Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (April-June 2021)
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APRIL 1, 2021
A Maundy Prayer
Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do." - John 13:27 NRSV
He sat at the table with you on that night,
That Thursday night we have come to call holy,
You knelt before him and washed his feet,
You showed him service, love without words.
But then you called out his uncleanness,
The stain that took up residence in his heart,
But still you gave him bread, that you called your body
And told him to do what he was going to do.
Because he then ran out into the night,
He missed the command, that “maundy” moment,
Where you told them to love with the love that you loved,
And he knelt on your neck until you breathed your last breath.
Is that the source of deep-seated sin,
This hate that divides us and tears at our soul?
Did we leave the table too soon on that night,
Concerned about getting our individual grace
But avoiding the directive to love with your love?
Bring us back, loving Lord of life and death,
Let us sit with you and hang on every word that you say,
Let us not be too quick to be declared clean,
Let us not gulp grace and then leave all alone.
Give us, once more, the command we ignore.
And maybe this time . . .
Derek C. Weber, March 2021
APRIL 2, 2021
Come Sunday, oh, come Sunday, that’s the day.
Lord, dear Lord above, God almighty,
God of love, please look down and see my people through.
“Come Sunday”, words and music Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington,
United Methodist Hymnal, 728
Lord of life in the face of death,
If ever there was a day we needed to be able to hope that Sunday was coming, it was this day. If ever there was a day we needed to believe that death was not the last word. That suffering was not the whole story, that blood that spills and pain that shouts and breath that leaves does not sum up our existence it was this day. This Friday we dare call good.
This was the day when the hammer rang out like a gunshot in the light of day, and another life was taken. This was the day that the hate drove deep like a nail in the flesh to take away what was perceived to be a threat. This was the day that the blood poured out and showed itself the same color as any of us despite the suspicions. This was the day that breath was choked out by the power of authority and institutionalized oppression. This was the day that the laughter of derision and prejudice rang from a hill on the wrong side of town. This was the day that defined infamy.
If ever, Lord of sustenance and hope, there was a day where we needed to believe in the power of Sunday, it is this day. So, please, we beg you, God of love, please look down and see your people through. On this day. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, March 2021
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.
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 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 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 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 12, 2021
From the depth of our distress in rejection, O God, help us to hold fast to your love. We know that we are beautiful and important to you because you created us. Polish us so that we may become cornerstones for the building of your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Hea Sun Kim, from Together We Pray: Meditations for Korean American Families, Hea Sun Kim (Abingdon Press, 1998), 37.
APRIL 13, 2021
We are mindful also of all kinds of needs in the world. Those needs which are close at hand and about which we have had some superficial concern, which we have met casually out of the richness of our own sense of surplus. There are other needs at which we have not dared to look, our Father, because we fear what our response to such needs might make us do or become lest we find all of the careful plans of our lives upset and the goals which we have put in focus thrown out of line or discarded, because as we look into the depths of certain needs we cannot ever be ourselves in happiness and peace again; this is too costly for us. Yet, our Father, as we wait here, these needs move before us. We hear the cry and the anguish of the destitute, of the hungry, of the hopeless, of the despairing. We cannot be deaf, but we don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to give and not destroy ourselves. O God, deal with our disorder with redemptive tenderness so that we, as we live our tomorrows, may not be ashamed of Thy grace that has made our lives move in such tranquil places. These are all the words we have. Take them and let them say to Thee the words of our hearts and our spirits.
Excepted from Howard Thurman, “The Hasty Word (1969),” in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, ed. James Melvin Washington (HarperCollins: 1994), 216-217.
APRIL 14, 2021
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
Psalm 8:3-4, The Message
Why do you bother, O Lord of all that there is? Why bother with us? We are such slow learners, refusing to learn even the simplest of your commands. “Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.” We can all quote it. We spout it out as a summation of the law, of the faith. We know in the knowing of our heads that this is what you want us to do. We know in the knowing of our mouths that this is the center of all you require of us. Yet somehow, we don’t know it in the knowing of our hands and our choices and our values. We don’t know it in the lines we draw and the jokes we tell and fears we hold.
Why do you bother with us, Lord of a kin-dom of grace and of a beloved community? Dare we hope that you believe we might get there one day? Dare we believe that we, the human creation of this beleaguered planet, may one day be as beautiful in diversity and harmony as the stars in the heavens and the mountains and valleys on earth? Dare we continue to work to build that beloved community of acceptance and transformation simply because you have deigned to bother with us?
We are your creation. May we live as though we know that. Each and every day. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, April 2021
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson.
APRIL 15, 2021
O God of peace and healing,
We come before you feeling powerless to stop the hatred that divides races and nations.
We come before you saddened and angered by the denial of human rights in our land.
We come before you with wounds deep in our hearts that we long to have healed.
We come before you with struggles in our personal lives that it seems will not go away.
And we pray Lord, How long?
How long to peace?
And we hear, “Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
How long for racial justice? “Not long, because no lie can live forever.”
How long for our wounded hearts? Not long, I call you by name, you are with me; you are mine.
How long for our struggles? Not long, for my grace is sufficient. I hold you in my everlasting arms beneath which you cannot fall.
How long for the healing of what is broken inside and all around us? Not long, for we shall overcome, together in partnership, human holy partnership, we shall overcome.
Larry Reimer, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 153.
(Citations in quotation marks are from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “Our God Is Marching On,” before the state capitol in Montgomery Alabama, March 25, 1965)
APRIL 16, 2021
Heavenly Father, we thank thee for the opportunity of coming into thy house. We thank thee for our new understanding of the teachings of thy Son, Jesus Christ. We thank thee for knowledge that we are sustained and supported by thy strength and thy power. Be with us in everything we do in our efforts to unite and come together, in our efforts to fight against the enemy who would destroy us. Be with us in the difficult task of uniting and building a black brotherhood which has meaning in terms of today’s world. We pray to thee with a sense of confidence in the future. The things which must be done, we will do. Sustain and support us as we go about our task. Amen.
Albert B. Cleage, Jr., “A Prayer for African American Peoplehood (1968),” in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, ed. James Melvin Washington (HarperCollins: 1994), 215.
APRIL 19, 2021
May God deliver us from the curse of carelessness, from thoughtless ill-considered deed. The deliberate evil of the world, we know is great, but how much fortitude and strength and faith could we have to cure this and put it down, if only we were rid of the sickening discouraging mass of thoughtless careless acts in men who know and mean better. How willingly in all these years and now, have thousands of mothers and fathers toiled and sweat and watched from dawn until midnight over these children here, only to be rewarded – not indeed by crime, but by persistent carelessness almost worse than crime. The rules here are the simple rules of work and growth. We do not make them – the very circumstances of our lives make them. And when we break them, it is not because we reason out their unreasonableness but usually because we do not think – because back of Law and Order we are too lazy to see the weary pain-scarred heart of the mother who sent us here. God give us vision and thought. Amen.
William Edward Burghardt Du Boise, “A Prayer for Vision and Thought (1909-1910),” in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, ed. James Melvin Washington (HarperCollins: 1994), 107.
APRIL 20, 2021
O God, who creates many races and cultures, we thank you for the gift of many languages that build up the church. You have given us the special gift of bilingualism so that we may know more of your world. Even when our language skills fail us, help us to hold on to the gift of the Holy Spirit that enables us to understand your love among us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Hea Sun Kim, from Together we Pray: Meditations for Korean American Families, Hea Sun Kim (Abingdon Press, 1998), 49.
APRIL 21, 2021
“During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.” - Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited, Beacon Press, 1966, 74.
There is a war in our streets, in our souls, Lord of all, bringer of peace. There is a war where “patriots” revel in hatred under the guise of “stopping the steal.” Where politicians draw battle lines of exclusion under the guise of protecting the vote. Where rights to arm are held as more valuable than rights to live. Where delusion breeds conspiracy and the lies hold unity in abeyance.
We are at war, and the victims are people of color who are feared and cursed and targeted and killed. And when questions as raised, the victims are blamed as if they brought on their own death. If only they had complied, it is said, they wouldn’t have been hurt. Or if they had complied, it is said, if only they had shown proper respect, they wouldn’t have been abused. Or if they were respectful, it is said, if only they had stayed in the proper place, they wouldn’t have been killed.
We are at war. And it will tear us asunder, destroying the very things we claim we want to protect – democracy, rights, security, nation. Because in the end, we are at war with ourselves, with our sinfulness, with our shortsightedness, with our fears.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, did not die for this war; Christ was not raised for this hate. Let us find a new hope to which to cling. God of grace, help us find a way to end this war before the war ends us. Let us study this war no more. God have mercy. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, April 2021
APRIL 22, 2021
Lord, we bless your name for the power you endow your people with. Though they name us minorities, we know we are not minor. We are formidable, O Lord, because you are formidable. Forgive us for not fully exercising your power within us.
Robert C. Wright, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 123.
APRIL 23, 2021
O God who is a father to the fatherless, a mother to the motherless, and a friend to the friendless, we come seeking fellowship with your power and presence.
In a culture filled with divisiveness, disconnectedness and domination, we pause for a moment of centered-cosmic Christian connection that will bring wholeness and healing to ourselves and our world.
We take time right now to worship you, to adore you, to magnify you, and to praise your holy name. In the words of the psalmist, “We lift up our eyes unto the hills from whence cometh our help, our help cometh from the Lord.” (Psalm 121:1-2 KJV)
O God, liberate us from the domination of individual and institutional violence. Liberate us for the ministry of deliverance to the captives within and without.
Liberate us from a self-centered spiritual materialism and liberate us to serve the present age. Liberate us from building our kingdoms and liberate us for the Kingdom of God.
Now God, we thank you for your liberating love which redeems us, restores us, and revives and resurrects us. We thank you for the gift of love you gave us in Jesus Christ. We thank you that it is because of your divine liberating love that we are able to serve, to stand and have this moment of prayer strengthened for the journey of the day. Amen.
Frank Madison Reid III, “A Prayer for Liberation That Leads to Liberating Love” (1994), in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, ed. James Melvin Washington (HarperCollins: 1994), 276.
APRIL 26, 2021
Dear God, my son prays for healthy paranoia concerning the social ills that he sees and feels as a young black person. I pray for holy restlessness and sensitivity to the racism that still affects the lives and impacts the aspirations of your children of the African sun. As we view human sin at work in the world, we pray for wisdom to discern that you created a good earth and that out of one blood you have made all nations to dwell upon the face of the earth.
As we fight the good fight of justice and righteousness against racism and other sins, we pray that we will keep before us the original intent of creation and that we will not replace old tyrannies with new ones. In the midst of our struggles help us to always be able to see beauty and your image in others who may be difference from us.
We pray for passion regarding those things that ought not to be. Save us from complacency – the proverbial “I have arrived” syndrome – that cuts off compassion and empathy for others who have not yet been able to overcome the battering they have received by sin and the vicissitude of life. Deliver us from the temptation to shut ourselves up in our little corner of the world, being content with whatever modicum of comfort and security we have been graced to achieve.
God, grant us sensitivity without cynicism, righteous indignation devoid of bitterness, the wisdom of the serpent without its craftiness, the gentleness of the dove without its naivete. Then, Lord, help us to direct all of this passion that we feel into meaningful action, we pray. Amen.
William Donnel Watley, “Dear God, My Son Prays (1992),” in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, ed. James Melvin Washington (HarperCollins: 1994), 263.
APRIL 27, 2021
Thank you God, for the diverse and interesting world you have created. Help us to treat all life with great appreciation and love. May all creatures cry and sing praises to you forever. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Hea Sun Kim, from Together we Pray: Meditations for Korean American Families, Hea Sun Kim (Abingdon Press, 1998), 59.
APRIL 28, 2021
We’re ready to move on, God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We’ve talked about this enough, haven’t we? Eyes begin to glaze over when we bring it up again, this racism issue. Arms are folded across chests and eyes roll around looking for something else to see. We’re bored talking about race. And some might be inclined to let it lay for a while until there is a reason to bring it up again.
A reason? Like yet another shooting, perhaps? Like another slur hurled in a moment of anger, perhaps? Like statistical evidence of a bias against blacks in health care or loan applications or housing decisions? How many reasons do we need to see before we think it is an issue to be discussed? A sin that needs to be confessed? A demon that needs to be exorcised?
God of all humanity, remind those of us who are bored with the issue of race that our very boredom is a sign of our privilege. That there are brothers and sisters who labor every day under the weight of systemic racism and attitudes of suspicion and denial of full humanity who aren’t at liberty to be bored with the issue. Cure our national attention deficit disorder when it comes to declaring that Black Lives Matter, and that we must Stop Asian Hate. Remind us that these are not slogans to employ when the mood strikes, but ways of walking with Jesus toward the kin-dom of God; toward justice for all. And all has always meant and will always mean all. In the name of the one who never grew bored of us. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, April 2021
APRIL 29, 2021
we give thanks that you
upon the prism of light
and color scattered everywhere
validating this earth!
Color rain down upon us
and we each step into it as the ultimate gift
of sharing all we are.
We wear it well as we each reach back
to the beauty
of those gone before us –
their strength now filling us
celebrate all that we are
as we wear myriad color robes
of our heritage.
in the light
of color that is a strong and humble gift
to be poured out,
aid us in destroying any arrogance and pride
that keeps us apart.
This we pray in Jesus’ name
and in the power
of the Spirit Companion. Amen.
Ayodelle Christopher and Dana Rose, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 156.
APRIL 30, 2021
Jesus, Master, Rabbi and Friend,
as I look upon your crucified face,
I am reminded of your total Love for humanity.
You took on all the ills, social injustices, and social inequities of your time.
I daresay these same problems
have become so much of our life in the 21st century.
To you there are no color differences,
everybody is made the same according to God’s plan.
There are no rich or poor in the sight of God nor
are there the social injustices
that man has made in the name of religion.
As I ponder and meditate your crucified face,
I am reminded of the ills of
imperialism, colonialism, and domination.
So I pray for strength in my lifetime
to loosen some burdens of society. Because I know
that if I do your work it will help heal
your scarred, tormented, crucified face.
Please give me the strength, intelligence, and LOVE
to be able to take over
where you left off many years ago.
For I know if I carry this yoke,
I am doing the work of the Father and above all things
living the golden rule of “love your neighbors as you love yourself. For you are the Way,
the Truth, and the Light.”
Give me strength
to help others to do Your work to make the world a better place.
Damon Syphers, “My Friend Jesus,” The Anti-Racism Prayer Book: Poems, Prayers and Reflections From Various Sources, selected by the Rev. Rainey G. Dankel, Janis Pryor, Judith Lockhart Radtke, and Damon Syphers for The Anti-Racism Team of Trinity Church Boston, 2014, 32. https://www.trinitychurchboston.org/sites/default/files/ART-Prayerbook-FINAL_0.pdf.
MAY 3, 2021
Source of All Being, Creator of All Life, may Your goodness find its way into the hearts of all Your children. May those who wield power do so with a balance of wisdom, justice, and compassion. May those who feel powerless remember their intrinsic worth and also act with a balance of wisdom, integrity, and compassion. May we all feel called to action based on the injustices of racism and see ourselves not as enemies of one another, not in struggle with one another, but as human beings, created in the image of God, connected to one another’s well-being. May all of us come to acknowledge the racism that is pervasive in our nation and around the world. May we commit to sitting down with one another in honest dialogue, opening our hearts in compassion to one another, bearing witness to the pain and fear of one another, even if … and especially if … “the other” looks and seems so different from ourselves. May we commit to joining together in acts of justice that will bring about equality in education, economic opportunities, law enforcement, and judicial proceedings. May each of us come to understand that, ultimately, “my” experience of freedom, justice, and peace is inextricably linked to the freedom, justice, and peace of every other person in our county and city, our country, and our world. May we open our eyes to the invisible lines of connection that unite us, and with clarity of vision, continue to work for a world where every person’s life is valued, cherished, and loved. Amen.
Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, “A Prayer for Our Community,” Congregation Shaare Emeth, St. Louis, Missouri
This prayer was used by The Upper Room for their “Live from the Chapel” Facebook video on April 21, 2021: https://www.facebook.com/2398230346928792/videos/289468862675243.
MAY 4, 2021
We remember all that died in pain and suffering in colonized lands. We remember all Koreans who lived and died through the tragedy of the past century. You, O God, who have liberated the Israelites from slavery, come to liberate us from our slavery of division and hatred. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hea Sun Kim, from Together we Pray: Meditations for Korean American Families, Hea Sun Kim (Abingdon Press, 1998), 69.
MAY 5, 2021
It seemed such a small thing, Lord of the Cosmos, of all things seen and unseen. A tiny prayer in a sea of need. I thought she should reach higher, claim more, shout to the heavens with demands for a grand reversal, for righting of ancient pains visiting on present-day bodies. It seemed weak, in a way, a prayer borne of exhaustion, bone-weariness that saps vitality and hope. A prayer of despair and yet the tenacity to cling to this one small glimmer of something more, something within the realm of possibility, even in this broken world that seems to be collapsing around our dreams of a kin-dom of equality and respect, of dignity and justice. A courageous prayer, grasping at faith. A prayer that sticks in my head though hours have passed.
I asked, “What prayers shall we pray today?” of the faces gathered for our Zoomed morning prayers. And she said, “that we can have one day where a black or brown body, or any body, is not killed.” Just one day. And then maybe another.
Derek C. Weber, April 2021
MAY 6, 2021
Collect for the Human Race
Creator God, we thank you for the particulars of our own race – for the things we eat, for the things we wear, for our unique gestures and codes, for our music, art, and literature, for our survival generation after generation, and most especially for the fact that you love us and call us your own; we thank you too, O God, that through the Eucharist you make us blood kin with all the races of humankind; we thank you for the particulars of each and every race – for the things others eat, for the different things they wear, for their unique gestures and codes, for their music, art, and literature, for their survival generation after generation, and most especially for the fact that you love them and call them your own; deliver us from all enmity and strife, O God, give us the courage and skill to dismantle the systems which unjustly privilege one race or one class over another, the grace to love those who have abused us even while we call them to do justice; forgive us our own sings only as we forgive those who sin against us; may we live so accountably that we need not be fearful or ashamed of ourselves when, in the faces of those who sometimes seem most alien and most different from us, we encounter your face and your realm here, as in heaven. Amen.
Louie Crew, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 93.
MAY 7, 2021
A Prayer for Racial Justice
When we do not see the gravity of racial injustice,
Shake us from our slumber and open our eyes.
When out of fear we are frozen into inaction,
Give us a spirit of bravery.
When we try our best but say the wrong things,
Give us a spirit of humility.
When the chaos of this dies down,
Give us a lasting spirit of solidarity.
When it becomes easier to point fingers outward,
Help us to examine our own hearts.
God of truth, in your wisdom, Enlighten Us.
God of love, in your mercy, Forgive Us.
God of hope in your kindness, Heal Us.
Creator of All People, in your generosity, Guide Us.
Racism breaks your heart,
break our hearts for what breaks yours.
Anonymous, from EYES TO SEE: An Anti - Racism Examen for Jesuit Colleges and Universities, AJCU, updated March 3, 2021. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55d1dd88e4b0dee65a6594f0/t/6040fd92f7a842588c9bf004/1614871957193/Eyes+to+See+Leader%27s+Guide_03-03-21.pdf.
MAY 10, 2021
LET ME NOT LOOK AWAY, OH GOD
“Let me not look away, O God, from any truth I should see. Even if it is
difficult, let me face the reality in which I live. I do not want to live inside
a cosseted dream, imagining I am the one who is always right, or believing only
what I want to hear. Help me to see the world through other eyes, to listen to
voices distant and different, to educate myself to the feelings of those with
whom I think I have nothing in common. Break the shell of my indifference.
Draw me out of my prejudices and show me your wide variety.
Let me not look away.”
Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw, The Anti-Racism Prayer Book: Poems, Prayers and Reflections From Various Sources, selected by the Rev. Rainey G. Dankel, Janis Pryor, Judith Lockhart Radtke, and Damon Syphers for The Anti-Racism Team of Trinity Church Boston, 2014, 34. https://www.trinitychurchboston.org/sites/default/files/ART-Prayerbook-FINAL_0.pdf.
MAY 11, 2021
Holy One, In your image
You have created humankind, in great diversity.
We give thanks for the differences—
of cultures and ethnicities, of histories and life-stories, of skin colour and language and
hearts that love the world.
We watch in horror as Power desecrates Black and Brown bodies;
walks on their sacredness, kills and subjugates, in thousands of ways,
hidden and overt. We must not stop at watching—held back from right action by our horror
or seeming powerlessness.
Grant us hearts that listen and learn; egos that are willing to accept when our own racism is called out.
Grant us courage, to disassemble the systems, the stories, the mythos, that privilege whiteness over all others.
Give us your Holy Spirit’s wind to call out racism in all its forms—
inside our hearts, inside the church, and in your world,
give us the strength, the wisdom and the will to root out White Fragility,
and White Supremacy, so that they would never again do harm,
never again take away, never again kill.
Help us to be anti-racist,
in all that we say,
in all that we do,
in all that we are.
It is time. It is well past time.
God of all creation, bless us all with what we need, to march on.
To live this work of anti-racism.
In Jesus’ name.
May it be.
A prayer by the Right Rev. Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, https://united-church.ca/prayers/anti-racism-prayer.
MAY 12, 2021
“Watch your language!”
That’s what we were told when we were kids, Word made flesh. “Watch your language.” It was a warning about cursing, about “taking the Lord’s name in vain,” whatever that commandment really meant. We were careful, so we wouldn’t get caught. But we never understood the fuss; they are just words, right?
“Sticks and stones,” we learned that one too, “may break our bones, but words will never hurt us.” Right? Just words. But words can hurt like stones thrown in anger and fear. Words can break the bones of our self-perception, our self-understanding. Words can tear apart, can separate. Words can demean and diminish. With our words, we try to feel superior to another. Words like drops of water can wear away the foundation of a people.
Help us watch our language, God who speaks love into life. Help us see that our words—even those meant to amuse—can wound. Help us hear that how we talk about the other reveals the condition of our hearts. As Jesus said, it’s what comes out that defiles us. So, help us watch our language. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, May 2021
MAY 13, 2021
O God, I implore you to help us name and challenge this unholy angel of our nation. Help us embody your son, Jesus, to confront violence with acts of nonviolence. Infuse us with your Holy Spirit so that we can speak your goodness, your grace, your truth, and your love again and again, causing our communities to repent and return to your ways of justice and mercy. We ask this in the name of your infinite love for all your children in your creation.
Eric H.F. Law, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 26.
MAY 14, 2021
Wake us up
To what needs doing,
And what needs undoing.
Wake us up
To what must be let go,
And to what to draw closer.
Wake us up to what enlarges love
And what diminishes it.
In all parts of our life,
Disturb and wake us up!
Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name: 365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation, Sorin Books, 2011.
MAY 17, 2021
PRAYER OF A BANTU (AFRICAN) PASTOR
O God, we offer our thanks to thee
for sending thy only Son to die for us all.
In a world divided by colour bars,
how sweet a thing it is to know
that in thee we all belong to one family.
There are times when we unprivileged people
weep tears that are not loud but deep,
when we think of the suffering we experience.
We come to thee, our only hope and refuge.
Help us, O God, to refuse to be embittered
against those who handle us with harshness.
We are grateful to thee
for the gift of laughter at all times.
Save us from hatred of those who oppress us.
May we follow the spirit of thy Son Jesus Christ.
From The Oxford Book of Prayer, Edited by George Appleton, Submitted by Rainey Dankel, in The Anti-Racism Prayer Book: Poems, Prayers and Reflections From Various Sources, selected by the Rev. Rainey G. Dankel, Janis Pryor, Judith Lockhart Radtke, and Damon Syphers for The Anti-Racism Team of Trinity Church Boston, 2014, 20. https://www.trinitychurchboston.org/sites/default/files/ART-Prayerbook-FINAL_0.pdf.
MAY 18, 2021
O Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the strength of the hearts that serve you, and the life of the souls that love you: open our minds to a new awareness of the racism and prejudice within us, strengthen our hearts to be more accepting of all your children – our brothers and sisters, and infuse our souls with your divine love that knows no boundaries, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Nathaniel Pierce, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 123.
MAY 19, 2021
Are we there yet, Lord? I’m tired of sitting in this back seat, not being sure of the destination; tired of seeing the same sights out the window around me. It looks like we aren’t getting anywhere; it looks like we’re driving in circles, or worse, going back to where we’ve been. Are we there yet?
I used to grind my teeth as my kids would ask in their whiniest voices if we were there yet. We just set out, I would declare, miles to go. Have some patience, take in the scenery. Look for the signs that we are getting close. The silence wouldn’t last long, in their desperations to arrive, in their failing hope that there was an end to this interminable road, they would ask again, and again, and again. Are we there yet?
There are those who declare, we’re there. That we’ve left behind racism, that we’ve arrived at a place of justice and equality. Well, look, they’ll tell us, we had a president of another color; we have a vice president of another color. Surely that’s the sign that we’re there. We’ve arrived as a nation. Surely.
Those signs are indeed signs of hope, loving God who pulls us along the road to justice. But there are other signs, too many other signs. Angry signs, hateful signs, murderous signs. We’re not there yet, are we? Not where you’d like us to be. Not where we need to be.
Keep watch, the Spirit tells us. Inside and out, keep watch. We’re not there yet. Help us not give up; help us not declare a premature arrival; help us see, we’re not there yet. In the name of the One who is going before us. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, May 2021
MAY 20, 2021
I could make them squirm with a litany of their guilt –
- the Native Americans slaughtered, infected and betrayed
- the wild buffalo and forests despoiled
- the lands they stole while they sang obsequious hymns of your love and redemption
I could be made to squirm with my shame –
- my liking for the blond over the black
- my instinctual wariness of that poor and darkened hand stretched out for my hard-earned penny
Guilt and shame. Their weight alone seems like recompense, so easy we could tirelessly rehearse the list over and over again, like some badge of perverse honor.
Instead, teach us how to be remorseful
that our hearts might soften with all that has been lost, with all that is no longer possible, with all that is gone.
Teach us sorrow
that we might at least find in what is still left offered to us a brief moment to be true to the new, the now, and with friendliness, meet with steadfast eyes, the other.
Leng Lim, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 160.
MAY 21, 2021
O God, who created and loves all people,
We come before you today confessing the sin of racism in our country, our church and in ourselves. Forgive us for our part in it, for the ways we have contributed to the oppression of others whether knowingly or unknowingly.
We want to be different and for our nation to be different, but it is hard when we face the injustice of institutions as well as the prejudice in ourselves.
Help us to see the reality of racism and bigotry wherever it exists and to have the courage to challenge it. Through your Holy Spirit, may we be given the grace and power to change within ourselves and also, to join with others to do the work of love and justice in the world; to move toward the goal of bringing an end to racism.
Through the name of your son, Jesus, who came for all people,
Heather Burtch, member, WPAUMC Anti-Racism Team, Anti-Racism Worship Resources from the Western Pennsylvania United Methodist Conference, https://www.wpaumc.org/antiracismworshipresources.
MAY 24, 2021
THE MAORI LORD’S PRAYER
Eternal Spirit, earth-maker, pain-bearer, life giver,
source of all that is and that shall be,
father and mother of us all,
loving holy one in whom is heaven:
may it happen in the way it is good to you;
may it happen on earth in the same way
as it happens in spirit world.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us. In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil free us.
For you live in the glory of power that is love, now and forever,
now and forever.
From A New Zealand Prayer Book, Submitted by Damon Syphers, in The Anti-Racism Prayer Book: Poems, Prayers and Reflections from Various Sources, selected by the Rev. Rainey G. Dankel, Janis Pryor, Judith Lockhart Radtke, and Damon Syphers for The Anti-Racism Team of Trinity Church Boston, 2014, 27, https://www.trinitychurchboston.org/sites/default/files/ART-Prayerbook-FINAL_0.pdf.
MAY 25, 2021
Heavenly Father, who created us human beings in many colors, and of many cultures: teach us how to live rightly with one another, in love and respect; move us when we need to be edged out of our comfort zones; strengthen us when we need courage to speak against injustice; open our eyes when we are blind to our own sins; restore us when we need healing; teach us to look to your righteous love when we long to lash out in anger; and constantly move us toward the unity you intend for us; all this we ask in the name of your son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Susan Beebe, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 82.
MAY 26, 2021
I’m too busy today, Lord of mission and sending, too busy with the things I think I am doing for you. Too busy with the lists and the contracts and the commitments and meetings and teaching and . . . well, just too busy. I don’t have time to stop and pray. I don’t have time to examine my soul and ask for forgiveness and opened eyes and a heart for my neighbor. I’m just too busy. I’ll get to it, eventually. But I’ve got obligations to fulfill. I can’t be worried about rockets that are flying and children that are dying. I can’t be thinking about another black man shot or shouted at or called names or irrationally feared and shunned. I’ve got too much on my plate this week.
Too much to be a neighbor? Too much to care? Forgive me, Lord, for once again thinking I matter more than those who are hurting, that my schedule matters more than their lives. Yes, my list is long this week. And I have promises to keep. But at the top of my list is to love God and love neighbor and to do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with you, O God of all people. So, even when my head is down and my nose is to the grindstone, help me open my eyes for opportunities to love in action and in heart.
In the name of the one who was never too busy for us. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, May 2021
MAY 27, 2021
O God of radiance, fascinating in your kaleidoscopic diversity: help us to love ourselves as we mirror your image to the world, as we grow tired of this struggle, Lord, and we feel alone in our weariness, strengthen us when we grow faint of heart and give us a memory for the victories of our ancestors; help us to remember a time when our forebears faced immeasurable pain with the sure knowledge that you were with them, and remind us that we are truly never alone; when we grow faint, gird us with your strength; when we doubt, fill us with confidence that the beauty of our skin, ebony, mahogany, lemon, ivory, and taupe is but a mere reflection of the richness of your glory; help us to understand the gifts we bring into this broken world – the gift of your love of color and variety; this we ask in the name of Jesus, who touched all and loved all. Amen.
Jayne Oasin, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 83.
MAY 28, 2021
God of Black lives,
Protect us. It feels like we are at the mercy of white madness, and we are so tired of running, explaining, trying to figure out how not to be murdered. We can hardly distinguish our fear from anger. We can hardly look our neighbors in the eye. Grant us the courage to withdraw from those relationships that demand more from us than what we should give in the midst of trauma and grief. And now as ever, would you swaddle us in the reality and remembrance of our sacred dignity. Speak words of glory over our bodies and minds as we wake to a world reeking of Black death. Wash it now with your justice.
Cole Arthur Riley, https://blackliturgist.com/. Used by permission of the author.
MAY 31, 2021
Sharing the loaves and fishes,
You gave us an image of solidarity with the hungry, O Lord.
Sharing yourself in the bread and the wine,
You called all to the table, O Lord.
Give me the hunger to be part of the feeding
And the healing of this world.
Nourish me with your grace,
So I may work with joy to serve your children.
Open my eyes and my heart
To recognize those in poverty
And increase my awareness of the structures and systems
That need to be changed
So that we may all break bread together.
In your name, we pray for the end of hunger. Amen.
Prayer from Xavier University Education for Justice Department, submitted by Rev. Carol R. Cannon, co-pastor, St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, Orangeburg SC.
JUNE 1, 2021
My face is white...
My hands are white
as is my point of view.
Good Lord, forgive me.
My white heart...
It tries so hard to see
all colors, all cultures, all peoples.
But it doesn’t always work right.
Good Lord, forgive me.
My white brain...
Tries to think clearly,
not judge but understand differences.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Good Lord, forgive me.
Why do I have the burden of privilege?
It takes so much effort to sort it out.
I get a headache.
Good Lord, forgive me.
I don’t want to be on alert
all the time...
Why can’t I just live into my wishes?
Wishes that there be the same rules,
the same opportunities,
street justice and sharing,
Good Lord, forgive us!
Dream on, oh white woman!
Life is not like that...
Struggle on, walk the way with Jesus.
He’ll stick with you.
Others struggle all the time.
You aren’t special.
Good Lord, forgive me.
Judith Lockhart Radtke, in The Anti-Racism Prayer Book: Poems, Prayers and Reflections from Various Sources, selected by the Rev. Rainey G. Dankel, Janis Pryor, Judith Lockhart Radtke, and Damon Syphers for The Anti-Racism Team of Trinity Church Boston, 2014, 4. https://www.trinitychurchboston.org/sites/default/files/ART-Prayerbook-FINAL_0.pdf.
JUNE 2, 2021
And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you; he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" - Luke 18:7-8 NRSV
God who hears,
Like the woman before the “unjust judge,” we have been persistent. Some have pounded on the doors; some have marched in the street; some have carried signs; some have expressed their anger and their frustration and their fear in violence and destruction. And we have prayed. Over and over, we have prayed. Until our knees are bruised, and our tongues are tired, and the words don’t sound like words anymore, but like the cries that come from the tearing of our hearts, or like the fearful bleating of sheep about to be slaughtered. Day and night become prayers without ceasing.
And still it seems that nothing has changed. It has been a year since the murder of George Floyd, God of swift justice, over a year. And the names continue to mount: Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Jonathan Price, Andre Hill, Angelo Quinto, Daunte Wright, and more, and more, and more unarmed black men, killed by fear and an unjust justice system. We’re pounding on the doors; we’re taking to our knees; we are begging and pleading, and weeping. And we say, “Grant us justice against the opponents of racism and hate.” The silence seems deafening, Lord. The questions still seem relevant, “Will not God grant justice to those who cry day and night? Will God delay long in helping?” It has been too long, far, far too long.
Will the Son of Man find faith? What does that mean? Does it mean God’s justice is already here, but we won’t take hold of it? The hardness of our hearts keeps us from seeing it, acting on it, living by your justice? Are you asking if we have faith enough in one another to stop the hate, to get over the fear, to see as you see brothers and sisters in any face, in every face? Are we the ones who are slow, the ones in the way of the answers to our prayers? Is justice already within our grasp, peace within our reach, reparations and restorations within our resources, but we are choosing to think of self first, safety first, privilege first?
May our prayers change us, slow as we are, until your justice is granted to those who cry out day and night. Amen. And Amen.
Derek C. Weber, May 2021
JUNE 3, 2021
Take our stony hearts, O God
and give us hearts of flesh.
Take our hardened rock-white hearts
pull them from our chest,
from the center of our being
give us the grace to embrace the discomfort
of letting go of old ways of knowing
and being in the world.
Give us fleshy hearts, rich with color
give us the grace to nurture these hearts living in us,
in the center of our being
beating loudly to the rhythm
Take our stony hearts, O God
and give us hearts of flesh.
Kelly Adamson, Associate Director, University of Dayton Campus Ministry, https://udayton.edu/ministry/csc/advocacy/antiracism_prayers/stony_hearts.php.
JUNE 4, 2021
In this worship and work we do today and after, we pray for more than conviction. We pray, O Lord, for change. Change the easy peace we make with ourselves into discontent because of the oppression of others. Change our tendency to defend ourselves into the freedom that comes from being forgiven and empowered through your love. Change our need for disguises, excuses and images into the ability to be honest with ourselves and open with one another. Change our inclination to judge others into a desire to serve and uplift others. And most of all, Lord, change our routine worship and work into a genuine encounter with you and our better self so that our lives will be changed for the good of all. Amen.
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, 55. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/02/antiracism_book-revise3.pdf.
JUNE 7, 2021
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, https://www.fspa.org/content/prayer/franciscan-prayers.
JUNE 8, 2021
Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,
Whose breath gives life to all the world.
Hear me; I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice
Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.
Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Help me seek pure thoughts and act with the intention of helping others.
Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy Myself.
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
Damon Syphers, in The Anti-Racism Prayer Book: Poems, Prayers and Reflections From Various Sources, selected by the Rev. Rainey G. Dankel, Janis Pryor, Judith Lockhart Radtke, and Damon Syphers for The Anti-Racism Team of Trinity Church Boston, 2014, 26. https://www.trinitychurchboston.org/sites/default/files/ART-Prayerbook-FINAL_0.pdf.
JUNE 9, 2021
We worry so much about our health, God of our whole being. We pray for friends who are sick, for surgeries and illnesses. Our sharing of prayer concerns in worship sounds like, as one pastor put it, an organ recital as we pray for livers and kidneys and hearts and lungs. And we should; we’re told in scripture to pray for the sick. And so, we do.
But there is a larger sickness we still refuse to acknowledge, let alone pray for. A sickness of community, a sickness of caring. Our eyes are blurred to the other who hurts before us; our hearts are hardened against those who are not like us. We forget to pray for the sickness of our souls that allows us to think of me first, or my tribe, my family, my race as more worthy of my prayers.
Heal us, Lord, from inside out and from outside in. Heal us so that we see difference and celebrate and respect. Heal us so that we can give honor and ask forgiveness. Heal us so that we can be whole, as a true kin-dom on earth as it is in the heaven we long for. A heaven that touches earth and makes us one.
In the name of Christ, the healer, we pray. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, June 2021
JUNE 10, 2021
Creator God, open our hearts to the love and light in all of our brothers and sisters.
Open our minds to empty ourselves of racial stereotypes. Help us to see difference as a treasure.
Give us the grace to embrace one another so that one day we will be transformed and no longer strangers but united as one family, the family of God. Provide for us the strength to live in this hope and do this work in Mercy. Amen.
JUNE 11, 2021
DWELL IN MY LOVE PRAYER
Good and gracious God we offer this prayer today in Love that unites us to you and to one another.
We pray that nourished by your word and by your Spirit, we may grow ever stronger in faith as we strive for the coming of your kingdom. We stand at the crossroads committed to the ongoing faith-centered struggle to dismantle racism, to create just and anti-racist relationships with our brothers and sisters, and within our church and institutions as we strive to build a society that dwells together in God’s unconditional and universal love. AMEN.
Archdiocese of Chicago’s Anti-Racism Implementation Team, A Toolkit for Antiracism Prayer Services, Archdiocese of Chicago, Office of Racial Justice, 2008, 14. http://www.ospihm.org/racial-healing/docs/Toolkit-for-Anti-Racism-Prayer-Services.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
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 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 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 18, 2021
FIRST GRADER’S PRAYER OF LOVE FOR EVERYONE
Are you listening today?
You listen to everything that we pray.
Help us to love one another no matter the color people are.
We will be kind and gentle to each other.
Help us each day to love all people no matter how they look.
Soledad & Jesus, Children of Peace School, 1st Grade, in Archdiocese of Chicago’s Anti-Racism Implementation Team, A Toolkit for Antiracism Prayer Services, Archdiocese of Chicago, Office of Racial Justice, 2008, 40, http://www.ospihm.org/racial-healing/docs/Toolkit-for-Anti-Racism-Prayer-Services.pdf.
JUNE 21, 2021
A Prayer for Racial Justice
Most Holy Lord, with much praise and thanksgiving, we seek Your divine help as we focus now on removing racial injustices from the face of America. We come as we continue to relive the eight minutes and forty-five seconds that stopped the perpetual clock of racial injustice in this nation and around the world. Lord, we find ourselves in a season of overt unrest after centuries of relative silence where we often endured much needless pain caused by a justice so long denied. While we seek for this country the force of Your will for us, we join the overwhelming cries of a people who shout, “Enough! Enough!” as we envision a transformed nation where racism is completely eradicated.
Come, Almighty Father! Be our strength and shield as we forge through many obstacles to make justice grounded in love spring to the forefront of this country’s collective conscience, bringing with it a long-sought equality for everyone. We pray for both peace and justice as realities everywhere, Lord, as we pray also for the speedy conversion of persons committed to racism, to acts of violence and to other racially motivated injustices. Almighty Father, with a sustained sense of faith in You and a bright vision of racial justice for all, we pray this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Ann Price, Worship Resources for Racial Justice, Baltimore Washington Conference of the UMC, https://www.bwcumc.org/article/worship-resources-for-racial-justice/.
JUNE 22, 2021
God of Grace,
It is hard to be a human.
Thank you for coming alongside us as we journey.
Help us find joy when we can.
Help us honor our grief when we need to.
Help us be honest with one another when we are overwhelmed by what we wish could be.
God, help us persist in this antiracism work to which we are called.
May our lives honor the lives of others.
May we pay attention to the needs of our neighbors as well as the needs within ourselves.
May those who are sick feel your peace.
May those who hunger find nourishment.
May those who are held captive experience your presence.
And may we all be thirsty for your truth and your justice to prevail in this world.
Rev. Katie Minnis, Pastoral Fellow, West End United Methodist Church, Nashville, TN
JUNE 23, 2021
Did someone pray for a reminder that our lives are interwoven into a tapestry of connectedness, and that’s why we had a pandemic? Did someone ask to be shown that my actions contribute to your health and well-being, and your choices impact my options, and that’s why we wore masks and stayed apart and set aside so much for months on end?
Did someone pray that we might see how skin color makes a difference in how we experience our world, interact with authority, navigate bureaucracy, and live as whole persons in a divided world, and that’s why there were guns and shouting and marching and banners and anger and hate? Did someone say prove it, prove racism is real, and that’s why black bodies died in full view of passersby on the street?
Did someone pray that we might learn how to live the kin-dom we pray for in our churches week after week, and that’s why we were shown how far we are from that promised land? Did someone ask for a sign that God is still needed in this human-run modern world of self-satisfaction and pleasure seeking?
Or was it all an accident, a just happened, a moment we can leave behind in our rush to “get back to normal”? And if that’s true . . . is it too late to pray?
Derek C. Weber, June 2021
JUNE 24, 2021
Come Holy Spirit, breathe down upon our troubled world.
Shake the tied foundations of our crumbling institutions.
Break the rules that keep you out of all our sacred spaces.
And the dust and rubble, gather up the seedlings of a new creation.
Come Holy Spirit, enflame once more the dying embers of our weariness.
Shake us out of our complacency.
Whisper our names once more, and scatter your gifts of grace with wild
Break open the prisons of our inner being
and let your raging justice be our sign of liberty.
Come Holy Spirit, and lead us to places we would rather not go;
expand the horizons of our limited imaginations.
Awaken in our souls dangerous dreams for a new tomorrow,
and rekindle in our hearts the fire of prophetic enthusiasm.
Come Holy Spirit, whose justice outwits international conspiracy;
whose light outshines spiritual bigotry,
whose peace can overcome the destructive potential of warfare,
whose promise invigorates our every effort
to create a new Heaven and a new Earth,
now and forever.
Diarmuid O’Murchu, Special Prayers, http://www.diarmuid13.com/SpecialPrayers, in Archdiocese of Chicago’s Anti-Racism Implementation Team, A Toolkit for Antiracism Prayer Services, Archdiocese of Chicago, Office of Racial Justice, 2008, 17, http://www.ospihm.org/racial-healing/docs/Toolkit-for-Anti-Racism-Prayer-Services.pdf.
JUNE 25, 2021
Wise and loving God, you have created – and are still creating –
a world rich with difference and diversity. You have created all people in your image,
each expressing their being and living their life in valid, special relationship with you.
For all this, we praise you.
For historic acts of injustice and oppression perpetuated against Aboriginal communities,
Black, and Japanese and Chinese communities in this abundant land of the First Nations:
Forgive us, merciful God.
For the times we have failed to recognize racism in ourselves, in our church, and in our society,
and the times we have failed to take action,
Forgive us, long-suffering God.
For complicity in systems of privilege and power over those whose skin color, culture, or creed
differ from those of the majority, even today:
Forgive us, compassionate God.
Grant us courage never to let a racist joke pass in our hearing,
daring to insist on equitable treatment of all persons and groups,
including ourselves if oppressed,
even at the risk of being unpopular or misunderstood.
We beseech you, God of justice.
Grant us patience in enduring periods of non-action,
persistence in resisting the evil of racial oppression,
and faithfulness in working toward racial justice among your people in the church and in the world:
We beseech you, God of hope.
And grant us humility and wisdom to discern when it is that your Spirit must come to accomplish that which human beings and groups cannot. We pray in the name of Jesus, himself, the bread of justice and the cup of solidarity. Amen.
Wenh-In Ng, from That All May Be One: A Resource for Educating toward Racial Justice (Justice Global and Ecumenical Relations unit, The United Church of Canada, 2004, p 77).
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