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

Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism

By Derek Weber

Three people holding hands in prayer

In this Kairos moment of protest and awakening, Discipleship Ministries and other agencies and bodies of the United Methodist Church are providing resources and guidance on how to become anti-racist individuals and churches. Please seek out the help you need in this time of transformation.

The Worship Team of Discipleship Ministries believes, however, that such a change will not happen unless the whole process is bathed in prayer every step along the way. To that end, we will be providing daily prayers to help keep us all centered on the journey ahead. From Monday through Friday, a new prayer will be posted here for your use as personal devotion, to share in your small group, or for use in corporate worship.

If you wish to receive these prayers each day in your email, the process for signing up is outlined below. If you would like to submit a prayer, please contact the Worship Team and we would be glad to work with you on how to submit for posting. Join with us in this season of prayer and change in our denomination and beyond.

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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 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.

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

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 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 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

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Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.

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