Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism
By Derek Weber
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 for anti-racism, click here to contact us. Join with us in this season of prayer and change in our denomination and beyond.
June 17, 2021
“Of Our New Day Begun” by Omar Thomas
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof attended a Bible study in Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and then proceeded to shoot and kill nine members of the church attending that Bible study. Our prayer this day is a musical commemoration of those killed that day. You are encouraged to find the twelve minutes to listen and pray along with Omar Thomas as we seek to dismantle racism.
Suggested by Rev. Carol R. Cannon, co-pastor, St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, Orangeburg, SC
June 16, 2021
Why are we so afraid, God of history and of truth? Why do we legislate against studying the past to examine our motivations and our behaviors with regard to race? Are we afraid of what we might find? Or do we know what is there and choose not to look?
I consider myself an educated person, rightfully proud my degrees and achievements. But why was I never taught in school that on a pretense a white mob killed three hundred Black people in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one hundred years ago? Why was I not taught that the only successful coup in the United States was against the lawfully elected biracial local government in Wilmington, North Carolina, over 120 years ago, forcing out more than one hundred elected Black government officials and killing up to 250 Black citizens and forcing more than 100,000 Black voters to flee from the city? Is it right that we cover up these acts so that we do not damage our self-image?
We have to know, God of Yesterday and Today, not so that we can hate ourselves or hate who we were, but so that we can be honest with ourselves and with those we continue to harm. Help us end the harm. Help us dismantle the systems that continue to oppress. Help us see through the eyes of history that we have work to do today. Help us not be afraid, so we can examine the past, recent and more distant, and face the hate, that we might learn to love. As Jesus taught us. In his name and to his glory. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, June 2021
June 15, 2021
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.
Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook, in Seeing the Face of God in Each Other: The Antiracism Training Manual for the Episcopal Church, Diversity, Social, and Environmental Ministries Team, Mission Department of the Episcopal Church Center, 2011, 47, https://www.episcopalchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/02/antiracism_book-revise3.pdf.
June 14, 2021
God of love, light, and justice:
We honor those who continue the fight for freedom and justice for all humans. We are grateful for those who sit, kneel, and stand in prayer and protest
Holy Comforter, there is fear, deep within so many of us. Fear of change, fear of being forgotten, fear of continued violence toward your children with black and brown bodies. Reveal to us the ways we condone such harm and hatred and inspire us to boldness so we might bring further justice.
In a nation that is still so politically polarized, may we find ways to cross the aisle and work together. This will take honesty, accountability, and vulnerable conversations.
Prepare us for this work, O God.
Forgive us for the times we have fallen into the sin of supremacy in the many forms it presents itself. Forgive us for the way we have used the name of Jesus as an excuse to commit acts of violence and hatred, for this is not the mission of love, justice, and mercy that Jesus brought.
Save us from ourselves, Loving God.
Rev. Katie Minnis, Pastoral Fellow, West End United Methodist Church, Nashville, TN
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.