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

Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism (July-September 2022)

JULY 1, 2022

Christ Jesus, you were a victim of injustice, condemned by those who had the power to save you and ignored by those who might have spoken up on your behalf. Embolden us to use the opportunities we have to speak out against the injustices around us, knowing that you desire justice for all God’s people. Amen.

From “Stations of the Cross: Overcoming Racism, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, https://www.stlukesatlanta.org/uploads/images/stations-of-the-cross--overcoming-racism-final_652.pdf, 3.

JULY 4, 2022

O say, can you see
By the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hail'd
At the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars
Through the perilous fight
O'er the ramparts we watch'd
Were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the brave?

Poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry” by Francis Scott Key, Tune by John Stafford Smith

In the USA, we sing of a flag on this day of independence, God to whom we owe allegiance. With a tear in our heart and lump in our throat, we sing, believing ourselves to be “the best,” a shining example of liberty and freedom in a world of tyranny and oppression.

But what will we proudly hail on this day of celebration? Can we open our eyes to the good we have done as a nation, only to close them against the failings and injustice within? Can we be proud of what we have achieved and what we have produced, without acknowledging the unequal distribution of justice and wealth? For that is what some would have us do, look only to the good and ignore the sin in our midst.

Maybe we should ask it the other way, Lord of grace and of justice. Does admitting our fault mean we are “hating our country,” as some would allege? Does confessing our sin lead only to dissolution and destruction? Or is that we can only heal, we can only grow, we can only be the land of the free and the home of the brave when we admit we have committed grievous sins for which we must repent?

Help us, God of all nations, be humble and proud at once. Help us treasure freedom for all enough to work for justice for all. Help us be who we dream we are. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Derek Weber, June 2022

JULY 5, 2022

God of all, at the beginnings of creation – out of nothing you separated the waters from the sky; as your children, we have been nourished by your waters in our baptism; indeed, your entire creation is given new life and hope through your life-giving waters.

May the waters of your justice flow as we move forward in faith with you. May the waters of your hope embrace us on our journey towards justice. May the waters of your justice sustain us, keep us, encourage us and lead us. May we be given sustenance, strength and hope to create new pathways for your justice to flow.

Amen

Lauren J. Wrightsman, Senior Pastor, Roseville Lutheran Church, Roseville, MN, https://www.rosevillelutheran.org/justice/.

JULY 6, 2022

Let us open our hearts, still our minds and enter a time of prayer.

Let us call forth and hold in our hearts the stories of all who have come before us, the memories of those who are with us today, and the hope for tomorrow and for all of those who will come after us.

Let us be thankful for this opportunity for healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, while knowing that we can never, should never, forget what has brought us here today.

Let us be glad that voice has not only been given to those whose sorrow and pain were their companions in this faith, but that the stories told by those voices have been received with a goal of redemption and understanding.

Let us call upon that light which shines in each of us to give us the strength to walk together into the future and do the work that is necessary, and which does not end here today.

Let us have the wisdom to lovingly have the conversations we need to have with each other, that we must have with each other, in order to grow this faith in radical love and inclusion.

Amen.

Rev. Viola Abbitt, minister at Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists in Virginia Beach, VA., https://www.uua.org/worship/words/prayer/promise-and-practice-pastoral-prayer-2.

JULY 7, 2022

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

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

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

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.

Purify our hearts and tame our tongues, we pray;

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

In the name of Jesus, Our Lord…

All: Amen

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

JULY 8, 2022

Hear our prayers, Holy God. Breathe your Spirit over us and all the earth, that barriers would crumble and divisions cease. Make us more fully your co-healers of the broken world. Unite us with all people in bonds of love, that the whole earth and all its peoples may be at peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Concluding Collect, Prayers of the People for Racial Reconciliation, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, https://indydio.org/2019/02/prayers-of-the-people-for-racial-reconciliation-created-by-standing-commission-on-liturgy-and-music-subcommittee-on-racial-reconciliation/.

JULY 11, 2022

Father, your children are crying.
Where there is brokenness, mend our hearts.
Where there is confusion, enlighten our minds.
Where there is despair, ignite our spirits.
Where there is chaos, grant us your peace.

Father, your children are hurting.
Where there is suffering, give us true healing.
Where there is indifference to the pain of others, fill our hearts with empathy.
Where there is fear, replace it with your love.

Father, your children are dying.
Where there is darkness, lead us to your light.
Where there is oppression, grant us freedom.
Where there is death, take us to your Resurrection.

Father, you breathed dignity and worth into every human life.
Each of us is uniquely made, so that we may come to know love in different ways.
Help us to love one another, the way you call us to love.
Help us to act righteously to one another, the way you meant us to act.
Help us to see each other, the way you created us to see.
Help us to be more like Christ, the way you called us to be.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

From the video “Together We Pray,” Salt and Light TV, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, https://slmedia.org/blog/together-we-pray-blacklivesmatter.

JULY 12, 2022

God of Mercy:
We’ve lived in darkness, craving your light;
We’ve known fear and now seek your solace;
We’ve seen human life wasted by ignorance;
We’ve felt our weakness and need your strength.

God of Justice:
We’ve lived with conflict, anger, and division long enough;
We’ve known too much violence and hatred;
We’ve seen human dignity suffer at the hands of intolerance;
We’ve felt our trust in one another break or erode.

(Spoken or Sung) Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy).

God of Diversity:
So much of life has been altered in recent years;
Clarity has been replaced by confusion;
We have been slow to adapt to change;
What had been reliable has turned to dust.

God of Compassion:
We acknowledge our grief and seek your healing;
We know our isolation and long for your companionship;
We are overwhelmed by the intersection of issues;
We admit our impatience and need your understanding.

(Spoken or Sung) Christie eleison (Christ, have mercy).

God of Peace:
Teach us the wisdom that lives in your heart;
Show us the pathway to lasting wholeness;
Plant the seeds of reconciliation among us;
Guide us to restoration born of forgiveness.

God of Hope:
Send the wind and flame of your Spirit to refresh our soul;
Bring your hand to calm every storm of despair within us;
Help us to be intentional with our choices;
Let us stand in the presence of your steadfast love forever.

(Spoken or Sung) Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy).

George R. Crisp, Order of St. Luke, June 1, 2022

JULY 13, 2022

“Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, written by Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward & George Gershwin. Summertime lyrics © Universal Music.

It is summertime, eternal God of ever-changing seasons; and for some, the living is easy. But not for many these days. Threats are jumping and prices are high, corporations are rich, and our future ain’t good-looking. There’s plenty to complain about, and complain we do. We’re prickly, overheated, and too wrapped up in our dissatisfaction to see anything good around us.

That’s our prayer this summertime, Lord, a prayer for holding on to hope—to believe that one day we will rise up singing; that one day, this life we live day-by-day will be a life fit for the sky, fit for the kin-dom of God. And that those who are pushed aside, who are knocked down, who are hated and hunted because of the color of their skin or their country of origin or their method of praying to you will spread their wings and fly, as you intended us all to fly.

Help us hope this long hot summer to not succumb to violence and hate but to lean into the possibilities within us all, the gifts you have given, the grace between us, and realize that there is nothing that can harm us, when you, our father and mother, stand with us, and we stand with you. Help us hope. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Derek Weber, July 2022

JULY 14, 2022

Righteous Savior, I pray against the pain left behind by racism, bigotry, hatred, stereotyping and prejudice. I pray that those who are still hurting from these sins are healed by the presence of Your overwhelming peace and love. Lord, help us to not hate one another, because anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. So, Father, remove the pain that is associated with these memories. Let the experiences of racism, judgment and exclusion strengthen those who have been affected by it. Let their hearts be filled with peace. This we pray, Amen.

“Prayer for People Hurting from Racism,” 7 Strong Prayers for Racial Healing, April 23, 2019, ConnectUS, https://connectusfund.org/7-strong-prayers-for-racial-healing.

JULY 15, 2022

Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I heard stories of pain, of oppression and racism, and simply walked away. My sympathy in the moment was far too insufficient. You have shown me what You require of me. You want me to do, to love, to walk—these are actions I’m to take, Lord.

I know true, godly passion can only come from You, so draw me continually into Your embrace. Help me to love what You love and fight against what you fight. Most importantly, help me to make the most of every moment, to engage in this holy battle for freedom against oppression.

Jennifer Slattery, “30 Day Prayer Challenge for Ending Racism,” iBelieve.com (June 15, 2020),Salem Web Services, https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/day-anti-racism-prayer-challenge.html.

JULY 18, 2022

God, we are stunned and deeply troubled by the killings that occurred last week, and every week, all across our country. We lift prayers to you, asking that your Spirit intercede for us and for this world…

We pray that your Church does not become polarized any more than it already is in this moment – may the Church proclaim, with words and with action, both that black lives matter and that acts of violence against public servants are wrong.

May our community and the greater Church vocalize God’s definitive “NO” to the murder of black lives. May all of us be awakened and stand alongside the black community, willing to lay aside confusion and questions and to proclaim that this epidemic of police violence must be addressed. May privilege and power be used as a means to raise awareness and demand justice. May leaders feel pressure from all who live in their communities—white, brown, black—and respond with plans to stop the destruction of black bodies.

We lift in prayer the police officers who must show up for work today, who are doing a dangerous job for too little pay, who are personally blamed for the failure of the whole system. Give them wisdom and strength as those whom we rely on to maintain composure, fairness, and a commitment to the common good. Come alongside them, Lord. Grant them protection and empower them to serve justly.

We pray for healing in communities that carry the weight of generations of broken-down relationships between law enforcement and the people they are called to serve. We lament our history of racism and pray for love in the face of violence.

May your Church and our community be afflicted in its core again for this sign of a deep sickness in our communities.

May we listen to the prophetic voices speaking truth and pleading for action.

May our prayers find footing, that we might live lives that are answers to our prayers for peace and justice.

Amen.

Adapted from a prayer by Indianapolis First Friends, “Prayer for Racial Justice” by Jason Feffer, August 25, 2020, https://www.practicetribe.com/uncategorized/prayer-for-racial-justice.

JULY 19, 2022

Wake me up Lord, so that the evil of racism finds no home within me.

Keep watch over my heart Lord, and remove from me any barriers to your grace, that may oppress and offend my brothers and sisters.

Fill my spirit Lord, so that I may give services of justice and peace.

Clear my mind Lord, and use it for your glory.

And finally, remind us Lord that you said, "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."

Amen.

from “For the Love of One Another” (1989), a special message from the Bishops' Committee on Black Catholics of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the Pastoral Letter, Brothers and Sisters to Us, the U.S. Catholic bishops' Pastoral Letter on Racism (1979). https://www.usccb.org/resources/prayer-service-racial-healing-our-land.

JULY 20, 2022

"Now therefore revere the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." - Joshua 24:14-15 NRSV

“Racism is a choice.” That’s what my interlocutor stated with righteous confidence, Lord. A choice. A choice that we could un-choose. A choice born out of the hate that resides in a heart. A choice that grows from the seed of fear cast by others who have made such a choice. That’s all, just a choice. So, God of justice and peace, tell us to stop making this choice! For heaven’s sake, for your children’s sake, make us stop.

Your servant Joshua stood before the people of God and offered a choice. Choose this day, he declared in that oh-so-quotable way. And they all said, “We choose God! We choose right. We choose justice!” They chose. And the story ended there, right? All was well with the people of God from that moment on. Wasn’t it?

Maybe there is more involved than our choices. Paul wrestled with his choices and found himself doing that which he didn’t choose. Maybe we’re all wrapped up in things bigger than we can see. Maybe we are struggling against powers, systems, habits, and structures that help us bend in an unchosen direction.

The truth is, we aren’t so good at choosing. That is why we need a savior. Yes, we need to choose. We need to choose to see one another the way you see us; as precious children of God in all our wild diversity and rainbow variety; we need to choose. Choose whom we will follow. Help us choose, especially we need to choose against our inclinations. Help us choose you and the kin-dom you invite us into. Help us choose. Amen.

Derek Weber, July 2022

JULY 21, 2022

Gracious God, we thank you for making one human family of all the peoples of the earth and for creating all the wonderful diversity of cultures. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship and show us your presence in those who differ most from us.

Lord, set us free from the bondage of racism that denies the humanity of every human being and the prejudices within us that deny the dignity of those who are oppressed. Today we ask your forgiveness for the part we have played.

Lord, forgive us when we do not fully love our neighbor as ourselves.

Lord, forgive us when we fail to recognize your image in all.

Lord, forgive us when we see injustice and don’t act or speak up.

Lord, forgive our valuing a false peace over a righteous justice.

Lord, forgive us when we use words and phrases that are racially demeaning. Forgive us when we use stereotypes or implicit bias to judge others.

Lord, forgive our self-defense that keeps us from humble learning and grace-filled conversation.

Lord, forgive our pride.

Lord, forgive us when we speak too quickly with clichés and easy answers. Forgive us when we stay silent out of fear. Help us when we stumble.

O God, call us into a deeper relationship to be your church for the sake of the world. Help us to see with new eyes the injustices within church and society. Call us to have a loving heart that respects and uplifts the humanity and dignity of every person; open our ears to listen to and learn from the experiences of people of color. Open our mouths to speak up and about injustices. Join us with others to work for racial equity and inclusion for all people. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

“Forgive Us” litany by Summit Avenue Presbyterian Social Justice Book Club Members, Bremerton, WA, http://www.summitave.net/prayers.

JULY 22, 2022

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, Public Domain, https://www.creativecommonsprayer.com/vocations/parents-breaking-white-silence.

JULY 25, 2022

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“Prayer for Social Justice,” Book of Common Prayer, 823, Episcopal Church, https://www.episcopalct.org/category/prayers.

JULY 26, 2022

O Lord, hear our cry! Grant us the heart to weep with those who weep. Give us empathy and understanding. Create trust where there is pain. Give us courage to stand with those who suffer and to seek justice for the oppressed. Give us grace to persevere, to repent, to forgive, and to love. Make your church the repentant, reconciled, and united people you call us to be. Holy Spirit, be our help!

Excepted from Prayers of the People, Third Church, Henrico, VA, https://www.thirdrva.org/blog/june-1-prayers-of-the-people.

JULY 27, 2022

Lord, our baptismal covenant calls us to strive for justice and peace, and you know how costly that work can be. Bless those called to the holy work of justice – of protest and public policy, of advocacy and organizing, of reconciliation and listening. Send them partners to help shoulder the burdens, so that justice may grow and spread from the heart of community. Sustain them when they are weary. Inspire them when their hearts can no longer imagine your Kingdom because they see a world that doesn’t seem to want your justice. Help them to know that when they are speaking for those whom the world has silenced, they are speaking for you. That when they stand up for those whom the world has cast aside, they are standing up for you. That when they advocate for health care, or to heal your creation, they are binding up your wounds. And finally, help them to know that although they may never see the fruits of their labor, their acts of love ripple through time, and will one day be heard as the sound of justice rolling down like waters. Amen.

“A Blessing for Those Who Strive for Justice” by Rev. Gini Gerbasi, Movement Prayers, https://www.movementprayers.com/post/a-blessing-for-those-who-strive-for-justice.

JULY 28, 2022

In 1866, the U.S. Congress passed the Army Organization Act. This law allowed black Americans to enlist in the military and fight for our country. The army formed a military unit comprised of Black Americans. It included black soldiers who fought for the Union army in the Civil War, ex-slaves, and freemen. They served with pride and distinguished themselves for their bravery and fearlessness. These ferocious warriors served in the 9th and 10th Cavalry, as well as in other units. They fought in the Indian Wars and distinguished themselves. Native Americans feared them and nicknamed them Buffalo Soldiers. It is believed that either the Cheyenne or Comanche gave them this nickname for their fierce and fearless performance in the wars. While their performance on the battlefield was remarkable, they suffered from racism. In 1992, Congress passed a law proclaiming July 28 as Buffalo Soldiers Day.

https://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/July/buffalo-soldiers-day.htm

I cannot imagine, God of all possibilities, fighting for and dying for a nation that had enslaved me. I cannot imagine the bravery and sense of duty and commitment that would bring these men to continue to bring honor to their names despite being surrounded by abuse and rejection and hate. We humbly bow before the witness of the Buffalo Soldiers on this day; and all who wear the uniform of a nation that doesn’t respect them as it should.

What does it take to be able to see a larger vision, a new possibility, an advance of justice and of peace in a time of injustice and conflict? What does it take to work for reconciliation and for equality even when some in power see no need for such things? How can we continue to move forward when the cost of doing so seems to rise day by day?

Give us the grace and tenacity of the Buffalo Soldiers, Lord God of us all, that we might continue to strive for peace and for justice. Amen.

Derek Weber, July 2022

JULY 29, 2022

God of healthy disagreements, God of principled stands: we need not have the same mind to sit around the same table. We need not share precise beliefs to fit within a home. We need not speak the same dialect to be part of a loving family. And we need not see the world the same to know it’s big enough for all. As we hold firm to what we know is right, may we honor the ground where others stand, so that more of the earth, and more of our imagination, may be hallowed in your name. Amen

“Prayers and Witnessing Peace and Justice” (Oct.6, 2020, Christ Church, Coronado, https://www.christchurchcoronado.org/blog/prayers-and-witnessing-peace-and-justice/.

AUGUST 1, 2022

Oh Lord, let your light shine in people’s hearts that the false philosophy that one nation is superior than the other becomes disqualified, Lord, help us to bend our knees, to kneel and bow before The King of Glory, and to pray that the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will melt people’s hearts and disperse hatred and prejudice, and impress upon them the truth that ALL PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL without exception!

Archbishop Costakis Evangelou, International President, Ixthus Church Council cited on “Prayers for Racial Justice” (May 8, 2021), Free Churches Group website, https://www.freechurches.org.uk/news/2021/5/28/prayers-for-racial-justice.

AUGUST 2, 2022

Merciful God, we pray for a world in which the lowly are lifted up, as we remember the children of minority ethnic communities living with stigma and racism navigating institutions who judge them. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

Deliver us from the fear and suspicion that separate us from each other and place limits on hope and healing. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

We pray on this day for Christians and for people of goodwill that we will stand for the rights of all human beings regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, colour and gender. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

We pray for your courage and wisdom in the fight against the policing of conversations about systemic racism that limit the depth of dialogue, understanding and attempts to diminish and dismiss truthful conversations. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

May each of us may acknowledge our part in mistakes and sins of the past pertaining to discrimination and racism and may a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation exist among peoples who share a history of mutual mistrust, hatred or aggression. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

May all victims of racial prejudice be recipients of your abundant grace and love so that they may forgive those who persecute them, and may their persecutors have a change of heart, even as all people seek to work for justice, peace and reconciliation. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

Excerpted from Intercessory Prayers in the Global Prayer UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, World Council of Churches, https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/prayers/global-prayer-un-international-day-for-the-elimination-of-racial-discrimination.

AUGUST 3, 2022

God our Maker

You call us here to worship You together. To bear witness to Your creativity seen, heard and found in all who gather. We are all Your children, bearing Your divine image, shaped by Your imagination and breath.

You have gifted us
with the beauty of difference
the blessing of diversity
the pleasure of individuality
and the bond of love and peace.

The Church of Scotland, Worship Resources for Racial Justice Sunday, https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/worship/weekly-worship/monthly/february-2022/13-february-6th-sunday-after-epiphany-racial-justice-sunday#prayers.

AUGUST 4, 2022

“The most segregated hour in America.” That’s what the worship hour has been named, Lord who calls us to gather for worship week after week. Dr. King, Malcolm X, and so many others have been quoted as making that declaration. Most often, the ones excluded, driven out, forced to worship “with your own kind.” That’s how I heard it said to a beautiful young black mother who dared to come and worship in my dad’s church when I was a child. They might have even thought they were doing her a favor, trying to bring her the comfort of others like her when she gathered at the throne of glory. They might have even thought she wouldn’t be happy in this church; “It wasn’t her kind,” they said.

Lord of all people, what is our kind when we gather for worship? Sinners in need of redeeming? Hurting in need of healing? Hungry in need of feeding? Broken in need of grace? What is our kind, O God who made all of us?

Have we come very far since those days? Do we self-segregate so that we’ll feel more comfortable? I thought of that young mother as I worshiped in an unfamiliar yet welcoming church recently. A cooperative parish, they called it, a unity service of all the churches belonging together. Three churches were African American, and one was Euro-American. But not everyone came; one group was conspicuous by its absence. They preferred their own kind, it seemed.

Christ, have mercy on all kinds. Amen.

Derek Weber, July 2022

AUGUST 5, 2022

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

Prayer for Racial Justice (June 23, 2020), Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center, Marriottsville, MD, https://rccbonsecours.com/2020/06/23/prayer-for-racial-justice.

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