Prayers for Racial Healing, Repentance and Justice
Prayer of Lament
Holy God, a cloud of grief hangs heavy over our heads and we feel like we cannot breathe, so give us the strength to pray. We raise our hands toward the sky and we lift our eyes to the hills which is where our help comes from. Lord, when the names of people who have been choked, shot and assaulted is too many to count we know that not one soul has been forgotten by mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, cousins and friends. They remember…
…laughs and smiles,
…dreams and struggles,
…talents and personalities.
Now these men and women are gone. Father, how long must we listen to the cries and screams as blood stains the sidewalk? How many videos must we watch before we begin to see a change?
Help us, God. Help us. Help the people of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. Help Baton Rouge, LA. Help Louisville, Help Georgia. Help our nation. Help us examine ourselves. Help those of us who are sad and angry not to let these deaths be in vain. We do not pray for vengeance, but we do thirst for justice. We hope for healing between neighbors and officers called to protect and serve. We long for the day when young men will live long enough to be old men and parents will not have to say ‘good-bye’ too soon.
My hope is in you, God. Deliver me from all my fears. O God, come quickly to help us. O Lord, come quickly to save us. In the name of the one who came that we might have life and have life more abundantly. Amen.
Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Collect for Social Justice, Book of Common Prayer
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. Amen.
Used with permission. For more information about Pax Christi or to order copies of this prayer, visit the Pax Christi web store.
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 violence, 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.
A Prayer Against Violence
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that through your death on the cross you disarmed the powers of evil.
Help us, we pray you, to enter into your victory and to stand in your authority against all evil.
Send forth your light and your truth, O Lord.
Bring to light the deeds of darkness and let plans of violence and murder be revealed.
By the power of your Holy Spirit convict those who have allowed their minds to be dominated by evil.
Lead them, O Lord, to true repentance that they may receive your new life and rejoice in your forgiving love. Amen.
Cecil Kerr, Christian Renewal Centre, Rostrevor
Prayer for the Victims of Violence
Loving God, you are the author and sustainer of our lives. You know the anguish of the sorrowful, you are attentive to the prayers of the brokenhearted. Hear your people who cry out to you in their need; strengthen their hope in your lasting goodness.
We pray today for those who have died because of violence, of terrorism (especially George Floyd this day). Draw them to yourself; let your face shine upon them. May they be greeted with choirs of angels and experience your eternal peace and joy.
Be near to all those who have been touched by violence: those who have been hurt, lost their loved ones or lost their sense of security. Be for them a steady comfort and safe resting place.
Soften the hearts and steady of the minds of those who would do violence to others. May hate be replaced with love, violence with peace and darkness with your light. Amen.
we dream of a world free of poverty and oppression,
and we yearn for a world free of vengeance and violence.
we pray for your peace.
When our hearts ache for the victims of war, [racial violence] and oppression, help us to remember that you healed people simply by touching them, and give us faith in our ability to comfort and heal bodies and minds and spirits that have been broken by violence.
When the injustice of this world seems too much for us to handle,
help us to remember that you fed five thousand people
with only five loaves of bread and two fish…,
and give us hope that what we have to offer will turn out to be enough, too.
When fear of the power and opinions of others
tempts us not to speak up for the least among us,
help us to remember that you dared to turn over the tables of money changers, and give us the courage to risk following you without counting the cost.
When we feel ourselves fill with anger at those who are violent and oppressive, help us remember that you prayed for those who killed you, and give us compassion for our enemies, too.
When we tell ourselves that we have given all we can to bring peace to this world,
help us to remember your sacrifice… ,
and give us the miracle of losing a little more of ourselves
in serving you and our neighbors.
Walk with us, Lord, as we answer your call to be peacemakers.
Increase our compassion, our generosity and our hospitality for the least of your children.
Give us the courage, the patience, the serenity, the self-honesty and the gentleness of spirit that are needed in a world filled with turmoil and terror. Amen.
written by Jack Knox, pastor of Salem (Oregon) Mennonite Church
Almighty, all-merciful God,
through Christ Jesus you have taught us to love one another,
to love our neighbors as ourselves,
and even to love our enemies.
In times of violence and fear,
let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts,
so that we may not be overcome with evil
but overcome evil with good.
Help us to see each person in light of the love and grace
you have shown us in Christ.
Put away the nightmares of terror
and awaken us to the dawning of your new creation.
Establish among us a future where peace reigns,
justice is done with mercy, and all are reconciled.
We ask these things in the name
and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
From a collection of Prayers for Times of National and International Crisis and Tragedy Posted on the PCUSA website
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
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The Rev. T. Scott Allen
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