with you, in union with our brother Jesus, and empowered by your Holy Spirit.

Amen.

https://spsmw.org/prayer/prayer-dismantling-racism/

DAY 75 (SEPTEMBER 25, 2020)

Going Home Justified

God, I thank you that I am not like other people - that I’m respectful of property, know to stand before our nation’s flag, protest the right way. Sure, I think racism is bad, and if I ever met racists I’d gently show them the error of their ways. I’m glad I’m not like those people who are violent and angry. They are making things worse rather than better. They should just be patient. They should be more like me.

God, be merciful to me, a sinner. I am scared, and broken, and afraid I might be part of the problem rather than the beginning of a solution. Forgive me looking at the method of protest before listening to the reasons behind it. Forgive me for assessing who has a right to be angry, who has a right to speak or take a knee instead of trying to understand what brought them to their knees in the first place. Give me grace to listen deeper, with compassion. Like that of the one who had compassion on me, a sinner.

Luke 18:10-14
Derek C. Weber, September 2020

DAY 76 (SEPTEMBER 28, 2020)

OUR LITTLE LIVES

Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!
The quietness in Your temple of silence again and again rebuffs us:
For some there is no discipline to hold them steady in the waiting,
And the minds reject the noiseless invasion of Your spirit.
For some there is no will to offer what is central in the thoughts—
The confusion is so manifest, there is no starting place to take hold.
For some the evils of the world tear down all concentrations
And scatter the focus of the high resolves.
We do not know how to do what we know to do.
We do not know how to be what we know to be.
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!
Pour out upon us whatever our spirits need of shock, of life, of release
That we may find strength for these days—
Courage and hope for tomorrow.
In confidence we rest in Your sustaining grace
Which makes possible triumph in defeat, gain in loss, and love in hate.
We rejoice this day to say:
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!

Prayers by Howard Thurman, https://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/poetry-prayers-visual-arts/prayers-for-today-howard-thurman/

DAY 77 (SEPTEMBER 29, 2020)

A Prayer of Lament

O God, our Divine Parent,
the truth is often uncomfortable,
disquieting, disturbing
but no less the truth.
The strife of racial tension claims another life;
someone pays the price for years of suspicion,
mistrust, separation, and hatred.
The bleak wilderness is once again our address,
where we cry with hunger and thirst
for what seems to be a false dream.
Is “liberty and justice” really for all?

You, O God, who know us so well,
we seem incapable of being comforted,
saturated with the aches and pains of
bitter language, scornful treatment, spiteful violence.
What do we do with our unresolved, unfinished, unending grief?
Where can we turn with unpalatable hurt
that pollutes our thoughts and soils our shoes?
“Anger and alleluias careen around
within us, sometimes colliding.”[1]

O God of tender compassion,
known for your steadfast love and faithfulness,
will our discomfort ever find resolution;
can’t you fix this – or inspire us to?
When we accept the phony gods of
persistent attitudes, arrogance and superiority
step up, step on, step in to quell our self-made idols.
Show us how wrong we are, how much we have lost,
how significantly more we have to learn,
how our hearts are frozen,
the kind of courage it takes to unclench our fist
and open our hand.

Confident that you hear our lament,
teach us the ways of peace, patience, hope and love
so that we may again praise you,
for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

George R. Crisp, OSL, September 17, 2020


[1] Borrowed from Ann Weems, Psalms of Lament.

DAY 78 (SEPTEMBER 30, 2020)

A Litany for Those Not Ready for Healing

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.

Let us not rush to offer a Band-Aid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.

Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment.

Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.

Let us not rush past the loss of this mother’s child, this father’s child . . . someone’s beloved son.

Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance.

Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice.

Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness, and the pain that is life
in community together.

Let us not offer clichés to the grieving, those whose hearts are being torn asunder.

Instead . . .

Let us mourn black and brown men and women, those killed extrajudicially every 28 hours.

Let us lament the loss of a teenager, dead at the hands of a police officer who described
him as a demon.

Let us weep at a criminal justice system, which is neither blind nor just.

Let us call for the mourning men and the wailing women, those willing to rend their garments of privilege and ease, and sit in the ashes of this nation’s original sin.

Let us be silent when we don’t know what to say.

Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage, and grief pouring from the lips of our neighbors and friends.

Let us decrease, so that our brothers and sisters who live on the underside of history may increase.

Let us pray with our eyes open and our feet firmly planted on the ground

Let us listen to the shattering glass and let us smell the purifying fires, for it is the language of the unheard.

God, in your mercy…
Show me my own complicity in injustice.
Convict me for my indifference.
Forgive me when I have remained silent.
Equip me with a zeal for righteousness.
Never let me grow accustomed or acclimated to unrighteousness.

Dr. Yolanda Pierce, https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/prayers-for-racial-justice-and-reconciliation

DAY 79 (OCTOBER 1, 2020)

Don’t you care, Lord? There’s a storm blowing here. We’re about to go under. The waves are so high; the wind is so fierce; I don’t think we can survive this time. Don’t you care? Every time we are able to catch our breath, another swell rises up and threatens to overwhelm us. Don’t you care?

We’re all in this boat, and there’s no place to hide. We all have to face the storm, though some aren’t pulling their weight, defying the wind, denying the waves. There are those who are suffering more, the ones on the edges, drenched by the surge of pounding surf. There are those who have been crushed under the weight of the water, and we barely know who they are. We are struggling to keep our own heads above water. How did we become so callous? How did we become so afraid? Lord, don’t you care that we are dying here?

Sometimes it seems as though the storm inside, the storm between us inhabitants of the boat, is worse than the storm that rages outside. Sometimes it seems that if we could only pull together, see one another as assets to the voyage, partners on the journey, that we just might survive the tempest that rages without. Sometimes it seems if there were a way to call for peace, a way to silence the storm between us, there might be a way through. But that seems impossible in this terror-filled moment, where we are better at stoking the fear than at calming the waves.

Does the Spirit say now: Don’t you care that you are dying?

Peace; Be still.

In your name and for our lives. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, September 2020

DAY 80 (OCTOBER 2, 2020)

Dear God,

In the effort to dismantle racism, I understand that I struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of our family are inferior and others superior.

Create in me a new mind and heart that will enable me to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories.

Give me the grace and strength to rid myself of racial stereotypes that oppress some in my family while providing entitlements to others.

Help me to create a nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed people of color where we live, as well as those around the world.

Help me to heal your family making me one with you and empowered by your Holy Spirit.

Adapted by Debra Mooney, PhD from Pax Christi, https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/prayers-for-racial-justice-and-reconciliation

DAY 81 (OCTOBER 5, 2020)

God of all peoples and nations,
America, these United States of America, is a gift:
A gift that we, the people, sometimes take for granted.
In us, light and dark struggle.
In us, ideals and ideologies clash.
In us, hope and despair cry out.
In us, fears real and specious divide.
In us, a long history of prejudice and
exploitation still rears its ugly head.
Deliver us from the lust to win at any cost.

Save us from polarization and intolerance.

Convict us of our stewardship of the truth.
Hallow in us the care of the soil, waters,
and air from sea to shining sea.
Restore us to working for the welfare of all.
Dare high and low to bend to the long arc of justice.
Turn our wills toward righteousness, compassion,
and faith’s trust in Providence.
Bring us through these days to a more perfect union.
In the name of the Source, Word, and Breath of all creation.
Amen.

Br. Daniel Benedict, The Order of Saint Luke

DAY 82 (OCTOBER 6, 2020)

I NEED YOU

I need Your sense of time. Always I have an underlying anxiety about things. Sometimes I am in a hurry to achieve my ends and am completely without patience. It is hard for me to realize that some growth is slow, that not all processes are swift. I cannot discriminate between what takes time to develop and what can be rushed because my sense of time is dulled. O to understand the meaning of perspective that I may do all things with a profound sense of leisure of time.

I need Your sense of order. The confusion of the details of living is sometimes overwhelming. The little things keep getting in my way, providing ready-made excuses for failure to do and be what I know I ought to do and be. Much time is spent on things that are not very important while significant things are put in an insignificant place in my scheme of order. I must unscramble my affairs so that my life will become order. O God, I need Your sense of order.

I need Your sense of the future. Teach me to know that life is ever on the side of the future. Keep alive in me the future look, the high hope. Let me not be frozen either by the past or the present. Grant me, O Patient One, Your sense of the future without which all life would sicken and die.

Howard Thurman, https://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/poetry-prayers-visual-arts/prayers-for-today-howard-thurman/

DAY 83 (OCTOBER 7, 2020)

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Patient and Long-suffering God,

I’m compelled to ask today; it has been haunting me for weeks now. Did your prophet Micah preach before a congregation of stony-faced parishioners? Did he look up from his notes and nearly stumble in his proclamation as he saw their arms crossed and scowling faces, as he saw them squirming in the pews at his words? Did many of them go out the side door of the sanctuary rather than shake his hand in the aisle? Did someone point a shaking finger in his face and say, “We don’t want to hear politics from the pulpit, Pastor Micah”?

This business of truth telling has become even more difficult, and, unfortunately, rare in these days, O God. We are more comfortable with lies, with assurances that our discipleship doesn’t really impact our lives in the real world, that all you are really interested in is getting us out of here and into heaven as cleanly as possible.

Did Preacher Micah ever want to give up? Did he make a t-shirt with his famous words and wear it ironically while he tended their softened souls? Or did he keep calling for justice, even when ears got tired of hearing it? Did he continue to speak up against the hate, the bigotry, the prejudice, even to people who thought he must have been talking to someone else?

What do you require of us, Lord, we who claim your name and represent your will with our everyday lives? What do you really require? We need to hear it again. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, September 2020

DAY 84 (OCTOBER 8, 2020)

Wake Me Up Lord

Wake me up Lord, so that the evil of racism
finds no home within me.
Keep watch over my heart Lord,
and remove from me any barriers to your grace,
that may oppress and offend my brothers and sisters.
Fill my spirit Lord, so that I may give
services of justice and peace.
Clear my mind Lord, and use it for your glory.
And finally, remind us Lord that you said,
"blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God."
Amen.

This prayer is from For The Love of One Another (1989), a special message from the Bishops' Committee on Black Catholics of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the Pastoral Letter, Brothers and Sisters to Us, the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Pastoral Letter on Racism (1979). https://www.usccb.org/resources/prayer-service-racial-healing-our-land.

DAY 85 (OCTOBER 9, 2020)

… for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God …
Genesis 33:10 NRSV

God of our mothers and fathers,

He was afraid, your servant Jacob. Afraid of his own brother. Afraid because of how he had treated him. Afraid because of the cheating and the stealing and the demeaning and the favoritism, playing parent against parent. And when he came back, he was afraid of the brother he had wronged.

Fear gets in the way of reconciliation; fear gets in the way of restitution, of justice, of community. Fear gets in the way of hope. No wonder your Son our Savior tried to wean us off fear—fear of the other, fear of the stranger. No wonder those who seek to rule over us stoke our fears. Because in so doing, they keep us from seeing your face, the face of God, in our brothers and our sisters.

We are tired of being afraid. And we long to see your face. Give us strength to put aside our fears and begin to heal what we have broken. The divisions are great; the pain is deep, so help us persevere until we see your face in every face. In every face a sibling, a beloved. Help us see what you see, even in us. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, September 2020

DAY 86 (OCTOBER 12, 2020)

A Prayer for the Morning

I am so weary, Father, of using myself as the measure of everything and everybody. Just for this one day, I beg you, help me to find release from the old pattern of seeing the different-from-me as either less-than or more-than me. Grant instead that, for this one day at least, I may see everything and everybody I meet in terms of how I want you to see me at this day’s end.

Phyllis Tickle, from Race and Prayer, Morehouse Publishing, 2003, p.11.

DAY 87 (OCTOBER 13, 2020)

PRAYER OF THE FARM WORKERS’ STRUGGLE

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people’s plight.
Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with other workers.
Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.
Amen.

Written by Cesar E. Chavez, UFW Founder (1927-1993)
Cesar E. Chavez Foundation 1741 s. Harvard Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90006
213-733-6346 e-mail <[email protected] Posted: http://walkwithmeonourjourney.blogspot.com/2019/04/an-evening-in-prayer-and-meditation.html

DAY 88 (OCTOBER 14, 2020)

“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace.” Teach me how to order my days that with sure touch I may say the right word at the right time and in the right way — lest I betray the spirit of peace. Let me not be deceived by my own insecurity and weakness which would make me hurt another as I try desperately to help myself. Keep watch with me, O my Father, over the days of my life, that with abiding enthusiasm I may be in such possession of myself that each day I may offer to Thee the full, unhampered use of me in all my parts as “an instrument of Thy Peace.” Amen.

Howard Thurman, The Inward Journey: Meditations on the Spiritual Quest (Harper Row, 1961, p.104), cited on Renovare website, https://renovare.org/articles/make-me-an-instrument-of-thy-peace

DAY 89 (OCTOBER 15, 2020)

Dear God,

I want to thank you for something you did long ago, when I was a child, when you showed me that my skin was beautiful.

Do you remember how I was looking at the colors of my hand – all the shades that went into making my unique brown – how I was admiring the careful blending, thinking “how lovely” and you chimed in with, “Yes, it is, isn’t it?” I love you for that comment. When I grew older, I realized that very few people shared our love for my skin. Everywhere I looked there were ads for things to bleach my color out. I even bought some, once. It burned. Even so, I kept it for a long time, because I wanted to be beautiful and the world was telling me this is how to do it. Forgive me for losing faith. And that reminds me of something else. Remember how I used to wish that I didn’t have to straighten my hair, how I wanted to just let it be itself? I can do that now, and it’s wild and joyful in the wind, and I love you for giving it to me because it just exactly expresses who I am in my soul.

But here is what I’m really praying about. I want to ask you to help people understand that just because I love what you have made me doesn’t mean I don’t love what you have made them. I think that’s part of our problem – we can only see one kind of beauty at a time when you have created so many different varieties. You’re just too darned generous, God. We can’t take it. But I think if you work with us, we can try. We have to. …

You know, God, the other day a little boy about my same color told me that he wanted to be white. I asked him why. He said he didn’t know, he just thought it would be better.

Angela Boatright, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003, p.96).

DAY 90 (OCTOBER 16, 2020)

When Israel was in Egypt land
Let my people go!

Oppressed so hard they could not stand
Let my people go!

So the God said: go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell ol’ pharaoh to
Let my people go!

Sung by Louis Armstrong, animation by Nina Paley - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp2WdyeAHIM

Is there a voice in the burning, Lord? The forests are on fire; the cities are burning. Though much is consumed in the blaze, might we hear a voice if we listen? Might we hear the cry of a planet, pleading to be released from bondage? The voice of the people, crying to be set free from oppression? Have we forgotten that we stand on holy ground? Have we forgotten that all your children are precious in your sight and that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”? How can we pass by the conflagration and not turn aside?

O Lord of our fathers and mothers, of our sisters and brothers, let us turn aside. Aside from our own agendas, aside from our self-centered existence, aside from our consumer mentality. Let us turn aside and listen to the burning. With tears that match your tears, with broken hearts that match your broken heart. Let us turn aside so that we might hear the call. The call to go down.

Down to where the fire burns hottest. Down to where the people are being burned, down to where the need is greatest. Let us go down, we Moseses in training, and set your people free. Set our world free. Set ourselves free from the hate that burns us, the division that consumes us. Send us down, Lord, once more.

Is there a voice in the burning? May we turn aside, with ears to hear. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, October 2020

DAY 91 (OCTOBER 19, 2020)

Giver of Life,
What is it that makes us so desperate to have an “other”?
Is this something we have been taught?
Or is it, deep within us, our original sin?
Is it possible for me to just be me?
Or do I have to be “not you”?
Can it be enough to be myself,
Or does my sense depend upon being better than “them”
– whoever I have defined “them” to be?
I may not be perfect, but I’m not ____________.
(Fill in the blank with the “other” of your choice.)
O God, where have I learned to think like this?
When did I learn to distort love into judgment?
Help me, God. Help me to see myself through your eyes.
Help me to break the chains of “othering.”
Help me to know that none of us may be perfect,
But every one of us is your child, beloved and accepted.
Help me, God. Help me.

Elizabeth Moore, O.S.L.
October 2020

DAY 92 (OCTOBER 20, 2020)

Lord God, we stand on the promise that you will never leave us nor forsake us. Because of hatred we feel unloved, unaccepted, and misunderstood. Help us not to think less of ourselves even when others belittle us. Daily challenges are greater than we are. We feel so helpless and abandoned. Day and night we call on you, but you seem so far off. As spiritual beings we are divinely protected and divinely directed. Then why is there so much fear and hatred among your people? Lord God, save us lest we perish. Amen.

Sandra A. Wharton, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003, p.99).

DAY 93 (OCTOBER 21, 2020)

So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. - Genesis 2:19 NRSV

Did you mean to do this, God, or was it a mistake? Giving us the power to name things, living things, and to have that be the name by which these living things would be known seems risky. No, not just risky, imprudent. A bad choice on your part. Forgive me, but did you come to regret this one too?

Like so many of the gifts that you have given, we don’t know how to use this power rightly. It has always been our tendency to name things as a way of controlling them. As a way of demeaning them. As a way of dismissing them. This name-calling tendency we have seems antithetical to the kin-dom you seek us to have and to know.

We repent of this ability; take it away please. Let us no longer name your creation anything but the name you have given. And that is good.

We pray in the name of the One whose name we bear, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, October 2020

DAY 94 (OCTOBER 22, 2020)

Prayer for Humankind

God of all humanity,
You call us to bring about healing and wholeness for the whole world –
for women and men of all races and cultures and creeds.
Help us to respond to a world that is groaning under the weight of injustice
and broken relationships.
Remind us that differences are a gift,
and interdependence a strength from the same creative God.
Strengthen us to resist the forces that encourage polarization and competition
rather than understanding and cooperation.
We know that your reign is not built on injustice and oppression,
but on the transformation of hearts –
new life, not just reordered life.
Teach us forgiveness, O God.
Bring us reconciliation.
Give us hope for the future.
We pray in Jesus’ love.
Amen.

Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003, p.76).

DAY 95 (OCTOBER 23, 2020)

We thank you for your church, founded upon your Word, that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon you. Help us to realize that humanity was created to shine like the stars and live on through all eternity. Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace. Help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all God's children -- Black, White, Red, Brown and Yellow -- will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the reign of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., from Thou, Dear God: Prayers that Open Hearts and Spirits (edited by Lewis V. Baldwin, Beacon Press, 2012).posted on https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/prayers-martin-luther-king-jr.

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