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.
February 3, 2023
Almighty God, our Creator and constant companion, you know our hearts, you see our struggles. We kneel before You in prayer for racial justice and peace in the world. Only through your grace, can this be envisioned and attained. Open our ears, let us hear your message of love, justice and truth. Open our eyes, let us see one another as you see us, beloved. Fill our hearts, teach us to love our neighbors as you love us, unconditionally.
Grant peace to the grief-stricken, heal the wounds of loss with your Divine consolation. Lift up those wronged by a broken system, channel anger into energy for lasting, constructive change. Restore hope in the face of heartbreak, empower the weary to continue working for racial justice.
Govern our minds, teach us to discern privilege, discrimination and the abuse of power. Lift our voices, give us words to speak up when racism or injustice denies any soul its dignity and human rights. Inspire our youth with your vision, empower them to take up the struggle and lead us on.
With the power of the Holy Spirit, work through us all, so that one day, Justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. In the name of a triune God of great love. Amen.
St. Paul’s prayer for Racial Justice, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Natick, MA, https://www.stpaulsnatick.org/anti-racism-steering-committee.
February 2, 2023
God, creator of all living things, unite us as people of faith to stand side by side with our suffering brothers and sisters. You have created us in Your image and likeness as equals. Our greatest sin occurs when we treat people with disrespect or as if they were created inferior because of the color of their skin. Let us reach out to those most hurt by acts of discrimination. Let our prayers plead for forgiveness for any wrong we have committed. As a community, guided by the Holy Spirit, let us work toward educating society and seek to be models of Your love so that a real conversion can occur.
We pray this in Your name. Amen.
Prayer for Equality, by Theresa Konitzer, https://www.disciplespeace.org/playlist/anti-racism.
February 1, 2023
As we begin another Black History Month in the USA, God of all nations and all peoples, may we be mindful of those who have been overlooked. May we embrace the opportunity to learn and grow in our understanding of a rich and varied history, as well as the continuing contributions made by those who are often mistreated by a nation that wants to erase a troubled history. May we hear new voices this month and appreciate artists and workers, leaders and advocates that we might otherwise overlook. Open our eyes, all of our eyes, to see how your Spirit is weaving a multicolored tapestry of beloved community all around us. We give thanks for those who continue to lift us higher. Amen.
Derek Weber, January 2023
January 31, 2023
Heavenly Father, we stand before you in prayer, fixing our eyes on you, seeking your guidance, love, and protection. We ask for your help with eradicating the sin of racism in all its forms, individual and systemic. You have told us in scripture that all of humankind is made in your image, and that we should act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. Prince of Peace, just as the shouts of Joshua’s army helped bring down the walls of Jericho, may we lift up our voices and work to bring down the walls of racism and divisiveness. We earnestly pray for the wisdom to pursue actions that will help dismantle racism wherever it exists. We pray that you will bring the world together so that we may become one loving family under God, living in harmony and peace. We ask this prayer with great humility and in the glorious name of your son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. AMEN.
“A Prayer for Racial Equity and Healing,” The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Philadelphia, PA, (November 21, 2020), http://www.aecst.org/PDF/dokantiracismprayer.pdf.
January 30, 2023
God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change.
Lord, we know we cannot change what has happened in the past and the devastating impact of racism.
Grant us courage to change the things we can.
In the spirit of reconciliation and with gratitude for the gift of diversity, we seek to engage and empower people of faith to create a community of justice and peace through our common prayers and acts of compassion.
We do, Lord, with your help, have the power to change ourselves and our response to the present situation. Please guide us and give us the courage to do what we must do.
And lastly, Lord,
give us wisdom to know the difference, so that with prophetic courage we may act as advocates for the dignity and well‐being of all persons, recognizing that behind every human face is the face of God.
In Jesus’ name, we pray, AMEN.
Gathering Prayer from Becoming an Anti-racist Church, by Episcopalians United Against Racism, https://www.episdionc.org/uploads/files/Becoming_an_Anti-racist_Church_Curriculum.pdf, page 2.
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.