Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism
By Derek Weber
While the headlines may have receded, the sin of racism continues to be seen and felt on both individual and systemic levels. Dismantling racism is not a short-term task but a lifelong moving forward to perfection in love—to use founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley’s words. Therefore, Discipleship Ministries and other agencies and bodies of The United Methodist Church will continue to provide resources and guidance on how to become anti-racist individuals and churches. Please seek out the help you need to maintain your efforts to transform your community into an anti-racist fellowship.
The Worship Team of Discipleship Ministries believes, however, that such a change will not happen unless the whole process is bathed in prayer every step along the way. To that end, we will continue to provide daily prayers to help keep us all centered on the ongoing journey of transformation. From Monday through Friday, a new prayer will be posted here for your use as personal devotion, to share in your small group, or for use in corporate worship.
If you wish to receive these prayers each day in your email, the process for signing up is outlined below. If you would like to submit a prayer for anti-racism, click here to contact us. Join with us in this season of prayer and change in our denomination and beyond.
October 7, 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 Healing, Catholic Charities USA (May 13, 2021), https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/prayers_reflections/prayer-for-racial-healing/.
October 6, 2022
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 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.
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.
October 5, 2022
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:
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:
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:
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!
Excerpted from “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/.
October 4, 2022
On this feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, may our praise rise up for Brother Sun and Sister Moon and all the gifts of your creation, Loving God. May our care for all that is reflect our love for you and our gratitude for a world so wondrously made. May we too have the grace to see you in the beauty of that which surrounds us every day.
Not just the flowers and trees, the animals and birds, and all the creatures of this earth, but may we see you in the glorious diversity of your human creation. May we sing a joyous song of praise at the variety of color and language and culture that surrounds us in this increasingly interwoven world in which we live. May we learn to give honor to those who are different and embrace them with enthusiasm and grace as we hope for a kin-dom creation in which your imagio radiates forth from each and from all.
In Christ’s name, we pray, amen.
Derek Weber, September 2022
October 3, 2022
God and Father of all, in your love you made all the nations of the world to be a family, and your Son taught us to love one another. Yet our world is riven apart with prejudice, arrogance, and pride.
Help the different races to love and understand one another better. Increase among us sympathy, tolerance, and goodwill, that we may learn to appreciate the gifts that other races bring to us, and to see in all people our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died.
Save us from jealousy, hatred, and fear, and help us to live together as members of one family at home in the world, sons and daughters of one Father who live in the liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, (Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press, 1994) cited on “Prayers for Racial Harmony,” Faithward, https://www.faithward.org/prayers-for-racial-harmony/.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.