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

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.

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July 1, 2022

Christ Jesus, you were a victim of injustice, condemned by those who had the power to save you and ignored by those who might have spoken up on your behalf. Embolden us to use the opportunities we have to speak out against the injustices around us, knowing that you desire justice for all God’s people. Amen.

From “Stations of the Cross: Overcoming Racism, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, https://www.stlukesatlanta.org/uploads/images/stations-of-the-cross--overcoming-racism-final_652.pdf, 3.

June 30, 2022

O Lord, how long will your church be divided along racial lines? How long will the lingering effects of animosity, injustice, and pride mark your blessed bride? How long, O Lord, will my white brothers and sisters not understand the pain in those whose experience is different than ours? How long, O Lord, will my minority brothers and sisters struggle with distrust and feel ostracized?

God, grant us the heart to weep with those who weep. Give us empathy and understanding. Create trust where there is pain. Make your church the united bride you want her to be.

These divisions of mistrust and historical bias run deep, O God. Without you, nothing will ever change. In our pain and our weariness, we express our hope that Jesus can change our hearts and unite the church. We believe the gospel is greater than our divisions. And we long for the day when the world will take note of how we love each other. So, help us to meet each other in this prayerful journey. We come to learn to lament. Hear us as we weep together, that we might walk together.

In the name of Jesus, our King. Amen.

Mark Vroegop,A Prayer of Lament,” Outreach Magazine, https://outreachmagazine.com/resources/books/multicultural/57101-a-prayer-for-racial-reconciliation.html.

June 29, 2022

It is heating up, God of summer sun and winter wind. Wave after wave of hot, moist air puts everyone on edge, reminds us of our fragility and vulnerability to the extremes of the elements. We pray for those who work in the heat to provide the infrastructure for us to live in comfort and ease. We pray for those who are without resources to find shelter or relief from the unrelenting sun. We pray for the damage done to our planet that has led to drought and hurricanes and fires too devastating to control. It is heating up.

But truth be told, as much as the temperature and climate cause us worry, we also worry about the rising heat in our public discourse. It is heating up as we head to another election cycle – which never seem to end these days. Accusations fly and fingers point, blame is assigned, and anger rises. That we are divided is no longer deniable. That we choose to be so is at the heart of our pride and sin. That we look for scapegoats and villains rather than solutions and opportunities is our political modus operandi. The flames are stoked by social media and commentators who look for the worst within us. It is heating up.

Send the wind of the Spirit to cool our fevered hatred, loving God of grace and unity. Give us the impetus to see the other as a sibling, the enemy as a fellow traveler. Tamp down the heat and silence the rage so that we might be the community you call us to be. It is heating up. Christ, have mercy. Amen.

Derek Weber, June 2022

June 28, 2022

Jesus, we come before you with heavy hearts.

We lament that racial injustice is so tragically common in our society.

We lament that precious lives are lost because of hate and ignorance.

We lament the prejudice, violence, and racism that mocks your teachings.

We lament that the Church has too often stayed silent in the face of racism.

We lament that the climate crisis disproportionately impacts People of Color.

We lament that racial justice has become polarizing in our society.

We lament that some church leaders have spoken foolish and hateful words which support the systemic racism that is a cancer to our world.

Forgive us, oh Lord, for our complicity in these injustices.

Please open our ears to listen and our hearts to hear. And close the mouths of those who would speak foolishness. Lord Jesus, we need you in this time of racial anxiety.

“A Prayer for this Time of Race Injustice, Violence, and Trauma,” Climate Caretakers, June 2, 2020, the Episcopal Church in Colorado, https://episcopalcolorado.org/becoming-beloved-community.

June 27, 2022

Most merciful God,

We confess that we are mired in sin and cannot get free on our own. We have judged others based on skin color, sex, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, ability, financial and social status. We have preferred the ease and simplicity of placing others into boxes to the complexity of getting to know one another as siblings. We have contributed to and often benefited from systems that maintain the power of a privileged few. We have remained silent in the face of racism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, ableism and other forms of prejudice. Through both our action and inaction, war, poverty and environmental degradation continue on massive scales. We have ignored your prophets and turned from your command to put you first and neighbor second. We have permitted the ends for which we live to become confused with the means by which we live. Forgive our ignorance. Forgive our weakness. Forgive our sin. May your love overwhelm us, your peace disturb us and your spirit move us so that we cannot help but do your will at all times and in all places, always glorifying your name.

Amen.

Rev. Elizabeth Rawling, ”Confession of Complicity in Injustice,” Disrupt Worship Project, https://www.disruptworshipproject.com/confession-of-complicity-in-injustice.

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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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