Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (April-June 2023)
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APRIL 3, 2023
Heavenly Father, we stand before you in prayer, fixing our eyes on you, seeking your guidance, love, and protection. We ask for your help with eradicating the sin of racism in all its forms, individual and systemic. You have told us in scripture that all of humankind is made in your image, and that we should act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. Prince of Peace, just as the shouts of Joshua’s army helped bring down the walls of Jericho, may we lift up our voices and work to bring down the walls of racism and divisiveness. We earnestly pray for the wisdom to pursue actions that will help dismantle racism wherever it exists. We pray that you will bring the world together so that we may become one loving family under God, living in harmony and peace. We ask this prayer with great humility and in the glorious name of your son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. AMEN.
A Prayer for Racial Equity and Healing, The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Philadelphia, PA, http://www.aecst.org/PDF/dokantiracismprayer.pdf.
APRIL 4, 2023
Compassionate God, who sent Jesus Christ to deliver us from all manner of injustices and inequalities, create in us new hearts and enlarged visions, to see the image of God in every person irrespective of background, race and ethnicity.
May we be generous in our love of others as we work towards ending misunderstanding, racism and injustice; creating communities of human flourishing, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A Collect for Black History Month, Church of England, https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/liturgical-resources-black-history-month.
APRIL 5, 2023
Eternal God of all the generations, we welcome this festival of freedom with joyful hearts. We have assembled together seeking Your presence. As You redeemed our ancestors from the slavery of Egypt and led them to the land of their inheritance, so have You been our Redeemer and Protector throughout the centuries. You have watched over us and guided us at all times.
We thank you, God, that our lot has fallen in this blessed land, dedicated to liberty and peace. May we be imbued with a deep sense of our duty as free people. When we gather in our homes with our families and friends, may we ever be mindful of those who still dwell in poverty and deprivation, who still eat the bread of affliction. May the good tidings of redemption soon be heard in every land. May those who hunger for freedom and justice be satisfied, and may all people be blessed with the joys of harmony.
We rejoice now in the memory of our deliverance from bondage, and we celebrate the goodness we have known through the ages. For the strength our people have shown in the face of oppressors, we are grateful.
We give thanks to You for the courage that sustained us in times of suffering.
Not once but many times have we been delivered. Time and again we went from bondage to freedom, from darkness to light, from sorrow to joy.
In this season of liberation, we celebrate the freedom to live without fear, the freedom to earn our daily bread, the freedom to speak our mind.
And we celebrate the season that brings new life to the growing world. We rejoice in the first harvest of the soil, the promise of life in every land, the flower and tree reborn.
For now the winter is past, and flowers appear on the earth. The time of singing has come.
The Eternal One is our Strength and our Song!
We praise You, our God, Giver of freedom, Source of life.
Prayer for the First Day of Passover, from page 315 of the new revision of the Union Prayer Book, Chicago Sinai Edition, 2011, cited on the 18 Doors website, https://18doors.org/prayers_in_honor_of_passover.
APRIL 6, 2023
This is the day, God who came to us, where we remember that we have been commanded to love. Not encouraged, not suggested, not hinted at, but commanded to love one another as you loved us. As Jesus loved. In flesh and in blood. Not love in the abstract or in general, but love that is sustaining as bread and potent as wine. Love that is willing to take a knee and wash dirty feet. Love that is willing to tie on a towel and serve those who need it. Love that is as inclusive as you are, Lord of life, love that makes no distinctions of worthiness.
I can’t help but wonder if rather than a ritual we perform on a solemn occasion, your intention was more about how we live in community. And if so, then Maundy Thursday is not an annual observance, but a living memorial of grace. May we worship in a way that brings you glory on this holy day. Amen.
Derek Weber, March 2023
APRIL 7, 2023
This is the day when all of our excuses for continuing to allow injustice to reign in our world are like ashes in our mouths. This is the day when our hatreds are exposed for the sins that they are and our inclinations to divide and oppress and separate are shown as pettiness and lack of faith in the kin-dom you came to proclaim. This is the day when words will not save us, and hope is as shaky as the ground on the place of the skull that day.
Yet, this was the day when tortured flesh and dying breath spoke words of forgiveness to us unknowing ones. And by this death, a glimpse of life was given. Change our hearts, o Crucified one, that we might truly love like you and so live with you. Amen and amen.
Derek Weber, March 2023
APRIL 10, 2023
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…
Litany of Confession, Rev. Rhea Summit, Pastor, New Alexandria UMC, posted in “Anti-Racism Worship Resources,” Western Pennsylvania Conference, The United Methodist Church, https://www.wpaumc.org/antiracismworshipresources.
APRIL 11, 2023
God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change.
Lord, we know we cannot change what has happened in the past and the devastating impact of racism.
Grant us courage to change the things we can.
In the spirit of reconciliation and with gratitude for the gift of diversity, we seek to engage and empower people of faith to create a community of justice and peace through our common prayers and acts of compassion.
We do, Lord, with your help, have the power to change ourselves and our response to the present situation. Please guide us and give us the courage to do what we must do.
And lastly, Lord,
give us wisdom to know the difference, so that with prophetic courage we may act as advocates for the dignity and well‐being of all persons, recognizing that behind every human face is the face of God.
In Jesus’ name, we pray, AMEN.
Gathering Prayer, Becoming an Anti-Racist Church, Episcopalians United Against Racism, page 2, https://www.episdionc.org/uploads/files/Becoming_an_Anti-racist_Church_Curriculum.pdf.
APRIL 12, 2023
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may move every human heart; that the barriers dividing us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease and that, with our divisions healed, we might live in justice and peace; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Social Justice, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 79, cited in “Worship Resources for the Day of Racial Healing,” Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, page, 4, https://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Worship_Resources_for_Day_of_Racial_Healing.pdf.
APRIL 13, 2023
Has the light of Easter already begun to fade for us, God of Resurrection and hope? It was a glorious day, a potent reminder of the promise and the joy that is ours. It was a sign – that Easter celebration – that the kingdom is within our reach; the beloved community is not just possible, but preferable. We declared ourselves Easter people on Sunday. But time passes, and already our fears return. We fear the other we called brother just a few days ago. We are suspicious of the one we saw as a sister on Easter morning. We see differences more clearly today than we did in the glare of the sunrise. We fall back on prejudices and histories and hurts, and we begin to wonder if Resurrection is even possible. If love and justice are within our reach. We doubt again, God of light and truth. Call us to the lakeshore and feed us with hope and sustenance again. Then send us out to feed your lambs once more. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
APRIL 14, 2023
O Great Creator, you are the God who gives colors to our lives. In times of our sadness and weakness both of body and soul, you are reminding us that we are not alone. That we can carry each other’s burdens. So that heavy loads will be lighter. If problems and difficulties will put us down, we will kneel and gather our strength, and we will rise up. In ripened age, we will always remember that as long as there is hope, there is life. You are our hope and strength in these trying times. We put our trust in Jesus, our living hope. Amen.
Benjie B. Benitez, OSL, Pastor at First UMC Dagupon Temple, Dagupan City, Philippines, GCORR Racial Justice Prayer and Action Challenge in “Prayers of Hope,” page 3, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ef390122cafce385dd4d822/t/628e82f684e90429e06244e9/1653506806530/Week+5+Hope+Prayers_V2.pdf.
APRIL 17, 2023
Creator God, the roots of racism and white supremacy have reached deeply into our hearts and souls, and into the heart and soul of our world. Through our daily practices and commitments, loosen their grip on our capacity to love each other as you love us. Remind us with each heart-expanding breath no one is free until we are all free. With the power of your transforming love, we pray. Amen.
“Getting to the Root: Moving Beyond Performative Antiracism,” United Church of Christ, https://jointhemovementucc.org/jtm-stories/getting-to-the-root-moving-beyond-performative-antiracism/.
APRIL 18, 2023
Today is Tax Day in the USA, God of eternity. Jesus told us to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but to give to you what is yours. The problem is, we have trouble telling the difference. The things we value, the stuff we long for is far too often unimportant in the kin-dom to which we aspire. And that which is the true treasure, we ignore and diminish. We value the stuff you can hold in your hands or store in lock boxes; whereas, you want us to treasure people and relationships and acts of love and justice.
So, today, as we calculate disposable income, remind us not to dispose of any of your children. Remind us to look closely at those who live around us, who we pass in the street, who we maybe even fear a little bit, hoping to see in them something of your presence. Help us value those who are hurting, those who are different, as much as – no more than—we value the numbers we calculate to pay our taxes today. Remind us that some of what we owe is a responsibility to build a better nation and a better world. In the name of the one who gave us a glimpse of that interconnected world, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
APRIL 19, 2023
God of parted seas and turned tables,
you have revealed to us over the centuries just how broken we are.
We hear it in words that deny the humanity of others.
We feel it in the grief of losing relationships to division.
We see it on flags that bear your name, but carry out sin.
Give us justice.
Call us into the work of repairing our world by reckoning with who we have been
and are becoming.
Give us peace.
Stir us into compassion, reminding us that we belong not only to you
but are responsible for one another as siblings in your beloved family.
Give us imagination,
to see what may be.
Give us strength,
to admit what has been.
Give us love,
to bind us together.
Kate Trigger Duffert, Eight Days of Prayer, Racial Equity Committee, Presbyterian Women, page 6, https://www.presbyterianwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/RECs-Eight-Days-of-Prayer-booklet.pdf.
APRIL 20, 2023
God, we lament the damage that our silence in the face of racial violence has done, for the sins of racism that run through our lives like so many threads in a cloth. Forgive us for the times we have given in to our discomfort, for the times we have forgotten our own privilege and failed to stand with our black siblings. Help those of us who experience white privilege every day remember that, with our privilege, we are imbued with the responsibility to challenge and hold one another accountable. Give us the courage to educate ourselves, to listen well, and to use our voices when it is most needed.
Clara Weybright, “Lament” in “Prayers of Lament: Responding to the Violence of Racism,” Mennonite Church USA, https://www.mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/lament-violence-of-racism.
APRIL 21, 2023
Tomorrow is Earth Day, God of all creation. For some, it is a rallying cry for us all to pay attention to the glorious gift and abundant resources that you have given us in this home we call earth. It is a reminder that just as with so many of your gifts, they can be abused and neglected and spoiled by greed and fear. Help us to live as humble stewards of all that you have made, loving God.
For some, Earth Day is a reminder of the inequities of distribution of those resources and how it is often the black and brown people who suffer from the overconsumption of others. How too often the thinking is that those lives seem to matter less because they aren’t as civilized, aren’t as advanced as others. Help us see the sin at the heart of hoarding; help us see where the lifestyle of some causes poverty to others; help us see where our desire for cheap goods ends up making lives cheap. Help us pay attention this Earth Day and every day. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
APRIL 24, 2023
Holy god, who created all colors of people, allow us to honor your light in every soul. Help us to see you in one another, to hear your voice in all people, and to work to end racism in our church, our communities, and the world. Amen
Antiracism Prayer, Christ Church Anchorage, page 1, https://www.christchurchanchorage.org/weekly%20prayers.pdf.
APRIL 25, 2023
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14 NRSV
Someone taught us as kids, God of yesterday and today and tomorrow, that ‘sticks and stones can break our bones, but words can never hurt us.’ I believe that was to protect us from a world that can be cruel and hurtful. But it was a lie. Words have power, no one knows that better than you. You spoke, and everything that is came to be. You spoke, and it was, and it is. Words have power.
We speak all kinds of things into being. Too often, what we speak hurts another. Too often, our words are about lifting ourselves by putting down others. Too often, our words separate rather than unite. Too often, our words reveal the meditations of our hearts. And if we stopped long enough to ask ourselves whether those words bring you honor, or whether those meditations lift up your vision of the world that could be, we would be ashamed.
Forgive us, and give us hearts of welcome and inclusion; give us words of acceptance and connection. Let all of our words and all of our meditations bring you glory and reveal a kin-dom of hope. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
APRIL 26, 2023
Almighty God, Source of all that is, Giver of every good gift: You create all people in your image and call us to love one another as you love us. We confess that we have failed to honor you in the great diversity of the human family. We have desired to live in freedom, while building walls between ourselves and others. We have longed to be known and accepted for who we are, while making judgments of others based on the color of skin, or the shape of features, or the varieties of human experience. We have tried to love our neighbors individually while yet benefiting from systems that hold those same neighbors in oppression. Forgive us, Holy God. Give us eyes to see you as you are revealed in all people. Strengthen us for the work of reconciliation rooted in love. Restore us in your image, to be beloved community, united in our diversity, even as you are one with Christ and the Spirit, Holy and undivided Trinity, now and for ever. Amen
SCLM Prayers for Racial Justice and Reconciliation cried in Anti-Racism Resources, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN, http://www.stpaulsfaithformation.org/anti-racism-resources.html.
APRIL 27, 2023
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.
Anti-Racism Prayer, http://www.mercymidatlantic.org/Anti-RacismPrayer.pdf.
APRIL 28, 2023
God, we hold in prayer our struggles to untangle the mess created by our individual and communal brokenness:
the stereotypes, biases, and systemic forms of injustice that enmesh, confine, and block us from being in right relations with each other.
We invite your forgiving, reconciling, and transforming grace to be with us as we attempt to unravel the systems of injustice, violence, and hatred that we have created with our misguided prejudices and fears.
Alydia Smith, from Parables, Prayers, and Promises (UCPH) cited on “We Hold in Prayer Our Struggles,” The United Church of Canada, https://united-church.ca/prayers/we-hold-prayer-our-struggles.
MAY 1, 2023
Lord Jesus, when You walked on earth, You continually destroyed barriers Your children had erected. You sought out the marginalized and condemned all forms of oppression. While first-century Jews needlessly lengthened their journey to avoid the Samaritans, the bi-racial people-group of that day, You intentionally entered a Samaritan village to form a connection with one of its residents. When the “learned” leaders devalued women and excluded them from intellectual conversations, you invited them close and spoke dignity to the depths of their hearts.
But most importantly, through Your death and resurrection, You created an entirely new people group, a royal priesthood, and a united family, bound to one another by Your blood. Help us to reveal the power of the gospel by living in unity with one another and actively fighting to break every barrier that exists between us.
Jennifer Slattery, “30 Day Challenge for Ending Racism: Day 6: Help me build bridges,” (June 15, 2020), iBelieve, https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/day-anti-racism-prayer-challenge.html.
MAY 2, 2023
Dearest loving beautiful God, Creator of all;
We give thanks for the allure and attractiveness of every single one of us.
We are created in your image, created in beauty and power and promise.
Help us to recognize with our minds,
and our hearts,
and our spirits,
what is truly gorgeous and glorious.
Open us to respond to the inner beauty that resides within,
resisting the myths of our superficial culture.
May we find within ourselves, confidence in our being.
May we understand that cosmetics do not define normalcy,
that aesthetics are an addition and not the core of who we are.
Help us, O God, to find beauty within ourselves.
Liberate us from the norms of what is desirable and attractive.
Shallow standards hold us captive,
by limiting imagination and connection,
by reinforcing contemptible stereotypes, and
detracting from our collective humanity.
Release us from the prisons of preference and privilege that condemn through physical appearance.
Let us love ourselves so that we may love our neighbours.
Attune us to all the forms of beauty in this wonderful world,
within and around us,
may we be your beloved and beautiful people.
In Christ, we pray, Amen.
Kenji Marui, the United Church of Canada, https://united-church.ca/prayers/help-us-find-beauty-within-ourselves.
MAY 3, 2023
You who with a breath fills us with your Spirit, we thank you for the prophetic life and witness of Dr. King who reminds us that “history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
Silence is betrayal, and we confess that we have allowed fear to silence us for too long. We have allowed fear to let us wait for a “more convenient season” and not name the sins of our nation, our denomination, and especially our own faith tradition. We have been silent as white supremacy and power; Christian nationalism and jingoistic idolatry have been given the place of honor at the table.
We know that “change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle,” and so we, in our confession, ask also for the strength and the courage to straighten our backs as we work for justice. Give us the boldness to take the risks necessary to become the people you are calling us to be; to be the churches you are calling us to be; and to be the denomination you are calling us to be. Give us the drum major instinct.
This we pray in the name of the crucified, risen, and ascended Christ.
Prayer for Truth and Action from the ABC Anti-Racism Task Force, American Baptist Churches, USA, https://www.abc-usa.org/2021/01/prayer-for-truth-and-action-from-the-abc-anti-racism-task-force/.
MAY 4, 2023
For what can we pray, God who stands ready to hear, on this National Day of Prayer? For what can we pray as a nation, when we cannot and will not speak with one mind or one heart on any subject from the major issues of the day to the tiniest expressions of faith and identity? How can we join together and lift our voices when the contempt for “the other side” is so blatant and vicious? Even a call to confession is likely to make us think of the things “they” need to confess rather than what we need to admit. Lord, have mercy.
On this National Day, God of all the nations, may our prayer be one of humility and may we listen rather than speak. May we open our eyes to our neighbors and see them as they truly are, not as we imagine them to be. May we see brothers and sisters and not enemies and others. And may we begin the long journey toward respect and reconciliation. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
MAY 5, 2023
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. Amen.
Catholic Charities USA cited in “Prayer for Racial Healing” (March 12, 2019), Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community, https://isaackalamazoo.org/prayer-for-racial-healing/.
MAY 8, 2023
O God, who gave one origin to all peoples and willed to gather from them one family for yourself, fill all hearts, we pray, with the fire of your love and kindle in them a desire for the just advancement of their neighbor, that, through the good things which you richly bestow upon all, each human person may be brought to perfection, every division may be removed, and equity and justice may be established in human society.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, no. 29. For the Progress of Peoples cited in Holy Hour Against Racism (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), page 2, https://www.usccb.org/resources/Holy%20Hour%20Against%20Racism%20V3_0.pdf.
MAY 9, 2023
Lord, whatever our race, ethnicity, background or beliefs, prick our conscience when we are tempted to dismiss, demonize, or discredit someone who is different from us in any way. Give us courage to keep pressing on when systems or problems seem hopeless or insurmountable.
Church of the Servant Antiracism Prayer Calendar (Posted January 27, 2023), Saturday, February 18 Prayer, https://www.churchoftheservantcrc.org/february-2023-anti-racism-prayer-calendar/.
MAY 10, 2023
God of love
We come before you knowing that each person is made in your image, but recognising that this truth is not what we see in your world.
We thank you for the people that have come before us to open our eyes to the injustices that we have created towards one another, but today we take notice of how far we still have to come with racial justice.
We pray for anyone in our world that is experiencing racial abuse today, help us follow your Son in how we comfort the downtrodden.
We pray against the rise in anti Semitism, white nationalism and all other forms of racism, that they will be stamped out so we may love one another as your Son has loved us.
We pray that you may open our eyes to the systems that have been used to reinforce racism in our world, and help us harness the voice of the prophets to not just see, but speak out where no one else feels able.
We pray for the church, that it may be a place where all are welcome to worship, but also the ability to lead is not based on the colour of your skin or the community that you come from.
God our Father, we ask you to transform us into your image and help us to become the people you have called us to be.
In the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen
“Prayer of Intercession,” Racial Justice Sunday Toolkit for Cornish Churches (February 13, 2022), page 11, https://togethernetwork.org.uk/uploads/shared/RACIAL_JUSTICE_SUNDAY_TOOLKIT_1.pdf.
MAY 11, 2023
Guide my feet, Lord who calls and sends, that I may move and go and say and do what would give glory to your name and to the image of the beloved community that Jesus proclaimed with his life and teaching. Guide my feet, not just my words and my thoughts, so that I might cross the boundaries we have made to divide us. Guide my feet, that I might go into places of need and brokenness. Guide my feet so that I might march for justice and for hope. Guide my feet, while I run this race, this human race, this kin-dom race. Prayers are necessary, especially when they are done with our feet. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
MAY 12, 2023
Heavenly Father, we know that You are the source of the peace that passes understanding. In these troubled times, give us understanding minds and hearts as we listen to the cries of the oppressed, the wounded, the confused and even to the voices of those with whom we disagree. Give us the wisdom to respond with Your Truth, offering words and actions that build up instead of tear down.
Across the nation, racism casts a long shadow. We believe that all life is sacred and worthy of our deepest reverence. Give us the courage to stand up for racial justice and reconciliation. As individuals, as a ministry, and as a nation, help us to see when we have missed the mark and empower us to do better.
Root up any violence or malice within our hearts and minds and transform it into love, a love of neighbor and a rightly ordered love of self. Let us work for peace and be peace to one another and the people we serve. Amen.
“A Prayer for Racial Justice From St. Dominic’s Antiracism Team (St. DART), June 2, 2020, https://bonsecoursrcc.org/2020/06/02/a-prayer-for-racial-justice/.
MAY 15, 2023
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Bishop Ken Untener, 1979, cited in Seeds That Will One Day Grow, Beloved Community News, Unity Church-Unitarian, https://www.unityunitarian.org/beloved-community-news/category/antiracism.
MAY 16, 2023
Almighty God, our Creator and constant companion, you know our hearts, you see our struggles.
We kneel before You in prayer for racial justice and peace in the world.
Only through your grace, can this be envisioned and attained.
Open our ears, let us hear your message of love, justice and truth.
Open our eyes, let us see one another as you see us, beloved.
Fill our hearts, teach us to love our neighbors as you love us, unconditionally.
Grant peace to the grief-stricken, heal the wounds of loss with your Divine consolation.
Lift up those wronged by a broken system, channel anger into energy for lasting, constructive change.
Restore hope in the face of heartbreak, empower the weary to continue working for racial justice.
Govern our minds, teach us to discern privilege, discrimination and the abuse of power.
Lift our voices, give us words to speak up when racism or injustice deny any soul its dignity and human rights.
Inspire our youth with your vision, empower them to take up the struggle and lead us on.
With the power of the Holy Spirit, work through us all, so that one day,
Justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
In the name of a triune God of great love.
St. Paul’s Prayer for Racial Justice, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Natick, Maine, https://www.stpaulsnatick.org/racial-justice.
MAY 17, 2023
God, you are the giver of life, full of compassion, justice, and wisdom; the Creator of every good thing.
Right now we pause to thank you for the blessings in our life, and to remember those who need a blessing. May we be formed together by one another so that your dreams become our dreams. Make us into the type of community where all are welcomed, nurtured, and known.
Do not allow us to become comfortable. Rather, give us the ears to hear the cries of the oppressed, the eyes to see the needs of the poor, and the voices to speak with the marginalized.
Common Prayer, Refuge Home Church, Durham, NC, https://refugehomechurch.org/beliefs/.
MAY 18, 2023
On this Ascension Day, Christ enthroned in heaven, may we reflect your glory in praise and in worship, but also in the resolution to live as though we submit to your authority. May we set aside our tendency to put ourselves in the place of ultimate authority and claim your vision of a kingdom based on love and mutual respect, on invitation and hospitality, on seeing your beauty in the created world but also in the multicolored faces of the human family. May we work for justice for all and seek out especially those who have been oppressed and rejected, hated and ignored, as you once were. May we rise with you to embrace the gift of salvation and all learn to live as those set free to love. In the glorious name of Jesus, our Christ. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
MAY 19, 2023
Dear Lord, protect and strengthen those whose hearts and minds are worn down by the struggle of navigating a racially-charged world. Help us to be mindful of that burden and care for each other well.
Church of the Servant Antiracism Prayer Calendar (Posted January 27, 2023), Prayer for February 23, 2023, https://www.churchoftheservantcrc.org/february-2023-anti-racism-prayer-calendar/.
MAY 22, 2023
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.
Archdiocese of Chicago’s Anti-Racism Implementation Team, “Dwell in My Love Prayer” (page 14), A Toolkit for Anti-Racism Prayer Services, © 2008 Archdiocese of Chicago, Office for Racial Justice, http://www.ospihm.org/racial-healing/docs/Toolkit-for-Anti-Racism-Prayer-Services.pdf.
MAY 23, 2023
Use us, oh God, to be your voice of justice in our hurting world.
Use us, oh God, to be the change we know you want to see
Where eyes and ears and hearts are opened –
And every Black brother and sister can breathe free, be recognized as sacred, and racism is dismantled.
Change takes time. And time is up!! May we do everything in the name of love. Because you, our god created us to, you called us to, and you will give us the strength and courage we need to do it. Amen.
Prayer – Betsy Conway, CSJ, cited in “We Are Called to Be Christ’s Body—Anti-Racism Prayer Vigil (June 7, 2020), page 1, https://www.csjboston.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/CSJ-Anti-Racism-opening-prayer-and-statemen-for-vigil-6-7-20.pdf.
MAY 24, 2023
Holy Spirit of Compassion and Truth,
We remember today the conviction of the founder of our movement, John Wesley, as he felt his heart strangely warmed and knew that he was included in your great plan of salvation. And in the strength of that conviction, he preached salvation to any and to all. He preached to body and to soul; he preached to a church called to bring transformation to a hurting world, to a hating world. In the strength of that conviction, he chose to live his faith with his hands and heart, with his words and his welcome.
Convict us today, Holy Spirit, that we are a part – not the whole, but a part – of your great plan of salvation that has this-world impact and not just next-world promises. May we with joy proclaim welcome to all, healing for all, justice for all, and love for all because our hearts are strangely warmed.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
Derek Weber, April 2023
MAY 25, 2023
our sins are too heavy to carry,
too real to hide,
and too deep to undo.
Forgive what our lips tremble to name,
What our hearts can no longer bear,
And what has become for us
a consuming fire of judgment.
Set us free from a past that we cannot change;
Open to us a future in which we can be changed;
and grant us grace
to grow more and more in your likeness and image;
through Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
Service of Justice and Prayer in Response to the Racism and White Supremacy in Charlottesville, Presbyterian Church USA, page 2, https://facing-racism.pcusa.org/item/41776/.
MAY 26, 2023
Jesus, You died to break the power of sin in our lives and in our world, the sin of racism included. You loved everyone, young and old, of every race, with a fierce, sacrificial love. You opposed evil so much You were willing to give Your life that all Your children might live, fully free. You’re victorious over evil and fought our hatred with love.
We proclaim Your life every time we defend those who are losing theirs. As You bind our hearts to Yours, You fill us with a passion for justice and the courage to oppose injustice in every form.
Jennifer Slattery, “Day 11: Remind Us of the Gospel,” 30-Day Prayer Challenge for Ending Racism (January 15. 2020), https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/day-anti-racism-prayer-challenge.html.
MAY 29, 2023
Today in the USA, we remember the cost of freedom, God who knows sacrifice. It is a hard day, a difficult admission that in the cause of peace, we continue to send the young to die for us. While we give honor to those who served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice, we must also ask if we are able to live as a nation in a way that is worthy of that offering. Is the nation that soldiers die for the nation that we are, or is it a dream that we have abandoned in favor of a more self-seeking emphasis on the individual? Is the dream that all are created equal, that we believe in liberty and justice for all, fading from the national consciousness?
Help us, God of peace and God of justice, help us remember those who have died fighting our wars and honor them by working to recapture the kin-dom dream of one nation under God, seeking to tear down the walls that divide us and the barriers that keep some from living in the freedom won by blood. Help us at the same time study war no more and learn to live in peace. In the name of the prince of peace, we pray. Amen.
Derek Weber, May 2023
MAY 30, 2023
When Europeans arrived on these shores, God of all the nations, they felt superior to the natives who met them. And with every tide of immigration since, there has been a backlash of prejudice. Slaves and immigrants from Asian and Latin countries were like the ocean: wave after wave hitting the beach, leaving the sand black, brown, and yellow.
The effects of being denied citizenship and civil rights linger and can make us feel less than human, less than worthy. Discrimination leaves a strong stench in the air, which fills our lungs with shame, as if we had done something wrong. As if we were wrong, when the only “damage” we have done is survive.
Let us clear the air, God who created the diversity of peoples. We are not second-class citizens, and we shouldn’t act like it. Amen.
Adapted from Carleen Brice, Walk Tall: Affirmations for People of Color, San Diego; RPI Publishing, 19940, May 24.
MAY 31, 2023
Father, you created each one of us in your own image.
Yet yours is a world made glorious by its rich diversity. This we sometimes misunderstand, sometimes fear.
Give us the patience to build on what unites us, to celebrate our differences and to learn from them.
Grant us the wisdom to recognise your Church, beyond the walls of a building, reaching out across all communities, countries and cultures.
Give us the courage to offer refuge to those in need, to challenge prejudice and seek justice for all.
Help us see that you created us in your image. Neighbour or stranger, always our brother or sister.
Prayer by Yashoda Sutcliffe/CARJ (Catholic Association for Racial Justice) cited on “Prayers for Racial Justice,” Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, https://cafod.org.uk/pray/prayer-resources/prayers-for-racial-justice.
JUNE 1, 2023
Eternal parent of all,
You created us as your children. As your children, we are all related.
All parents are our parents, all siblings are our siblings, all children are our children. We have denied our relationship to one another. We have built artificial boundaries out of fear, out of anger, out of desires for control and power. We have shut our ears as brown children cry in cages and looked away as black children lay dead in the streets. We call for justice but forget about mercy. We have divided what you declare whole. We have devalued what you declare worthy. We have defiled what you claim as holy. We have dehumanized one another, the creation you called “very good.”
Forgive us for our fear, our desire for power, our thirst for justice without mercy. Forgive us for seeing ourselves as separate and our siblings as other.
Help us to see in ourselves and one another what you see in us. Save us from the temptation to separate ourselves from our siblings, from building walls that keep us apart. Empower us to tear down the boundaries that separate us from one another and, inevitably, from you. Strengthen us that we might lift up our voices when your children cry out in pain. May we be for others the refuge we find in you.
Renew our hearts, O God, through the power of your son, Jesus Christ.
“Order of Confession and Forgiveness: All Children Are Our Children,” Disrupt Worship Project, https://www.disruptworshipproject.com/order-of-confession-forgiveness-all-children-are-our-children.
JUNE 2, 2023
Come, Holy Spirit, show us your beauty reflected in all the peoples of the earth, so that we may discover anew that all are important and all are necessary, different faces of the one humanity that God so loves. Amen.
A prayer based on Pope Francis' words in his encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti. https://cafod.org.uk/pray/prayer-resources/prayers-for-racial-justice.
JUNE 5, 2023
Look with sympathy, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, cruelty, terror, disease, and indifference as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us by helping us to eliminate our own cruelty and make us agents of your love. Help us to insist and bring about equal protection, regard and justice under the law and in the hearts of all people, and grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the opportunities and riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
“A Prayer Vigil for the End of Racism,” St, Mark’s Episcopal Church, page 6, https://mcusercontent.com/feb95d46dfddcc6a909f9880a/files/24b24b5f-ae75-4714-bf0e-2a40a1403699/A_Prayer_Vigil_for_the_End_of_Racism.pdf.
JUNE 6, 2023
Lord, we acknowledge that we have fallen short of your goodness. You are like the mother hen who gathers her chicks under her wings, whose embrace provides layers of protection and emanates the warmth of your love and care. We are often more self-seeking: manipulating what we can for our own advantage, putting the desires of our stomach above the hunger of others, using our own voices to drown out the cries of those oppressed.
Lord, help us to put other people above ourselves, to assist in feeding those who hunger for justice, and to amplify the voices of the oppressed. Lord in your mercy, forgive us and change us.
“Prayers of Repentance,” All We Can, Methodist Relief and Development, https://www.allwecan.org.uk/prayers/prayers-of-repentance.
JUNE 7, 2023
Who’s missing? That’s the question that needs to be asked, God of all people and all voices. Who am I not seeing when I gather for worship or for work? Who have I overlooked or ignored or let slide into the background when seeking to see all the people, when hoping to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? Who have I never invited to join in the joy of fellowship and hope?
Remind me, God of the whole, that my salvation is wrapped up in the salvation of all, that my peace is realized in the wider community of humanity, that my gifts and my joy are given to me to share and not to hoard to myself. Open my eyes, Lord, to those whom I miss. In the name of the Christ who sees. Amen.
Derek Weber, May 2023
JUNE 8, 2023
You who accompany us on the journey of life,
Guiding us in joyful dance,
Be a bridge between heaven and earth,
Between us your sons and daughters.
Defend us from what would devour us,
And take away the promise of new life,
With arms of war and words that kill,
With racism personal and structural,
With massacres against innocents.
All of us are daughters and sons of the Most High,
Equal in dignity, deserving of respect,
Worthy of a place on this earth,
Worthy of the call to build your Temple of Justice.
Excerpted from “Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe” by Mark Joseph Seitz, Bishop of El Paso, cited in “Night Will Be No More,” Hope Border Institute, https://www.hopeborder.org/nightwillbenomore-eng.
JUNE 9, 2023
Create in us a new mind and heart that will enable us to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories. Give us the grace and strength to rid ourselves of racial stereotypes that oppress some of us while providing entitlements to others.
Help us to create a Church and nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed People of Color where we live, as well as those around the world. Heal your family God, and make us one with you, in union with our brother Jesus, and empowered by your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Prayer written by Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team of the Sisters of Providence and cited on “Thoughts & Prayers: A Response to the Killing of Daunte Wright and the Incident Involving Caron Nazario” (4/17/21), Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, https://www.gonzaga.edu/about/president-leadership/messages-media/2021/thoughts-and-prayers-daunte-wright-and-caron-nazario.
JUNE 12, 2023
God is the Father of all peoples and wills all to be gathered into one family free from division and strife. Trusting in His providence, we place our petition for an end to racism before him as we pray:
For our country, that we may be united in building a society in which all people have the opportunity to live with dignity and hope, especially the poor, immigrants and refugees, the elderly, and the unborn, let us pray to the Lord.
That all people may live in greater harmony and work to put an end to racial prejudice and discrimination, believing that God can heal every wound and right every wrong, let us pray to the Lord.
That the Lord will raise up saints in our time who will be leaders in the particular fight to bring souls to Christ amidst their efforts to rid the nation of the evil of racism, let us pray to the Lord.
That all would work to eradicate racism from every civic and social institution, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Excerpted from “Holy Hour Against Racism” from the United State College of Catholic Bishops, Intercessions, pages 4-5, https://www.usccb.org/resources/Holy%20Hour%20Against%20Racism%20V3_0.pdf.
JUNE 13, 2023
Gracious God, you created us in your image: give us the grace to turn our anger and outrage to justice and compassion. Transform our pain so that we may transmit love. Strengthen our bodies and our minds and our hearts for the long, hard, holy work of reconciliation and justice. Enable us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring about the Reign of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
12-Hour Virtual Prayer Vigil for Justice, Reconciliation, and Peace, offered by the Diocese of Virginia, cited in “Four Prayers for Justice,” Building Faith: A Ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary, https://buildfaith.org/four-prayers-for-justice.
JUNE 14, 2023
It’s a movie this time, God of work and recreation, of vision and imagination. It’s a movie that has raised the specter of racism. A fantasy character, a mythological being, of all things, who was once depicted as white is now imagined as Black. And some are angry, boycotting, protesting, editorializing. When so much seems broken that this is a battlefield grieves my heart, as I imagine it does yours as well. I can’t help but ask, “What happened to the ‘I don’t see color’ defense?” Forgive me for my pettiness. Forgive us all for our small-mindedness. Help us confess what divides us, the fear and hate that live deep inside each of us. And guide us to a new way of living in community. Help us by letting your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Guide our feet, our hearts, our all to a more profound halleluiah. Amen and amen.
Derek Weber, June 2023
JUNE 15, 2023
God of justice, all people are made in your image and all people have equal dignity and worth.
Show me the ways I have been blind to my own prejudices and help me be part of the healing rather than part of the problem.
May I have the humility to learn and the courage to call others forth to a world of greater equality.
Shannon K. Evans, “Active Anti-Racism” (August 23, 2021), Pause + Pray, Franciscan Media, https://www.franciscanmedia.org/pausepray/active-anti-racism.
JUNE 16, 2023
God, we confess that sometimes we close windows against the fresh air of new ideas, against the noise of other people’s worries, against the winds of change. God, we confess that we often draw the curtains against people who are different, against world news or community concerns. Forgive us our insulation within comfortable places and the security systems on our hearts. Open up our lives. Amen.
Prayer of Longing, People’s Congregational Church, Bayport MN, cited in Exploring Antiracism: Welcome to the Table by the People’s Antiracism Collective, page 2, https://peoplescongregational.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/7-18-2021-Bulletin.pdf.
JUNE 19, 2023
We celebrate today, God of freedom and equality, that the news finally began to reach those who had not yet heard that they too were freed from slavery; that they too were considered human and not property; that they too were endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A second Independence Day, indeed.
And yet, even as we rightly celebrate, we also acknowledge the hidden history of a people oppressed. To our shame, it took more than two years for this word to spread. As a sign of our national division, some have celebrated this day for many years, while many others have never even heard the story and wonder why it has now received attention. And even as this chapter of history is revealed, how many other stories, how much of our nation’s history, are hidden from view? Too much has been forgotten, hidden, and swept away like towns flooded by dams or neighborhoods destroyed by road projects.
May today be an opportunity to learn the true history of a people still divided but longing to be one community of justice and equality. May the vision of your kingdom be what guides us to acknowledge the preciousness of each person, all history, and our shared hope. May we truly live freedom for all. Amen.
Derek Weber, June 2023
JUNE 20, 2023
I return to you today, O God. Help me to return to you tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and every day hence for this kingdom work of building an antiracist beloved community is a life-long journey, and I need you at the center of it. Amen.
Rev. Erin Gilmore, Awaken, an Antiracist Advent Devotional, UCC, page 9, https://www.bvcucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Awaken_An_Antiracist_Devotional_FINAL.01.pdf.
JUNE 21, 2023
God grant that we will be participants in doing good, in taking the high way, in standing together in unity seeking your justice, your peace, your highest good for all humankind. Amen.
Rev. Pamela Pirtle, Director of Leadership Development & Accountability, General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW), https://gcsrw.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/no-justice-no-peace.
JUNE 22, 2023
God of many names, Spirit of Life and Love, Creative Possibility of the Universe animating and sustaining all life, Spirit beyond us and also always within us and among us:
Be with us here as we humbly and completely acknowledge our failure to be the justice seekers and justice creators we are called to be.
Be with us in this moment as we renew promises to move beyond right thoughts and good intentions toward actions to join the ongoing struggle for equity, justice, and liberation.
Be with us today, people of many faiths and religious traditions, as we strive with compassion to hold each other accountable for the wrongs we perpetuate, for the fear that too often freezes our hearts and stops our hands.
Spirit, be with us tonight, as we return to our homes. Spirit, lure and entice us into a ceaseless awareness, troubling our everyday lives permanently, no longer all-to-too easily forgetful of the oppression everywhere.
Be with us tomorrow, when we receive the call from our loving siblings, struggling to trust us as allies and accomplices and yet once again taking the risk to include us.
Be with us in all the days to come, making us worthy of trust, unflinching in the use of our privilege in the service of those most impacted by injustice.
In the names of that power we understand as divine, holy, sacred, life-giving and life-sustaining—in that name, may we move forward renewed in commitment, passionate for our charge, respectful in our working, relational in our efforts, and loving, always loving, toward all the beings, human and more than human, of this one earth we share. May it be so, blessed be, and Amen.
Closing Prayer for the Interfaith Vigil for Justice by Rev. Rita Capezzi, Unitarian Universalist, https://uumankato.com/acting-for-justice/racial-equity-and-inclusion.
JUNE 23, 2023
God, we have brought our shortcomings and our needs to you. We ask that you strengthen our hearts and hands for the work of justice in the world. Help us to recognize that each and every one of us – known and unknown – are part of your family. We are all children of God.
Prayer of Intercession by Faye Wilson and Mark Miller, Lenten Study Session, General Commission on Religion and Race, https://www.r2hub.org/library/lenten-study-1-child-of-god.
JUNE 26, 2023
Forgiveness Day? God of grace and God of glory, I don’t know who chose this day for Forgiveness Day, nor whether anyone else acknowledges such a “holiday” in our busy calendars. But if there was a day that we needed right now, Forgiveness Day might be at the top of the list. Jesus put forgiveness in the center of the prayer we recite. We aren’t, as you know, very good at it, this forgiveness thing. Giving it or receiving it. There is in forgiveness an implied humility that seems far from our cultural ethos these days.
So, help us. Help us lean into forgiveness to begin to break down the barriers between us. Help us humble ourselves so that we can learn to see ourselves as others see us, as you see us. Help us worry less about rights and more about healing what has been and continues to be broken in our society and our lives. Help us seek reconciliation between brothers and sisters, those like us and those unlike us, so that we can learn to work toward justice and equity in all things.
In Christ’s name. Amen.
Derek Weber, June 2023
JUNE 27, 2023
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. Amen!
From “A Prayer Service of Lament for Race & Injustice, First Friends Church, Indianapolis, IN (6/7/20), https://www.indyfriends.org/messages/2020/6/9/6-7-20-a-prayer-service-of-lament-for-race-amp-injustice.
JUNE 28, 2023
O God, we offer our thanks to thee for sending thy only Son…
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…
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 a Bantu Pastor, from the Oxford Book of Prayer cited in “Prayers and Reflections for Juneteenth” compiled by Ellie Hutchison Cervantes (June 13, 2023), Justice Revival, https://justicerevival.org/juneteenth-prayers-reflections.
JUNE 29, 2023
Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image. Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression. Help us, like those of generations before us, resist the evil of slavery and human bondage in any form and any manner of oppression. Help us to use our freedoms to bring justice among people and nations everywhere, to the glory of your Holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Episcopal Formation in the Bay Area cited in “Prayers and Reflections for Juneteenth” compiled by Ellie Hutchison Cervantes (June 13, 2023), Justice Revival, https://justicerevival.org/juneteenth-prayers-reflections.
JUNE 30, 2023
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the Human Family (Book of Common Prayer, p. 815) cited in “Dismantling Racism Resources.” St. Titus’ Episcopal Church, Durham, NC, https://sttitusdurham.org/resources-for-dismantling-racism.