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, 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.
April 9, 2021
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way.
Thou who hast by Thy might
Let us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand
True to our God, true to our native land!
James Weldon Johnson, “God of Our Weary Years (1921),” in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, ed. James Melvin Washington (HarperCollins: 1994), 132.
April 8, 2021
Slow us down that we may hear and see you a little more clearly.
Help us to confront the evil of racism and prejudice,
To see and hear each other more truly.
Our own ways have not worked,
Help us to find your way.
Give us wisdom and courage to build bridges
Between each other, our sacred boxes, and our tribes.
We pray that the Wind of your Spirit will continue
Changing, comforting, challenging, and healing
All the people and systems that welcome it.
Ravi Verma, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 112-113.
April 7, 2021
We shouted, “Christ is Risen!” in our half-filled sanctuaries and over our livestream links this week, God of new beginnings. We proclaimed a new day, a new age, a new kin-dom of transformation and life. And yet, the world seems deaf to our cries – unready and unwilling to embrace a new way of being in the world, a new understanding of who we are as children of God. It is hard to keep proclaiming the Risen Christ when we seem swallowed up in death, when lives are taken at an alarming rate, when hatred because of race seems rampant and rising, when division increases even within families. It is hard to be Easter people, when Good Friday seems to be the louder word.
Lord of Resurrection and of Hope, help us hold on to our proclamation; help us work toward racial equality and end white supremacy; help us see all the people the way you see them, as worth dying for and worth living for. All the people. Help us follow the One who is going before us into a kin-dom come on earth as it is in heaven. We long to be Easter people always. In the name of the Resurrected One, Amen.
Derek C. Weber, March 2021
April 6, 2021
Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know cries to be done. Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the words of men’s mouths, or our own lives. Might causes are calling us – the freeing of women, the training of children, the putting down of hate and murder and poverty – all these and more. But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifice and death. Mercifully grant us, O God, the spirit of Esther, that we say: I will go unto the King and if I perish, I perish. Amen.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, “Give us Grace (1909-1910),” in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, ed. James Melvin Washington (HarperCollins: 1994), 105.
April 5, 2021
Oh, God of death and life,
We await your resurrection.
There are so many dead places,
Where despair and destruction reign,
We are divided by race, color, creed, tribe, gender, and sexual orientation.
We have not heeded your call to be a people of resurrection and hope.
In the Easter season, let new life come.
May we see you in the spring, in every branch of every tree,
In the sounds of the birds, in the whispers of spring wind.
Bring us together to see you as a new creation.
We pray in your name.
Petero A.N. Sabune, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 115.
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.