Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (July-September 2021)
JULY 1, 2021
Good and gracious God,
Who loves and delights in all people,
we stand in awe before You,
knowing that the spark of life within each person on earth is the spark of your divine life.
Differences among cultures and races are multicolored manifestations of Your Light.
May our hearts and minds be open to celebrate similarities and differences among our sisters and brothers.
We place our hopes for racial harmony in our committed action and in Your Presence in our Neighbor.
May all peoples live in Peace.
Sisters of Mercy, Prayer for the Elimination of Racism, https://www.sistersofmercy.org/resources/prayer-the-elimination-of-racism.
JULY 2, 2021
God, hear our prayer: May we participate in your act of redemption, trading in our partiality for a divine justice and solidarity with those oppressed.
Verse & Voice 06.17.21, Sojourners email, https://sojo.net/daily-wisdom/verse-and-voice-06172021.
JULY 5, 2021
This weekend, God of all the nations, we are dreaming patriot dreams. We are celebrating freedom and independence, and we are doing it as we do all things, loudly and to excess. That there are things to celebrate, things for which we need to be thankful to those who have gone before seems obvious to many. We give thanks for the glimpses of the good we can be and can do.
Yet there are many who do not celebrate this weekend. There are many who have been left out of the American Dream, who have been denied liberty and justice for all, from whom this nation’s “success” isn’t experienced as “nobleness,” as we sometimes sing on this national day. Ought there be confession and repentance instead of only loud and proud, explosive celebrations?
What has happened to that patriot dream, God who knows no borders, no divisions, no lesser or greater? What happened to the understanding that patriot is about community and not about self? What happened to the hope that one day our dreams will be folded into your dream and will then truly be undimmed by human tears?
We are dreaming patriot dreams, God who knows our hearts. Let us not hide from who we have been and continue to be, but instead resolve to live into the grace that you have shed. Continue to mend our every flaw and confirm our soul in self-control. May we be who we claim to be in policy and in action.
In the name of the one to whom we pledge true allegiance, Jesus Christ, our hope. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, June 2021
JULY 6, 2021
In the effort to dismantle racism, I understand that I struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of our family are inferior and others superior.
Create in me a new mind and heart that will enable me to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories.
Give me the grace and strength to rid myself of racial stereotypes that oppress some in my family while providing entitlements to others.
Help me to create a nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed people of color where we live, as well as those around the world.
Help me to heal your family making me one with you and empowered by your Holy Spirit.
Adapted by Debra Mooney, PhD from Pax Christi, https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/prayers-for-racial-justice-and-reconciliation.
JULY 7, 2021
O Holy God,
We come in confession for our resistance to difference.
We have neither loved ourselves nor our neighbors.
We have passed by those who are unfamiliar, overlooking need
due to busyness, discomfort, and fear.
We have held deep prejudices, unconscious and conscious,
against people who are not like us.
O Love Eternal, heal our pains and amend our faults.
Guide us in ways of disquiet and compassion,
that we might love you with all that we are,
that we might see your children as you do.
We pray in the name of Jesus,
our most beloved neighbor,
who cared for us even to the cross.
Sarah McCain, used in worship at West End United Methodist Church, Nashville, 6/27/21
JULY 8, 2021
A Prayer of A‐Woke‐ning
Oh gracious God…
…How could my thoughts have been so poisoned?
My brain must be rotting from the inside out.
…How could my feelings have been so fueled by anger and hate?
My heart must be so withered and tiny it lacks compassion.
…How could I have watched and done nothing amid so much abuse and injustice?
My eyes must be barely open, lacking focus, nearing blindness.
…How could I have spoken such cold words; that they freeze midair, tiny icicle daggers that pierce their intended recipient?
My tongue must be as forked as any serpent.
…How could I have heard such hateful rhetoric and stood idly by?
My ears must be deaf, clogged full with so much vile noise.
What a grotesque figure I became.
Only visible to the mirror in my mind’s eye, a monster stands before me.
Learning. Wanting. Knowing. Confessing. Seeking change. Growing. Forgiving.
I shed the skin that cloaked my sins.
Oh, the irony to shed that, which on others, I could not understand or accept.
Rejoicing in the metamorphosis.
Celebrating the differences.
No longer superior to my brothers and sisters of color.
No longer superior to anyone.
Only superior to my former self.
In your holy and precious name, we pray. Amen.
Roger White, Western Pennsylvania Conference of the UMC
JULY 9, 2021
I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind
Of such I dream, my world!
Langston Hughes, American poet, social activist, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri, https://allpoetry.com/I-Dream-A-World.
JULY 12, 2021
Help us to dissolve the barriers of race and work for a just society in which none are despised and discriminated against on the basis of false divisions of race and in which each is valued for their true humanity.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, who saw beyond all human divisions and reached out to the good within each person. Amen.
From the ecumenical service “Christians United Against Racism” at the World Conference Against Racism in 2001, in Prayers and Reflections on Racial Justice, compiled by Reverend Canon Cynthia Dowdle OBE and Ultan Russell, June 2020, 30, https://derby.anglican.org/en/our-mission/community-engagement/download/3407_5776d33c0f6c3234add51d79c44c250a.html.
JULY 13, 2021
One God, in Three Persons, creator of one human species, in many hues: all who pray to you are descendants of Adam and Eve, all members of one race called “human.”
Forgive the blindness that causes our eyes to notice and magnify those things we regard as different from ourselves in others. Teach us to see clearly, that we, your children, are far more alike than we are different. Help us to put aside the racial prejudices embedded within us, and to see within every person the Child of God you created, our sister or brother, destined for Glory. In the name of One who died for all persons, of all colors, Jesus Christ.
Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/prayers/racism/.
JULY 14, 2021
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. - Jeremiah 29:11 NRSV
Forgive me, Lord, but whose hope? Your prophet Jeremiah told your people a long time ago that you had plans for them. Plans that would keep them safe, plans that would build them up, plans that gave them a future with hope. Was that just then? Or is it now too? Was that just them, or is that us too? Was that about the return from exile all those years ago? If so, then well done; it happened, good work. We celebrate the God of history.
But it’s still in the book. We read it often. It’s on t-shirts and mugs; it hangs on my wall in beautiful calligraphy. Is that us too? Do you really have the whole world in your hands? Because it doesn’t always look that way. It looks like it is in our hands. And we’ve made a mess of it. We’ve drawn lines over it. We preferred some over others. We privileged a few at the expense of the many. Do you really have plans for us? Can we trust in a future with hope?
And whose hope? That’s my real question, Lord. Because I’m afraid if it is my hope, then it will be too self-centered to be a real hope. If it is the hope of “those in charge,” then it will likely favor the status quo. So, can it be your hope? Please? Can it be the hope of the broken, of the marginalized, the oppressed, and the hurting? Can it be the hope of those called less than human, less than real, the hope of the hungry, the frightened, the hopeless?
Whose hope shapes our future, O God who offers a kin-dom of justice and peace, of healing and wholeness, of equality and unity? Can it be your hope and not mine? In the name of the one who lived hope before us, Amen.
Derek C. Weber, July 2021
JULY 15, 2021
Almighty God, source of our life, we acknowledge you as Creator of all people of every race, language, and way of life. Help us to see each other as you see us: your sons and daughters loved into being and sustained by your parental care. Keep watch over our hearts so that the evil of racism will find no home with us. Direct our spirits to work for justice and peace so that all barriers to your grace which oppress our brothers and sisters will be removed. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Augustinian Secretariate for Justice and Peace and midwestaugustinians.org, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50e5979fe4b0d83d9231662c/t/58c3181dbf629a85334f8694/1489180701327/justpaxracepray.pdf. Used with permission.
JULY 16, 2021
Good and gracious God, through your Son’s words you commanded us to be lamps shining on a stand, not under a bowl or a bed. Grant that our words and actions be always an evident manifestation of your light. You promised to those who hunger and thirst for justice that they will be filled. Give us the strength to commit to personal change and discover our own biases, so that we can see everyone with the same eyes your Son saw all those around him. We want to create access for those who lack it and change structures of inequity. Strengthen us and be our refuge in this quest.
This we pray: AMEN
Opening Prayer in the Prayer service by Dr. Julio Quintero, Associate Director, University of Dayton Office of Diversity and Inclusion, https://udayton.edu/ministry/csc/advocacy/antiracism_prayers/fight-for-equity-justice.php.
JULY 19, 2021
Dear God, in our efforts to dismantle racism, we understand that we struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of the family are inferior and others superior.
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.
Written by the Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team, https://spsmw.org/prayer/prayer-dismantling-racism.
JULY 20, 2021
Lord, racism is a social sin that has taken root in the garden of our hearts. We need you to convert us, Lord, and purify our hearts, so that we can become agents of care, who walk by faith in justice, hope, love, healing and reconciliation for your greater glory.
It’s time to embrace our Black brothers and sisters, instead of standing by while they are continually killed by a tree we need to uproot.
Racism is sinful and harmful to your creation. Guard our hearts against it and move us forward to enact change.
An Examen for Racism, By Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ, https://www.jesuits.org/stories/an-examen-for-racism.
JULY 21, 2021
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
-Ephesians 3:16-17 NRSV
I don’t want to be impatient, Lord, but can you hurry up with the rooting? See, I notice that the word in Ephesians 3:17 is passive. We’re being rooted and grounded in love. Being strengthened. Being rooted. Being grounded. Is this a construction project you’ve got on your list somewhere? Is this an essential part of the infrastructure of the faith that we have left unattended for way too long?
When we imagine what our world might be like if we were rooted and grounded in love—rather than in rights, or privilege, or stuff, the stuff of this world that we think is going to save us—our minds reel with the image of that world. That rooted world, that grounded world. The divisions we see would melt away; the hate that is harbored in our hearts would dissipate. The justice we hold at arm’s length would become our passion and our hope. Equality, respect, dignity, would be a matter of course.
I don’t want to be impatient, Lord, but can you hurry up with the rooting? We’re in a mess right now; the foundation is cracking, and the ground is shaking. Can you hurry up and root us in love? It’s time to start construction on a new way of being. Let Christ dwell in our hearts because we’re rooted and grounded. I don’t want to be impatient. Amen.
Derek C. Weber, July 2021
JULY 22, 2021
Fountain of Mercy and Justice
In a world of inequity and pain
May our actions be our prayer.
We cry out for Shalom, fullness of life to all.
Let the Spirit of Truth guide us.
Let the Spirit of Love free us.
Give us the compassion, courage and resolve
to become the light we seek
that many may see life and their dignity restored
Inspire us to embody a world without injustice and prejudice
Form us into channels of your love and peace
Let the river of justice and mercy flood our imperfect world
Quenching the thirst of parched souls and lands.
Abide in us o Liberator that we become the Word
so that the world may have Life, Life in all its abundance.
Anti-Racism Taskforce, Church of England, 26 Feb. 2021, https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-releases/update-anti-racism-taskforce.
JULY 23, 2021
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
From Christ Church Anchorage, Weekly Prayers, https://www.christchurchanchorage.org/weekly%20prayers.pdf.