Home Worship Planning Preaching Resources Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (April-June 2022)

Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (April-June 2022)

APRIL 1, 2022

We are fools for the sake of Christ
1 Corinthians 4:10 NRSV

God of wisdom and foolishness, no one wants to be a fool on this day or any day. No one wants to be made fun of or pranked. We want to be strong, not weak. We want to choose winners and not losers. We want to be right.

And yet, what if what is right, seems foolish? Reconciliation, repentance, asking forgiveness for ways we have wronged, especially if we benefit from a system that we didn’t create, all seem foolish. Dreaming of a world where difference is celebrated and not feared seems foolish. Working toward a beloved community even when it means some give up so that others might be raised up seems foolish. Standing up for what is right in the face of insurmountable odds and overwhelming force seems foolish.

Wikipedia says that the only nation that recognizes April Fools as a public holiday is Ukraine. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools%27_Day)

Suddenly, I want to be a fool.

In the name of the one who lived the foolishness of the kin-dom. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, March 2022

APRIL 4, 2022

Holy God, Three in One, you call us your very own.
You pray that we would all be one.
And yet, we put up walls that separate us from one another and from you.
We divide ourselves by class, by race, by politics, by ability, by gender identity.
We exclude people because they look, act, or think differently than we do.
And when we do not love our neighbors, we are not loving you, who created us all.

This is not your will for us.
Forgive us, God, for causing harm to our neighbors and ourselves.
Help us to turn toward one another.
May we build bridges instead of walls so that we can come together.
May we draw the circle wide so that all can experience your amazing love.

Prayer written by Maggie Jarrell, West End United Methodist Church, Sunday Worship Bulletin, March 27, 2022, 8:45 A.M.

APRIL 5, 2022

Eternal One of All:
We come to You as seekers and builders.
Open our hearts and minds as wide as canyons
As we struggle to understand
Different paths from our own.

Teach us to welcome “the other”
With softness and welcoming embraces.

Creator of the Universes
Teach us to destroy
Walls of fear and animosity.
Help us rebuild them
With bridges of wholeness and peace.

From Ritualwell, Reconstructing Judaism, https://www.ritualwell.org/ritual/bridge-peace.

APRIL 6, 2022

Lord, make me an instrument of your holy discomfort
Where there is privilege, let me sow equity,
Where there is violence, let me work for peace,
Where there is division, let me seek unity,
Where there is racism, let me pursue racial justice,
Where there is environmental degradation, let me care for creation,
Where there is political discord, let me seek the common good,
And where there is economic inequality, let me seek justice.

O God of Justice, grant that I may not so much seek comfort, as to welcome hard truths,
To be heard, as to listen,
To hold power, as to empower,
To seek control, as to follow,
For it is in humility, that we learn,
It is in seeking forgiveness, that we are reconciled,
And it is in dying to self, that we are born to new life.

Amen.

“Peace Prayer for the Privileged,” by Daniel P. Horan, OFM, PhD, Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, https://medium.com/@DanielHoran/peace-prayer-for-the-privileged-363b94578aeb.

APRIL 7, 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.

“A Prayer of Lament,” excerpted from Weep With Me by Mark Vroegop, posted by Outreach Magazine, https://outreachmagazine.com/resources/books/multicultural/57101-a-prayer-for-racial-reconciliation.html.

APRIL 8, 2022

Loving Christ,

We are about to journey with you to the cross, once again. We are in the lull before the storm, the breath before the Word goes forth. Soon it will be procession and palm, then towel and basin, bread and cup, whips and thorns, cross and nails.

Why do we remember or re-enact these terrible moments? Is it simply to mark the event? Are we going through the motions, trying to recapture the emotions, wanting to feel something as we gather for worship during the week we call holy? Are we just playacting, pretending we care about your suffering? After all, we know it comes out all right in the end.

Or is this a time for us to stand in solidarity with all who suffer? Are our eyes open to those whose homes are the casualty of wars of aggression? Are our hearts broken by those who bear the scars of abuse, of neglect, of hate? Are we willing to relinquish our hold on power, on the way things are, so that those who are being oppressed by our privilege might find a place to breathe?

Lord, we will walk behind you in the week to come. We will watch again as you bow under the lash, as you are lifted up, as the nails are driven in. But help us do more than watch. Help us find our way through this valley that we might find the way to Resurrection and to life. In your name, we pray. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, March 2022

APRIL 11, 2022

Creator of the universe, you made the world in beauty, and restore all things in glory through the victory of Jesus Christ.

We pray that, wherever your image is still disfigured by poverty, sickness, selfishness, war, and greed, the new creation in Jesus Christ may appear in justice, love, and peace, to the glory of your name. Amen.

Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress posted at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/prayers.php?id=31.

APRIL 12, 2022

We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end war;
For we know that You have made the world in a way that people must find their own path to peace within themselves and with their neighbors.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end starvation;
For You have already given us the resources with which to feed the entire world, if we would only use them wisely.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root out prejudice;
For You have already given us eyes with which to see the good in all people, if we would only use them rightly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair;
For You have already given us the power to clear away slums and to give hope, if we would only use our power justly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease;
For You have already given us great minds with which to search out cures and healing, if we would only use them constructively.

Therefore, we pray to You instead, O God, for strength, determination and will power,
To do instead of just pray,
To become instead of merely to wish.

A Sabbath Prayer by Jack Riemer, Social Justice Resource Center, https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/prayers/justice.

APRIL 13, 2022

Almighty God, we are continually amazed at the way you turn the world upside down. For a Savior of the world, we would have chosen a powerful prince,

But you chose a carpenter’s son born under questionable circumstances.

For disciples to help Jesus through his ministry, we would have chosen well connected wealthy people of the upper class to bankroll the operation,

But you chose fishermen, a tax collector, and other such outcasts.

For a grand entrance into Jerusalem, we would have chosen a white Stallion,

But you chose a donkey.

When riding high in the polls on Palm Sunday, we would have chosen to stay there as long as we could,

But you chose to clear the temple.

For a place of coronation, we would have chosen a palace with a wonderfully decorated royal throne,

But you chose a cross.

For those who we would want to have included in the kingdom of God, we would have chosen those who look and sound like we do,

But you chose the world with all of its challenging diversity.

For people to show the world the love and grace extended to us in Jesus Christ, we would have chosen somebody else,

But you chose each of us.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

From “Prayers for Palm Sunday and Holy Week,” The Moravian Church, https://www.moravian.org/2021/03/prayers-for-palm-sunday-and-holy-week-march-28-april-3-2021/.

APRIL 14, 2022

Jesus arrested, judged, found guilty and condemned to die is held captive overnight.

If I were arrested and held this night what would I be found guilty of?

That I made friends with people irrespective of their colour, creed or class…
That I shared my bread with the poor…
That my words… and actions… brought healing and forgiveness…
That I made justice and didn’t count the cost…
That I sought the truth and then spoke of it…
That I recognised my neighbour and loved them as my very self…
That I met God along the way in the healing and forgiveness I received…
That I accepted hospitality at many different tables…
That I was changed by the lives of others…
… and often repented my arrogance and foolishness
in encountering their wisdom…
That friends and strangers sometimes paid the price for me…
That I never sought out suffering...
…but journeyed with it to the best of my ability...
That the love of those about me taught me to love myself before God...

You call us out of brokenness
to mend and remake your creation.
Grant us the courage to stay
with all those who are held captive this night.
In the name of Jesus who is good news, Amen.

Pat Pierce, Catholic Agency For Overseas Development, Catholic Church of England and Wales, https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Prayer-resources/Holy-week-prayers.

APRIL 15, 2022

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

“Were You There,” African American Spiritual, United Methodist Hymnal, 288.

What makes us tremble, Lord of life and of death? What shakes us to our core and makes us ask deep questions about the whys and wherefores of this broken and hurting world? What presses down on our souls like the weight of the world or the burden of our collective sin? What stills our incessant chatter and self-righteous posturing in a world upside down, tormented by greed and selfishness and unthinking fear? Anything? Any abuse, any injustice, any shame?

We need to tremble today, Lord. We need to fall to our knees before the consequence of our sin, feel the burden of our division, the weight of our hatred for those you came to love into life. We need to tremble all the way to death, that we might have a chance at living. Living in a blessed community, living in a kin-dom of grace.

We need to die to our sin, to our prejudice, to our privilege, that we might live in the gift we’ve forgotten to be in awe of, to be humbled by. We need to be there, right there, where the cross exposes a truth that makes us tremble. We need to be there, with him. And tremble.

Christ, have mercy. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, April 2022

APRIL 18, 2022

Our Father who art in heaven
Creator of all the races in your world
Hallowed be thy name
Praised and beloved by all your people of whatever colour and race.
Thy kingdom come
Where racial justice prevails and all are welcome without favour or discrimination.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Where we will strive to live as sisters and brothers bound together as your children.
Give us this day
A day of enlightenment when we recognise all peoples as equal in your sight,
Our daily bread
To share with our neighbours of whatever colour, race or creed.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
Forgive the wrongs of the colonial past, the oppression of slavery, the assumption of white privilege and the ongoing racism hidden in ourselves and our communities.
Lead us not into temptation
Of pride and the denial of truth
But deliver us from the evil
Of racism which divides communities and destroys lives.
For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory
which will transform us all
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Excerpted from PRAYER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE, NBCW Racial Justice Prayer - May 2021 (Adapted from Barbara D'Arcy in the Trampled Vineyard p 94 and A Pledge for Racial Justice of the Church of St. Francis Xavier, NY.), https://www.nbcw.co.uk/prayers-for-our-time.

APRIL 19, 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, https://episcopalcolorado.org/becoming-beloved-community.

APRIL 20, 2022

O God who created all people in Your Holy Image,
Who loves the stranger,
Who cares for the downtrodden,

Walk with those who face discrimination, protect them from harm, help them see Christ in our community. Guide those who fan the fires of discrimination to open their eyes to the beauty of all your creation and respect the human dignity of all people. Open our hearts to those who face hatred and injustice because of their race, their background, their ethnicity that we might better help them belong.

Through Christ Our Lord Amen

"Racial Justice Prayer," Sisters of the Precious Blood, https://www.preciousbloodsistersdayton.org/our-ministries/ecology/grassroots-newsletter-archives-2016-2018/grassroots-newsletter-november-2018/racial-justice-prayer/.

APRIL 21, 2022

God and Father of all, in your love you made all the nations of the world to be a family, and your Son taught us to love one another.

Yet our world is riven apart with prejudice, arrogance, and pride. Help the different races to love and understand one another better. Increase among us sympathy, tolerance, and goodwill, that we may learn to appreciate the gifts that other races bring to us, and to see in all people our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died.

Save us from jealousy, hatred, and fear, and help us to live together as members of one family at home in the world, sons and daughters of one Father who live in the liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“For Racial Harmony,” Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press, 1994, https://www.faithward.org/prayers-for-racial-harmony.

APRIL 22, 2022

Earth Day, April 22, 2022, https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2022.

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God …
Romans 8:19 NRSV

For what does creation wait, O God of all that is? For what does this planet, abused and ravaged in our hunger for more and more, wait? Does it wait for a moment of sanity? Does it wait for a sense of urgency? Does it wait for clarity and resolve and action toward preservation? Perhaps all of these and more, we confess.

But maybe above all, creation waits for beloved community. We all wait for and long for that kin-dom of which Jesus spoke so regularly, where we see life in all its wondrous diversity as the glorious gift that it is. Where we see how interrelated we all are as creatures of one world, one planet. Where we acknowledge that suffering in one part of creation is suffering in all, where abuse and oppression and prejudice and hatred against one people is destroying us all. Where we understand that a lavish lifestyle, a standard of living in comfort and extravagance for some is forcing others into cycles of poverty and deprivation.

Creation waits, O God of today and tomorrow, for Resurrection. May we be born into a new way of living, a new way of being in the wonderful world you have given. May we live respectfully, humbly, as befits a people who follow a crucified, Risen Lord. In his name and to his glory. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, April 2022

APRIL 25, 2022

O God, for us to move forward in our lives and receive your blessings
the stone of unforgiveness must be rolled away;
the stones of hate, racism, bigotry, prejudices must be rolled away;
the stones of jealousy, envy, and disobedience must be rolled away;
the stones of pride, fear, and unbelief must be rolled away.

All of us have some stones in our lives that need to be rolled away. Listen to the pleas from my heart, so I may be free of my stones. Amen.

Adapted from Charles McCall, by Joyce Sohl for Vespers and All that Jazz, Scarritt Bennett Center, April 17, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5czvynzciY.

APRIL 26, 2022

O loving God,

We give you thanks for creating the world which is full of diversity and for making one human family of all the peoples of the earth. You reign over all the nations and are seated on your holy throne. You rule over all the peoples without partiality in respect to nations or races because righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.

Forgive us for the times when we put walls around us with false pride and racial prejudice.
Forgive us for the times when we were silent in the face of racism, private or institutional.
Open our eyes to see Christ who is in people of every nation and every culture.
Break down the walls that separate us. Set us free from fear, hatred and racism.
Bind us together with the unity of God’s love. Restore oneness to the family of God.
We pray in the name of Jesus who came, lived and died for all humanity.

Amen.

A Daily Prayer for Racial Justice and Reconciliation, offered by the Bishop’s Work Group on Racial Justice and Reconciliation, Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, https://vaumc.org/reconciliation.

APRIL 27, 2022

Yom HaShoah, April 27, 2022, 27th day of Nisan

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/yom-ha-shoah-holocaust-memorial-day

Lord who chooses, tonight begins a remembrance of horror. Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance of the Holocaust, when racism and bigotry, when hatred and fear, roared into a conflagration that decimated millions, and the world watched. It is a day of mourning and lament, a day when the worst within the human heart was exposed. And none of us can claim innocence from hiding hate in our hearts. A day of brokenness and of death. God, have mercy.

And yet, even this day is not just Yom HaShoah, but is Yom HaShoah Ve-Hagevurah, a day of remembrance of the Holocaust and the heroism. We are invited to remember the victims, yes; but also those who resisted, even as they died. We remember those who held on to human dignity despite the efforts of those in power to strip it away. We also remember those who went underground and fought against the idea promoted by empire that some are less worthy, less valuable, less human than others. They fought, and they lived, and they died, and they bear witness to a larger truth in the face of political lies. We remember the heroism.

Because of them, we can not allow the lie to continue unaddressed. We cannot stand by while some are diminished because of the color of their skin or their faith or their country of origin. We cannot allow this hatred to continue to burn amongst us. Or we will all be consumed. Give us strength this day to stand will all who are pushed to the margins, considered less than, labeled with hate and scorn. Let the heroism in any and all of us who want to live your truth rise up and be heard this day and every day. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, April 2022

APRIL 28, 2022

O Lord, we turn our cries of lament toward confession because we can’t stay in the lament forever. And yet, please allow us to lament for as long as you see our need. And as we confess of our sins tonight, would you renew a right Spirit within us.

O Lord, we confess that as the body of Christ, we have cared less about black bodies. We confess that through our complicity, we have communicated that some have less dignity. We confess that we did not use our voices when our brothers’ and sisters’ voices were being choked out. We confess, O Lord that we, as your Church have failed. Period.

O Lord, would you forgive us for our fear of man. O Lord, forgive us for our lack and inadequacy. O God, forgive us for our desire for comfort. O God, forgive us for our many sins.

Our Father, tonight we are reminded of how costly our sins are. Not only have our sins put men and women in the grave, but our sins have put God on the cross. And yet, it’s because of Jesus, our elder brother, who went to the cross and was abandoned as he screamed out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” that we would not be abandoned.

So, we are a broken people with great hope. We are broken vessels that hold your treasure in these jars of clay so that we might allow all people to experience your intimacy, your mercy, your forgiveness, your love, and living hope, which only you can provide.

Renew us, we pray. Revive our hearts, we pray. Heal our land and our people, we pray.

In Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Prayer, from “Lament and Prayer: The Killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd - a liturgy,” Redeemer Churches and Ministries, New York, https://download.redeemer.com/pdf/Grace_and_Race_Lament_liturgy.pdf, 12.

APRIL 29, 2022

Thank you, God, for the diversity of the human race.

Thanks for the different races, languages, religions, cultures and peoples of the world.

Help us to treasure the diversity of life and we pray that individuals, governments and communities strive for unity in diversity.

Amen.

By Cynan Llwyd, Christian Aid Head of Wales, https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/daily-bible-readings/daily-reading-30-april.

MAY 2, 2022

Creator, you see what is happening among us; No need for me to spell it out. You are the God who loves justice and yet demands mercy. You are found in the vulnerability of the most splendid flowers in the field and in the brief life of the common sparrow. You are intertwined with the great sun and moon; the powerful tides of the oceans and the stillness of the quiet, artisan spring. Today, we ask you for the same constructive anger as when you cleansed the temple, and the same mercy as when you entreated the Pharisees to join the Father’s feast. We are your eyes and ears and hands and feet: give us strength in loss, courage in darkness, humility in victory, and a human vulnerability that reflects You.

Rev. D. Randy Woodley, Movement Prayers, https://www.movementprayers.com/post/a-prayer-for-justice-mercy-and-vulnerability.

MAY 3, 2022

God of justice, In your wisdom you create all people in your image, without exception. Through your goodness, open our eyes to see the dignity, beauty, and worth of every human being. Open our minds to understand that all your children are brothers and sisters in the same human family. Open our hearts to repent of racist attitudes, behaviors, and speech which demean others. Open our ears to hear the cries of those wounded by racial discrimination, and their passionate appeals for change. Strengthen our resolve to make amends for past injustices and to right the wrongs of history. And fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven, and establish peace and equality for all in our communities.

Give us the hearts of Jesus, and the courage and compassion of Blessed Edmund to seek to live lives dedicated to the eradication of racial injustice. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thane Hall, Prayer Service for Solidarity in the Midst of Racial Injustice, Brother Edmund Rice High School, Bloomfield Hills, MI, https://brrice.edu/faith-service/prayerservice.

MAY 4, 2022

God, as our world is on fire, we are desperate for a healing justice unshackled from any industrial complex. Empower us to build new relationships that are intersectional, embodied, and equitable. Strengthen us to also practice the way of healing ourselves as we strive to lead movements for justice, for it is only then that we can be the healing of our collective wounds. Amen.

Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Ph.D., Movement Prayers, https://www.movementprayers.com/post/a-prayer-for-healing-justice.

MAY 5, 2022

In the U.S., it is another National Day of Prayer, God who listens. For what shall we pray today? What do you hear from the mouths of those who say they follow your word, who claim faith in your kin-dom? Do we pray for safety and security, for preservation of a lifestyle that is no longer sustainable in this increasingly troubled world? Do we pray for ourselves first and foremost? For what shall we pray today?

“Thoughts and prayers” has become a cliché these days. Sometimes it is a way of avoiding change, avoiding involvement, avoiding engagement. Some have given up on prayer because it seems shallow and empty. But what if we really prayed, as Jesus did in the garden? What if we really prayed, as he taught his followers that day when they asked for more than they knew they were asking? What if we laid our lives before you when we prayed, really believed in your Lordship, really did want your reign to come on earth as it is in heaven? And what if when we picked ourselves up from our prayers, we left behind those things that don’t belong to your way of living? What if we really set aside our hatred and our fears and our exclusivism and our greed and our willingness to believe less of someone because of the color of their skin or the accent with which they speak? What if we really let prayer change us, maybe in ways we didn’t anticipate and aren’t completely comfortable with? What if we decided, as we prayed, that the kin-dom for which we long has to begin with us, with our every word, with our actions and our dreams and hopes, it has to begin with our thoughts and prayers? For what shall we pray today?

In the U.S., it's the National Day of Prayer, God who speaks. Maybe instead of speaking so much, what we should do today is listen. Listen to those who aren’t heard enough. Listen to those who don’t speak like us. Listen to those who have no one to hear them. Listen to you. For what is the world praying today?

Derek Weber, April 2022

MAY 6, 2022

Have mercy on me, O Lord.

I have blinded my eyes. In spite of the clear evidence of deeply embedded racism all around me, I have looked the other way. Too many have died. Too many have suffered. Too many have been locked out and cast aside. Too many indignities. Too many injustices. And still I looked the other way.

Have mercy on me, O Lord.

I have hardened my heart. Believing the lie that blacks have the same opportunities as whites, I could not allow myself to admit that my life was shaped as much by racism as theirs—mine to benefit and theirs to harm. But it was and it is and it will continue to be. I have cared too little. I have grieved too little.

Have mercy on me, O Lord.

I have silenced my tongue. My voice has not been raised in prophetic rebuke and anger. My feet have not stepped out for justice alongside those who have more courage than I. And in my silence, I am an accomplice to bigotry.

Forgive me, O Lord.

I have sinned against you and against those who suffer the evil of racism. Indifference has smothered my soul and snuffed out fleeting impulses for reconciliation. I ask for your forgiveness, and I will appropriately seek their forgiveness.

Empower me, O Lord.

I need your strength to step beyond blindness, indifference, and fear; to step toward those whom I have sinned against. I make no grandiose promises or plans today for I know how easily these can be made and forgotten. But this I know. I cannot be the same. And I will not.

Amen!

Mark Young, President, Denver Seminary, May 2016, https://denverseminary.edu/racism-a-reflection-and-a-prayer.

MAY 9, 2022

O God, giver of new life,
We see the brokenness in the world around us:
violent conflict in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Syria, and other places,
a hunger crisis growing steadily around the world,
racism and oppression finding new expressions that impact our lives.
And yet new life bursts forth in creation.

When Thomas touched Christ’s broken body alive again, he believed.

May we also believe so that we might
turn away from the death-dealing ways of old
and toward life-giving paths set before us in the resurrection.
In the name of the resurrected one, we pray.

Amen.

Email from Bread for the World, https://www.bread.org/pray-end-hunger.

MAY 10, 2022

O God of all nations and all peoples: our nation once, in time of war, forcibly interned in camps, without trial and without just cause, many of our own people because of their Japanese ancestry. Grant us, by your grace, the strength and courage never again to treat as enemies any entire group of persons, solely because of the enmity of some members of that group, but to defend and preserve the basic human rights of all people, even in times of distress, for the sake of your Son who died for all.

Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/prayers/racism/.

MAY 11, 2022

We cover our mouths and apologize for all the times we fell silent. We confess to you all the times we did not speak up when we should have.

God in your mercy, forgive us.

We uncover our mouths and we ask for courage to speak. We pray to be like Jeremiah, who said, “God’s word is like a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” We pray to be prophets of your freedom.

God in your power, give us strength.

We cup our ears and we commit to listening to the lament of all bodies put on display, used as a warning, and made to carry their own execution tools.

God in your power, give us strength.

We touch our feet and we commit ourselves to walking with one another; to marching; to teaching; to preaching; to healing; to encouraging; to empowering.

God in your power, give us strength.

We lock eyes with one another and we affirm one another’s goodness. We see one another’s value; we appreciate one another’s gifts.

God in your power, give us strength.

We reach our arms out to one another and we commit ourselves yet again to being one with each other and one in the world. One flesh, one spirit, one body—God’s body.

God in your power, give us strength.

We raise our voices and we say together: “We will speak up against racism.”

We will speak up against racism.

We will act against racism.

We will act against racism.

We will seek God’s justice and peace.

We will seek God’s justice and peace.

God in your power, give us strength.

Excerpted from Prayer Service to Stand Against Racism, June 24, 2020, by Rev. Sam McGlothlin, Belle Meade UMC, Nashville, and Rev. Dr. Paula Smith, Gordon Memorial UMC, Nashville. Full liturgy: https://www.upperroom.org/news/1205.

MAY 12, 2022

God of justice. Open the eyes of those who wield power to the destructiveness of racism. Let justice roll like a river and move us to repentance and transformation. Convict the hearts of leaders in government, businesses, charities and the church, towards your kingdom values. May righteousness flow like a mighty stream.

God of justice, hear our prayer.

Christ who lived under occupation. Help us identify and change the systems and power structures in our countries that perpetuate racial inequality. Teach us to transform into societies that uphold the dignity of each person, made in your image. Where we need to be stirred, wake us up to take our part in praying, speaking up and taking action.

Christ who lived under occupation, hear our prayer.

Spirit of God, our breath in this world. Let this moment in history bring about everlasting change to violence and discrimination based on the colour of someone’s skin. Breathe newness into our lands, our systems, our structures, our ways of living with one another.

Spirit of God, our breath in this world, hear our prayer.

God of restored relationships, to whom we all belong. Bring healing to all those that are suffering and have endured the pain caused by racial injustice. Restore broken relationships, bring peace; your peace and wholeness to all people in all places.

God of restored relationships, to whom we all belong, hear our prayer.

A Prayer for Racial Justice, Tearfund Staff Conference 2020, Black Lives Matter: A Guide to Help You Respond to Racial Injustice, https://www.tearfund.org/-/media/files/main-site/about-us/blm-guide.pdf, p. 12.

MAY 13, 2022

The psalmist asks you to teach us to count our days, O God of all our days, that we might gain a wise heart (Psalm 90:12). But we have strange ways of counting. Today is Friday the thirteenth and the first Friday the thirteenth of this year, so someone determined we needed to mark this day. It is designated on some calendars as “Blame Someone Else Day.” I think it is supposed to be funny, someone’s idea of a joke. But like much humor, it hits close to the bone. Blame someone else day is not just on the first Friday the thirteenth of the year, but the standard operating procedure of too many of us. We are always looking for scapegoats, for someone to shoulder the blame. We are always looking to point fingers, to condemn them . . . Them, you know, them! Those people, the ones unlike us, the ones who look different and sound different and live differently from us.

Help us stop the blaming and scapegoating. Help us turn away from fearmongering and name calling. And most of all, God of justice and of mercy, help us take responsibility for what brokenness is in our hearts and in our society and in our world. And then resolve to work together, with all people, that your kingdom might come on earth as it is in heaven. Help us . . . help me stop looking for someone to blame. Today and every day. Amen.

Derek Weber, May 2022

MAY 16, 2022

Terror surrounds me everywhere. During the day, I am overwhelmed by bad news: a massacre in the supermarket; a policeman abusing and killing with his power; Your creation rebelling against selfish human attitudes that cause pollution and exploitation; people dying from Covid; the ignorance fostered by idolatry doesn’t allow for healing; the unbearable weight of the wall (visible and invisible) imposed by privilege, racism, and xenophobia.

I no longer dare to speak, and I hide in my lamentation. My foreign accent hurts the senses of those who see me differently; my gender crushes me into an inferior and marginalized place; my Caribbean identity, made of the noise of drums, the flavor of achiote, cadences of the palm trees and the beach, hit the ethnocentric homogeneity.

At night my thoughts disturb me, and in a valley of tears and insomnia, I ask You: until when, my good Jesus? Powerlessness consumes me.

But I know that you will not leave me in this agony; you are my Redeemer! In my lament, the warmth of Your presence accompanies me; You cry with me and also comfort me. You sustain and guide me with Your grace, love, and mercy. And like the prophet Habakkuk, like a praise, I proclaim:

…but I will still celebrate
because the LORD God
saves me.
The LORD gives me strength.
He makes my feet as sure
as those of a deer,
and he helps me stand
on the mountains.

(Habakkuk 3: 17-19, CEV)

Alma W. Pérez, Director of Hispanic/Latino Resourcing of Discipleship Ministries, Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge, General Commission on Religion and Race, UMC, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ef390122cafce385dd4d822/t/62741830f4e188402437254d/1651775536984/Week+1+Lamentation+Prayers.pdf, 3.

MAY 17, 2022

Creative and loving God, you have searched us out and known us and all that we are is open to you. We confess that we have sinned: we have put up walls between ourselves and you, closing our hearts to your gifts. We have failed to respect and honor the gifts you have given us in creation, earth and all living things. We squander the inheritance of generations to come.

We have sinned against each other: we have put up walls between ourselves and our neighbors, giving in to fear, ignorance, and arrogance. We are stained by the sin of racism and fail to respect the gifts of all your peoples.

We have used our power to dominate and our weakness to manipulate; we have evaded responsibility and failed to confront evil; we have trusted false gods and listened to their promises; we have denied dignity to ourselves and to each other; we have fallen into deep despair. In our despair, we have forgotten you, and have gone away from your path.

Forgive us for what we have done to hurt others and the ways we have hurt your earth. Give us your blessing and help. Let us walk in your great love; through the great peacemaker, your Son, Jesus Christ.

Draft of a forthcoming section on Justice and Reconciliation revisions to the Book of Common Worship, WJKP, 2018, Presbyterian Church USA, https://facing-racism.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/facing_racism/resources/bcw_excerpts_justice_and_reconciliation.pdf, 7.

MAY 18, 2022

Leader: Father of the Heavenly Lights, you brought us to life by your Word of truth,

People: We were made in your image, sons and daughters of all colors.

L: The cancerous wickedness of racism has caused your children to suffer. Prejudice, discrimination, and hatred have led to brokenness, violence and even death.

P: We confess that we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have allowed the sin of racism to divide us in what we have done and what we have not done; what we have said and what we have not said.

L: Purify our hearts and tame our tongues, we pray;

P: Give us courage to repent, to fight for righteousness, and to love and embrace one another…

L: In the name of Jesus, Our Lord…

All: Amen

Litany of Confession, Rev. Rhea Summit, Pastor, New Alexandria UMC, Antiracism Resources, Western PA Conference of the United Methodist Church, https://www.wpaumc.org/antiracismworshipresources.

MAY 19, 2022

Dear Christ, our Redeemer and friend,

Someone asked me if we were pronouncing your name correctly. An odd question these days. But this person heard from a scholar who said originally your name was not Jesus, as Hebrew has no j sound, so we’re wrong to call you Jesus. We should say Yeshua.

I thought I should ask then; do you care how we say your name? Does it matter in what language we pray, or in what direction we face, or how we hold our hands? We worry about these things, you know. We want to do it right, to honor you in the way we should.

When you said “as you did to these (the ones we think least), you did it to me” did you mean your name is many? How we treat those around us is how we pray to you? How we love or hate, how we heal or hurt, how we welcome or shun, is how we pray to you? Did you mean that you are George and Breonna, that you are Yevgeny and Olena, that you are Chinua and Aminatta, that you are Liu and Angkhana? You are all those who seek justice and transformation.

We pray to you, Jesus, our brother, Christ, our savior, that we may find our way to beloved community right here and right now. Amen and amen.

Derek Weber, May 2022

MAY 20, 2022

God, you created us in your own image and loved us regardless of our race and tribe. You said in 1 John 44:20, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.’”

We seek your forgiveness, dear God, because we have lied to our brothers and sisters, saying that we love them when, in fact, we have segregated. Dear Jesus, help us love one another regardless of race or tribe. Teach us to love unconditionally. Teach us to know that through Jesus Christ we are one tribe, one race, and one in Christ.

We thank you, Lord, that you loved us first. May your grace enable us to love one another. In Jesus Christ’s name, we pray. AMEN.

“We Are One Tribe, One Race” by Juliet Nabukalu, Coordinator of Women’s Ministries, East Africa Annual Conference and Kireka United Methodist Church, Kampala, Uganda, Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge, General Commission on Religion and Race, UMC, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ef390122cafce385dd4d822/t/627418463c7f6a539afa4dd9/1651775559462/Week+2+Repentance+Prayers.pdf, 3.

MAY 23, 2022

O God, true source of wholeness and peace, in a world bearing fresh wounds of suffering and grief, you call us to be a people of healing. Help us to reach out to neighbors in need, to bear one another’s burdens, to weep with those who weep. Give us the grace to share the comfort of Christ with all those who long for his healing touch. Help us to hold in our hearts and show in our lives what we proclaim with our lips: Goodness is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; hope is stronger than despair.

Pax Christie, from A Prayer for Uplifting Human Dignity, Dominican Sisters of Peace, Columbus, OH, https://oppeace.org/blog/2018/05/25/prayer-uplifting-human-dignity.

MAY 24, 2022

Gracious and Loving Jehovah Rapha, You are the great healer; the One who can renew all things. You sent Jesus to teach us that healing is not only possible, but what we should expect, even when it seems impossible. In our land, there are so many inequities brought about by racial injustice. Without knowing it, too often, we are a part of the problem. Help us to see when we sin against our neighbors and you by the implicit bias we hold, by our failure to speak when we should; when we choose to do nothing when we should act. Convict us of our sin and lead us in new ways of thinking, new ways of being, and new ways of acting.

On my own, I don’t even know where to start Lord, but I must start. Guide my thoughts, my words, and my actions when I see those injustices. Give me strength to be used by you to stand in the breach where healing is needed. Give me understanding so I can be used as an instrument of your divine healing. I cannot do this on my own, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can make all things new.

Lord, we pray for healing, your perfect will to be done here in our land and throughout the world. And we will give you all the praise, all the glory, and all the thanks to you in the name of your Son, Jesus.

Amen.

Rev. Debbie Hills, Chairperson, Disability Ministries Committee of the UMC, West Springfield, Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge, General Commission on Religion and Race, UMC, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ef390122cafce385dd4d822/t/6274185c62ce8b03db276e7b/1651775581601/Week+3+Healing+Prayers.pdf, 5.

MAY 25, 2022

We pray for healing to address the persistent sin of racism which rejects the full humanity of some of your children, and the talents and potential You have given.

We pray for the grace to recognize the systems that do not support the dignity of every person, that do not promote respect for those who are seen as other, who bear the legacy of centuries of discrimination, fear, and violence.

We pray for graced structures so children of color in Flint, and all children, have access to clean water and health care.

We pray for graced structures so children of color in Mississippi, and all children, have quality education that will allow them to develop their gifts.

We pray for graced structures so children of color in Camden, and all children, have homes where families can live in dignity and security.

We pray for graced structures so children of color in Chicago, and all children, can grow up without fear, without the sound of gunshots.

Lord of all, we ask you to hear and answer our prayers. Give us eyes to see how the past has shaped the complex present, and to perceive how we must create a new way forward, with a new sense of community that embraces and celebrates the rich diversity of all, that helps us live out your call to reject the sin of racism, the stain of hate, and to seek a compassionate solidarity supported by Your grace and Your love.

We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. This text may be reproduced in whole or in part without alteration for nonprofit educational use, provided such reprints are not sold and include this notice. https://www.usccb.org/prayers/prayer-address-sin-racism.

MAY 26, 2022

Loving and Compassionate God, we are thankful despite the circumstances or events in our lives and the community. We beg You to grant us strength because through them You strengthen us.

Despite these, we beg You to strengthen each and everyone, especially during this time. I pray that You will reconcile every race and tribe. May our origin, race, ethnicity, tribe, and orientation be not an obstacle for us to experience reconciliation.

Thank You because despite everything You continue to appreciate us; You continue to pour out blessings upon us that we can use for carrying out of our duty to Your beloved children. You continue to make us stewards of what we have at the moment.

That is why it is just appropriate that we praise You and thank You because You reconciled us and connected us, so that we can care for each other. In the name of God, the Creator, of Jesus Christ our friend and savior, and of the Holy Spirit, who is our traveling companion and guide. Amen.

Reymond Dungao, Pastor – Chaplain at SPMCI, Philippines, Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge, General Commission on Religion and Race, UMC, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ef390122cafce385dd4d822/t/627418719e15f672e7352781/1651775603734/Week+4+Reconciliation+Prayers.pdf, 6.

MAY 27, 2022

It is Memorial Weekend here in the U.S., God of peace and unity. Many are already planning their festivities and relaxation. Some, perhaps many, will spare a moment to remember those who died in service to their country. But for some, war and death is something that happens somewhere else in foreign lands to people who don’t look like us. Or it is something we read about in history if we bothered to do so. It doesn’t change how we live today, doesn’t shape our choices or our resources, and so this weekend is another chance to enjoy some time off.

But there are those who are impacted by war every day of their lives. There are those for whom the beloved dead are like open wounds in their souls. There are those who lament in languages we don’t speak with rituals we don’t understand and wipe tears from faces that are different from ours. Do we honor those dead this weekend? Do we weep with those who grieve today?

Can we hope for peace, in this divided and war-torn world, God of impossibilities? Can we mourn the dead and pledge to them we will work every day to overcome the barriers that divide, the fears that separate, the prejudices that diminish this world that you have given to us? Can we hope for an end to war and hate and offer ourselves – our bodies and communities and dreams and aspirations – to be the ground from which this peace and unity might begin? Can we remember well enough to work for change?

Christ, have mercy. Amen.

Derek Weber, May 2022

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