Home Worship Planning Preaching Resources Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (January-March 2023)

Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (January-March 2023)

JANUARY 2, 2022

Lord, you do not show partiality, and love all your children so much that you sent the Redeemer into our world to forgive sins and grant us the blessing of eternal life. Yet, human courts issuing unjust laws continue to fail us and sustain injustice. So, we appeal to you, the Chief Justice of the high courts of heaven, to rule from heaven so that earth must respond to the social and racial justice that freedom and equality now demand. Thank you, God, for answering the fervent prayers of our ancestors, and our prayers, by responding to the marching feet of multi-generational and multi-racial protesters demanding a re-constituted America where “we the people” includes your children of every hue and background. In your powerful and precious name, we pray, Lord God. AMEN.

Excerpted from “A Prayer for Social and Racial Justice” (July 5, 2020) by Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, NCNW National Chaplain and President of Skinner Leadership Institute, https://www.barbarawilliams-skinner.com/post/a-prayer-for-social-and-racial-justice.

JANUARY 3, 2022

O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness, no thought of ours is left unnoticed, no desire or concern ignored. You have proven that blessings abound when we fall on our knees in prayer, and so we turn to you in our hour of need.

Surrounded by violence and cries for justice, we hear your voice telling us what is required, “Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mi 6:8). Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn, may be merciful to others.

Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism so that we may seek peace and justice in our communities. Strengthen our hearts so that they beat only to the rhythm of your holy will. Flood our path with your light as we walk humbly toward a future filled with encounter and unity.

Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts, for only by the prompting of your grace can we progress toward virtue. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

From Prayers for Racial Justice and Reconciliation, cited in “Racial Justice,” St. John the Evangelist, Roman Catholic Church, Columbia, MD, https://sjcolumbia.org/parish-ministries/racial-justice.

JANUARY 4, 2022

We pray, O Lord, for change.

Jesus, you revealed God through your wise words and loving deeds and we encounter you still today in the faces of those whom society has pushed to the margins.

Guide us, through the love you revealed, to establish the justice you proclaimed, that all peoples might dwell in harmony and peace, united by that one love that binds us to each other, and to you.

And most of all, Lord, change our routine worship and work into genuine encounter with you and our better selves so that our lives will be changed for the good of all. Amen

Prayer adapted from Racial Healing and Liturgical Resources, The Catholic Community of Ascension and St. Augustine, Elkridge, Maryland, https://ccasta.org/racial-justice-faith.

JANUARY 5, 2022

Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“A Prayer for the Oppressed” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 826) cited in “Our Commitment to Racial Justice, The Falls Church, An Episcopal Congregation, Falls Church, VA, https://www.thefallschurch.org/copy-of-the-community.

JANUARY 6, 2022

Like the magi from far away places, God who is revealed in surprising ways, we come to worship and to adore the one who calls us to new life. This day of Epiphany, may we truly learn to see you made manifest before us. May we see you in the faces of those familiar and those unfamiliar to us as we are shocked by our common humanity. May we see you in the lives of those like us and those unlike us as we are surprised by Emmanuel. May we see you in places we know well and in places where we feel like strangers in a strange land. May we see you in lines crossed and in barriers removed and in justice awarded. May we see you in hands that have seen hard labor and in eyes that have seen sorrow, in backs bearing scars of oppression and abuse, in tears of suffering and the frustration of poverty and neglect. May we see you in the needs of those around us, even as we see you in the mirrors we face before us. Because when we see you, God with us, we will worship, and we will work to build your kin-dom so that all can see what we see this Epiphany day. Let it be so. Amen.

Derek Weber, December 2022

JANUARY 9, 2023

Holy One,

In your image. You have created humankind, in great diversity. We give thanks for the differences—of cultures and ethnicities, of histories and life-stories, of skin colour and language and hearts that love the world.

We watch in horror as Power desecrates Black and Brown bodies; walks on their sacredness, kills and subjugates, in thousands of ways, hidden and overt. We must not stop at watching—held back from right action by our horror or seeming powerlessness.

Grant us hearts that listen and learn; egos that are willing to accept when our own racism is called out.

Grant us courage, to disassemble the systems, the stories, the mythos, that privilege whiteness over all others.

Give us your Holy Spirit’s wind to call out racism in all its forms—inside our hearts, inside the church, and in your world, give us the strength, the wisdom and the will to root out White Fragility, and White Supremacy, so that they would never again do harm, never again take away, never again kill.

Help us to be anti-racist, in all that we say, in all that we do, in all that we are. It is time. It is well past time.

God of all creation, bless us all with what we need, to march on. To live this work of anti-racism. Today. Every day. Always.

In Jesus’ name. May it be.

Anti-Racism Prayer by the Right Rev. Richard Bot posted on The United Church of Canada website, https://united-church.ca/prayers/anti-racism-prayer.

JANUARY 10, 2023

God,

You are the source of human dignity, and it is in your image that we are created.

Pour out on us the spirit of love and compassion.

Enable us to reverence each person, to reach out to anyone in need, to value and appreciate those who differ from us, to share the resources of our nation, to receive the gifts offered to us by people from other cultures.

Grant that we may always promote the justice and acceptance that ensures lasting peace and racial harmony.

Help us to remember that we are one world and one family.

Amen.

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council posted on “Racism Prayers,” Social Justice Resource Center, https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/prayers/racism.

JANUARY 11, 2023

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good,
O Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus, sung by Nina Simone.

Lord of transformation and new beginnings, a week and a half into a new year and our resolutions may be falling by the wayside. Not just the ones for better health or better work/life balance. But the real resolutions, the ones that change the world, the ones that speak of your kin-dom, the ones that lean into justice, and the ones that make for peace.

Some of us prayed the covenant prayer as we began this new year, where we said, “I am no longer my own, but thine.” Where we claimed to want to work with your Spirit and build the blessed community with our words and deeds and hopes and dreams. Our intentions are good. Let those around us not be confused by how we choose to live our lives each day. Let those around us see in us the things that make for peace. May our living not cause others to stumble; may we not be misunderstood. In Christ’s name

Derek Weber, January 2023

JANUARY 12, 2023

God of all creation, we give you thanks and praise because you are God. We give you thanks for this day and for the blessings in it.

As we lift our hearts to you, we know that you are already aware of all of the ways our world can feel unjust. We hope for a world where everyone is welcome. We hope for a world where justice flows.

As we seek to love our neighbors, help us to do so with empathy. Help us to consider what another person is feeling before we rush to judge. Give us humility, God, to see the world through the eyes of another. Give us wisdom and words, and even silence.

God, we lift up our leaders. We lift up those who govern our country and our state, that they will make wise choices for the well-being of all citizens. We pray for people all around the world who need to know of your love; God, give them people who can show your love to them.

As we gather together this day, we just ask that you bring peace to our hearts. We ask that your peace and hope grow in our world.

Amen

Prayer by Alyssum Power, MDiv student at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas.

JANUARY 13, 2023

Love Incarnate, Fountain of Righteousness and Justice, open our eyes to the suffering and despair of the Palestinian people facing oppression, discrimination and forceful uprooting from their native land. Lord, in mercy….

Hear our prayer.

God of power and might, give us the courage and will to change systems and mentalities that perpetuate apartheid and injustice, for the sake of your Son our Lord. Lord, in mercy….

Hear our prayer.

God of peace, give us a lasting spirit of solidarity with brothers and sisters seeking refuge and safer lives in our nations. Enable us to reverence each of them, to reach out to their needs, and to value and appreciate their human dignity. Lord, in mercy….

Hear our prayer.

Grant us, O Lord, that we may promote the justice and fair treatment of migrant workers in the Middle East and all over the world. Open our eyes to their unique contributions and gifts and help us remember that we are all passing visitors on this earth. Lord, in mercy….

Hear our prayer.

Lord, empower us Church leaders as they minister your Word with boldness, leading your faithful to the richness of your Love. May the Church turn to your Word and let it speak to the issues of justice, anti-racism, anti-discrimination and common humanity for which we all cry out. Lord, in mercy….

Hear our prayer.

“Middle East Regional Prayer, UN International Day Against Racism” (March 21, 2022), World Council of Churches, https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/prayers/middle-east-regional-prayer-un-international-day-against-racism-march-21-2022.

JANUARY 16, 2023

God of the word of comfort and the word of challenge,

Today is the day we honor a pastor and prophet, a tireless campaigner for civil rights and the conscience of the nation, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We give you thanks that you raised up such a witness for the beloved community and gave him words and deeds that still stir many and fill us with hope, even as our eyes are opened to the truth of lingering injustice. Help us honor his memory, not by simply paying lip service or by quoting lines often taken out of context; but let us listen more deeply to the plea he and those who stood with him and the Christ who anointed him that we may work for justice in small ways and in large, in daily human relationships and encounters and in systemic changes that lift up those who have been pushed down and recenter those who have been pushed to the margins.

May we give honor to Dr. King by acknowledging there is still much work to be done and then set about doing it, inside our own hearts and communities as well as in a wider world. Let justice roll down. Amen.

Derek Weber, January 2023

JANUARY 17, 2023

Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ, who took human form and broke down the walls that divide;

We seek your forgiveness for not living out the truth that all are one in Christ, for the sin of racism. We pray for all those affected by the marginalisation of prejudice and the violence of racist words and actions. We pray that we might uproot its cancerous and systemic hold on our own institutions. We pray that we might recognise in reverence your divine image and likeness in our neighbour, and find joy in the resemblance.

We pray in your name and seeking your glory. Amen.

A prayer written by Archbishop Justin Welby and Dr Sanjee Perera, Archbishops' Adviser on Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, for Racial Justice Sunday (2-13-2021), https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/news-and-statements/prayer-racial-justice-sunday.

JANUARY 18, 2023

Compassionate and Gracious Creator Spirit, you breathe life into all of creation.

In you, we live and have our breath.

Breathe into us, as we breathe together in the stillness of our hearts.

Breathe with us, as members of a shared family and community, created in your loving image.

By your breath, re-create us as one family and community, rich in diversity, rooted in love, filled with respect for one another.

By your breath, fill our conversations with thoughts of peace and inspire our actions with deeds of justice.

Breath of life, hold us in your heart, where we can all breathe together as one.

Breath of love, heal us all – black, white, brown; women and men; young and old, whom you have quickened into life by your loving breath.

Breath of hope, empower us to re-create our world with your light, love, and life.

Compassionate and Gracious Creator Spirit, breathe in us, now and for life.

Amen.

“ A Prayer for Racial Justice,” Adapted from a prayer by Sister Anne Arabome, SSS, associate director of Faber Center for Ignatian Spirituality, https://www.marquette.edu/faith/a-prayer-for-racial-justice.php.

JANUARY 19, 2023

God of mercy and compassion, we bring forth into your presence all the communities that are experiencing segregation, discrimination and oppression based on caste, class, creed, colour and gender both in the church [and] in the society. It is your death on the cross that has put an end to all enmity by breaking down the walls that separate us. We ask you to empower us, O Lord, to tear down the fences of hatred and indifference. Liberate us from the bonds of pride and self-seeking. Enable and strengthen us to overcome our prejudices and fears. Grant us your courage to open ourselves to others, so that we may continue to live in solidarity with the oppressed communities. Amen.

A Prayer of Solidarity, National Council of Churches in India, Dalit Liberation Sunday 2009, https://ctbi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/RJS-2010-Prayer-suggestions.pdf, page 2.

JANUARY 20, 2023

O God,

We confess that the sin of racial hatred and prejudice distorts your divine plan for our human lives: You created us in divine likeness, diverse and beautiful: In every person, every race is your image.

But too often we fail to recognize your image in all: Forgive us.

You created us in divine freedom, to be free: In every decision, every choice is your possibility of justice.

But too often we fail to choose to advocate for your justice for all: Forgive us.

You created us for divine abundance, to tend and share: In every garden, every social structure is your seed of community.

But too often we fail to create that community which includes all and gives to all equal access to your abundant life: Forgive us.

Forgive us:
Open our eyes to distinguish good from evil
Open our hearts to desire good over evil
Strengthen our wills to choose good over evil,
So that we may create among us your beloved community.

Words of Assurance

Hear the good news: God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ forgives us and sets us free to live full human lives in community. We may go forth confident of the grace to see with new eyes beyond racial prejudice; to imagine with renewed fervor justice and mercy for all, and to create with a new will a community where all are given access to God’s abundant life.

Thanks be to God!

Prayer of Confession: Racial Justice Sunday, United Church of Christ, https://www.ucc.org/worship-way/worship_worship-ways_year-c_le_lent-prayer-of-confession.

JANUARY 23, 2023

For your household with its blessed diversity of races and ethnicities,
We give thanks, O God.

For your presence with those who suffer the pain of oppression because of racism,
We pray, O God.

For the courage and commitment of those who challenge injustice,
We give thanks, O God.

For your forgiveness for our denial and apathy when we have cooperated with powers of dominance and discrimination,
We pray, O God.

For ears to hear stereotyping in church and community, and the courage to name it,
We pray, O God.

For eyes to see exclusion in our lives and churches and for resolve to confront it,
We pray, O God.

For minds to address what the conscience knows,
We pray, O God.

For hearts freed of cynicism and despair and renewed with hope,
We pray, O God.

For faith that acts on the certainty of your love for us and on your desire that we honor our differences and live in harmony,
We pray, O God.

We pray in fellowship with those from this time and beyond time who have witnessed to your call to community. We covenant with you and each other to be your instruments of justice and reconciliation in this time and in this place. In the name of Christ, who is loving, just, and forgiving, we offer our prayer. Amen.

Mary S. Webber, Dismantling Racism: The Task of the People of God Leaders Manual (St. Louis: January, 1993); original, “Litany for Racial Justice” adapted by Ronice Branding, with permission. Taken from: Fulfilling the Dream, Ronice Branding, Chalice Press, 1995. Cited in “A Prayer for Justice and Reconciliation,” Seeing the Face of God in Each Other: Antiracism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church (2011), https://www.episcopalchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/02/antiracism_book-revise3.pdf, page 39.

JANUARY 24, 2023

God of Heaven and Earth, you created the one human family and endowed each person with great dignity. Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism.

Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight from our hearts, our communities, our social and civil institutions. Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbor so that we may work with you in healing our land from racial injustice.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

“Closing Prayer” from A Prayer Service for Racial Healing in Our Land, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, https://www.usccb.org/resources/prayer-service-racial-healing-our-land.

JANUARY 25, 2023

O Holy Spirit of comfort and eternal presence: spread over us, your weary and anxious people, your protective and reassuring wings, that we might be delivered from our fears of one another: that we might experience the exhilarating freedom of welcoming even strangers without defensiveness, hostility, or suspicion, but rather with openness, hospitality, and the expectation of friendship. In the Name of Jesus, who welcomes all. Amen.

“July—For Freedom from Fears,” A Year of Prayers to End Racism, Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, http://www.wvdiocese.org/pages/pdfs/AYearofPrayertoEndRacism.pdf, page 3.

JANUARY 26, 2023

Almighty God, our hearts cry out to you, joining the voices and hearts of all the marginalized, but especially our sisters and brothers of other races and nationalities. Help us to find ways to make a difference, not just while the crisis manages to capture the evening news, but for the long haul. Through Christ, we pray, amen.

Pastor Tobias, “Undoing Racism: Pray—Act, Repeat (A Pastoral Letter),” Redeemer Lutheran Church, New Paltz, NY, https://redeemernewpaltz.org/blog/undoing-racism-pray-act-repeat-a-pastoral-letter.

JANUARY 27, 2023

Holocaust Remembrance Day

It is safe to say that we are all tired of praying these prayers. Even we who have committed to this work of praying can sometimes grow weary of the daily task of reminding ourselves of this sinfulness that lies at the root of the human heart, that grows out of fear and suspicion, that blinds us to the beauty of the other and fosters a sense of superiority of self. We want to “check this off our lists” and declare it done while we move on to other things. And there are many other things for which we are moved to pray, O Lord of all of Life.

Yet, on this day, we are humbly reminded of the depths of this particular hatred and the shame of a world that turned away, refusing to see the ugly truth. So, on this Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us recommit ourselves to this task of praying for an end to racism and for the beginnings of your kin-dom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Amen and amen.

Derek Weber, January 2023

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