Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (2021 Archive)
(JANUARY 1, 2021)
WESLEY COVENANT PRAYER
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
United Methodist Hymnal, 607
JANUARY 4, 2021
Oneness of the world, our maker, our lover and our keeper. You are more important than anything. Because of you, everything is important.
We are forgetful and fickle people. We mean well, but we don't take the time to see or listen as we should. We often know that prejudice and racism are in our systems, but we don't focus on a way out of those systems.
Thank you for being present inside of each of us and for never giving up on us.
Please strengthen our vision, our awareness and our courage that we might search to find you in each other and to bend our systems toward justice.
Affirmation for all persons, namaste and shalom.
Marian Straight, participant in the Mountain Sky Conference (UMC) virtual journey of daily prayer, organized by Rev. Bich Thy (Betty) Nguyen, Multicultural and Advocacy Ministries Developer, Mountain Sky Conference, https://www.mtnskyumc.org/pilgrimage-week-9.
JANUARY 5, 2021
Great Fashioner of Existence
Beginning and returning
Ocean depth, mountain height
Universal mystery, peculiar delight
From racial rejection and misunderstanding
Like the first morning
Unchained, no tomb
Oxygen and carbon dioxide
Photosynthesis in charge
Nurturing and expanding
Awakened to possibilities unending
And responsibilities unbending
Brave and bold
Landscapes of a New Beginning
Oh, I woke up
I woke up
I woke up this morning
Dorsey O. Blake, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 128-129.
JANUARY 6, 2021
On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. (Matt. 2:11-12 NRSV)
Did they know, God of surprising presence, did they? Lying face down on the rough wood floor, tears flowing unbidden from their tired eyes, muscles aching from a journey that covered too many miles and too many worlds, hearts pounding from a longing too deep to define. Did they know? As they gazed into the brown-faced infant, inexpertly wrapped in a threadbare blanket by a mother way too young for this responsibility, this gift; did they know. Or did they only hope?
It is another Epiphany, but what have we learned? What has been revealed to us? Is it something about the flesh we inhabit, the flesh of so many colors and shades? Is it something about the preciousness of this flesh, the embodiment of something divine, something holy, even in the least holy of us? As we kneel on our own floors, as our own tears flow and muscles ache from carrying a hope that is too big for us, what can we know? What can we claim? What can we love, if not this flesh and spirit, this life – this terrifying, fragile, too often broken life?
We may not claim wisdom, but we can hope, and we can love, and we can seek you in each face. We can fall down and beg a child to show us your face. Any child. Every child. We can hope. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, December 2020
JANUARY 7, 2021
Our Lord. Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and Comforter.
The Great I Am. One and All as I am One with Thee.
You are but Love and Your Love leads to Good.
You move in our lives and make a way.
You knew us before we were born; You know our needs before we ask.
You Give fully and openly.
Your children are fighting. Your children are angry.
Your children are in fear.
Bring us together again – Bind us fully as You bind the wounded.
We know but do not understand.
We ask to be as You. To be with You as You are with us.
To be in Your Heart and You are in our heart.
We are confident in Your guidance. We are brave in Your arms.
We will move in this world as You move in the world beyond.
We know Your Power for Good and we are grateful for your Love.
Brad Brown, participant in the Mountain Sky Conference (UMC) virtual journey of daily prayer, organized by Rev. Bich Thy (Betty) Nguyen, Multicultural and Advocacy Ministries Developer, Mountain Sky Conference, https://www.mtnskyumc.org/pilgrimage-week-6.
JANUARY 8, 2021
A Prayer for One Flesh in Christ
My Lord and my God, I see you being torn apart on the cross still, as we persist in tearing the body from the spirit. You dared to penetrate the flesh of humankind with the presence of God. You took on the flesh of every human being.
Help us now, after all these years of denial, to finally embrace your incarnation, to feel, in the depths of our beings, that we are part of each other’s bodies in your body, may we clasp to ourselves the flesh of all persons, especially those whose flesh looks different from ours, whose language is strange to our ears, whose music sounds dissonant, whose sexuality offends our sensibilities. May we have the courage to hold the sick and the old to our health and our youth. Thus may we behold the glory of the Word become flesh as he dwells among us. Amen.
Paul Moore, Jr., from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 141.
JANUARY 11, 2021
Zion’s hope, Jerusalem’s good news,
Abraham and Mohamed’s praise,
You manifested your star-shine presence to the magi of old.
So, fix in us the vision of the new creation that,
with our sisters and brothers in faith,
we may become its embodiment
in this year’s deeds and in this world’s struggles.
Cause us to delight in our planet earth with fresh care.
In us, cast your eyes on the hurting and discouraged.
Open the doors and hearts of church, mosque, and synagogue
to the poor and excluded.
Gather the nations into the peaceable kin-dom.
All this for your love’s sake, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Daniel Benedict, Order of Saint Luke
Inspired by a short segment of the Commentary on Isaiah by Eusebius of Caesarea.
Adapted from A Lukan Book of Feasts (c) 2018 The Order of Saint Luke. Used with permission.
JANUARY 12, 2021
Oh Mysterious and Steadfast God,
Help me to be as fond of diversity as you are.
Help all people everywhere to see diversity as strength and opportunity.
Open our eyes to value different skin tones as beautiful expressions of your creation.
Forgive us for the ways we exclude and stereotype.
Lead each of us into a deeper awareness of the strengths of community,
Until we all become as fond of diversity as you are,
And rest in your unlimited love. Amen.
Sharon McCormick, participant in the Mountain Sky Conference (UMC) virtual journey of daily prayer, organized by Rev. Bich Thy (Betty) Nguyen, Multicultural and Advocacy Ministries Developer, Mountain Sky Conference.
JANUARY 13, 2021
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1 NRSV
How do we begin, Lord of all things new?
How do we begin to build a new world,
How do we start over and build a community of acceptance,
a world of diversity,
a family of trust?
Shall we begin with confession, with lament and sorrow?
Of course, we have, and we will continue to confess our deepest sin of hatred and division. Until all among us realize how divided we are, how unjust we are, how broken we all are.
But surely there are beginnings to be made,
words to be spoken,
work to be done.
Surely there are ways to see with new eyes,
brothers and sisters,
who are different and yet the same.
How do we begin, God of second chances?
Let it begin with me. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, January 2021
JANUARY 14, 2021
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .
You dwelt among us with skin, brown skin.
You dwelt among us with a Middle Eastern accent.
You dwelt among us as part of a working-class family.
Forgive us, for assigning babies at birth to a culture of systemic racism because of the color of their skin.
This Epiphany and beyond, may we celebrate and embrace your image enfleshed in all skin tones.
Phyllis Terwilliger, a member of United Methodist Women, December 2020
JANUARY 15, 2021
God, creator of all peoples.
Help us to demonstrate your loving kindness to all people
through our thoughts, our words, and our actions,
so that we may reduce the oppression
and heal the divisions
which our culture inflicts on your people.
We pray in the name of Jesus who showed us
how the actions of one can improve the lives of many.
Rick Butler, participant in the Mountain Sky Conference (UMC) virtual journey of daily prayer, organized by Rev. Bich Thy (Betty) Nguyen, Multicultural and Advocacy Ministries Developer, Mountain Sky Conference.
JANUARY 18, 2021
God of infinite compassion,
we live in times of turmoil.
Out of fear we seek to target and to blame the innocent.
Out of our ignorance we tolerate racist systems that oppress
our brothers and sisters.
God of justice,
help us to resist all forms of racial profiling.
Confront our prejudices.
Expand our understanding.
Strengthen our resistance.
Help us to resist the urge to protect ourselves
at the expense of others.
Remind us that all people are ultimately yours.
This we pray, in the name of the Christ. Amen.
Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 17.
JANUARY 19, 2021
Please give us the discernment to:
Recognize the truth,
Acknowledge injustice where we see it.
Courage to stand against racism and hatred.
Help us to know when to speak up and when to calmly listen.
We pray this in your son's Holy name.
Celeste Wilson, participant in the Mountain Sky Conference (UMC) virtual journey of daily prayer, organized by Rev. Bich Thy (Betty) Nguyen, Multicultural and Advocacy Ministries Developer, Mountain Sky Conference.
JANUARY 20, 2021
For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
Hosea 8:7a NRSV
The winds are blowing fiercely, God of justice and of peace.
We all bow to their fury and their force,
and fear we –
and all we hold dear in our nation –
will fly away like the ashes from the fire.
We watched as the mob,
stoked by lies and by fear,
encouraged by empty promises and vain rewards,
tore into the foundations of our nation,
like drunken party goers,
taking selfies on the seats of government.
And we can’t help but notice what they exposed in so doing,
what sin they confessed, what brokenness they revealed.
Because the question arose as we watched the angry faces shouting their slogans,
What if those faces had been black?
What if the faces were brown?
We know the answer; we see the privilege; we confess the deepest sin.
And we reap the whirlwind.
Christ have mercy. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, January 2021
JANUARY 21, 2021
I know that your skin was dark. I know that you had long hair and a beard. I know that you had such compassion and love that you saw people healed and whole before you even prayed. You commanded us to love God, love our neighbor and indeed love ourselves. May the peoples of the world hear and heed this command.
I pray, Lord Jesus, that you heal the rifts between the nations, colors, and peoples of the world. Lift the fears and concerns that lead to the pain of race concerns. Lord, I pray deeply that you stand as a filter between those who dislike or even hate each other. Teach us to love again, Lord Jesus. This I beseech from the bottom of my heart. In the love of Christ. Amen.
Nigel W.D. Mumford, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 60.
JANUARY 22, 2021
God you are full of love and compassion for all your people.
I’m sorry I have been so disengaged with the pain and suffering that has been inflicted on so many for so long.
God I thank you for the ways you are just and merciful. I thank you for stirring up your righteousness in my heart.
Gracious Lord, please help me continue to listen and learn. Show me Lord where to step up and be engaged. Amen
Becky Clark, participant in the Mountain Sky Conference (UMC) virtual journey of daily prayer, organized by Rev. Bich Thy (Betty) Nguyen, Multicultural and Advocacy Ministries Developer, Mountain Sky Conference.