Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism
By Derek Weber
While the headlines may have receded, the sin of racism continues to be seen and felt on both individual and systemic levels. Dismantling racism is not a short-term task but a lifelong moving forward to perfection in love—to use founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley’s words. Therefore, Discipleship Ministries and other agencies and bodies of The United Methodist Church will continue to provide resources and guidance on how to become anti-racist individuals and churches. Please seek out the help you need to maintain your efforts to transform your community into an anti-racist fellowship.
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 continue to provide daily prayers to help keep us all centered on the ongoing journey of transformation. 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 for anti-racism, click here to contact us. Join with us in this season of prayer and change in our denomination and beyond.
May 29, 2023
Today in the USA, we remember the cost of freedom, God who knows sacrifice. It is a hard day, a difficult admission that in the cause of peace, we continue to send the young to die for us. While we give honor to those who served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice, we must also ask if we are able to live as a nation in a way that is worthy of that offering. Is the nation that soldiers die for the nation that we are, or is it a dream that we have abandoned in favor of a more self-seeking emphasis on the individual? Is the dream that all are created equal, that we believe in liberty and justice for all, fading from the national consciousness?
Help us, God of peace and God of justice, help us remember those who have died fighting our wars and honor them by working to recapture the kin-dom dream of one nation under God, seeking to tear down the walls that divide us and the barriers that keep some from living in the freedom won by blood. Help us at the same time study war no more and learn to live in peace. In the name of the prince of peace, we pray. Amen.
Derek Weber, May 2023
May 26, 2023
Jesus, You died to break the power of sin in our lives and in our world, the sin of racism included. You loved everyone, young and old, of every race, with a fierce, sacrificial love. You opposed evil so much You were willing to give Your life that all Your children might live, fully free. You’re victorious over evil and fought our hatred with love.
We proclaim Your life every time we defend those who are losing theirs. As You bind our hearts to Yours, You fill us with a passion for justice and the courage to oppose injustice in every form.
Jennifer Slattery, “Day 11: Remind Us of the Gospel,” 30-Day Prayer Challenge for Ending Racism (January 15. 2020), https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/day-anti-racism-prayer-challenge.html.
May 25, 2023
our sins are too heavy to carry,
too real to hide,
and too deep to undo.
Forgive what our lips tremble to name,
What our hearts can no longer bear,
And what has become for us
a consuming fire of judgment.
Set us free from a past that we cannot change;
Open to us a future in which we can be changed;
and grant us grace
to grow more and more in your likeness and image;
through Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
Service of Justice and Prayer in Response to the Racism and White Supremacy in Charlottesville, Presbyterian Church USA, page 2, https://facing-racism.pcusa.org/item/41776/.
May 24, 2023
Holy Spirit of Compassion and Truth,
We remember today the conviction of the founder of our movement, John Wesley, as he felt his heart strangely warmed and knew that he was included in your great plan of salvation. And in the strength of that conviction, he preached salvation to any and to all. He preached to body and to soul; he preached to a church called to bring transformation to a hurting world, to a hating world. In the strength of that conviction, he chose to live his faith with his hands and heart, with his words and his welcome.
Convict us today, Holy Spirit, that we are a part – not the whole, but a part – of your great plan of salvation that has this-world impact and not just next-world promises. May we with joy proclaim welcome to all, healing for all, justice for all, and love for all because our hearts are strangely warmed.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
May 23, 2023
Use us, oh God, to be your voice of justice in our hurting world.
Use us, oh God, to be the change we know you want to see
Where eyes and ears and hearts are opened –
And every Black brother and sister can breathe free, be recognized as sacred, and racism is dismantled.
Change takes time. And time is up!! May we do everything in the name of love. Because you, our god created us to, you called us to, and you will give us the strength and courage we need to do it. Amen.
Prayer – Betsy Conway, CSJ, cited in “We Are Called to Be Christ’s Body—Anti-Racism Prayer Vigil (June 7, 2020), page 1, https://www.csjboston.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/CSJ-Anti-Racism-opening-prayer-and-statemen-for-vigil-6-7-20.pdf.
May 22, 2023
Good and gracious God, we offer this prayer today in Love that unites us to you and to one another.
We pray that nourished by your word and by your Spirit, we may grow ever stronger in faith as we strive for the coming of your kingdom. We stand at the crossroads committed to the ongoing faith-centered struggle to dismantle racism, to create just and anti-racist relationships with our brothers and sisters, and within our church and institutions as we strive to build a society that dwells together in God’s unconditional and universal love.
Archdiocese of Chicago’s Anti-Racism Implementation Team, “Dwell in My Love Prayer” (page 14), A Toolkit for Anti-Racism Prayer Services, © 2008 Archdiocese of Chicago, Office for Racial Justice, http://www.ospihm.org/racial-healing/docs/Toolkit-for-Anti-Racism-Prayer-Services.pdf.
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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