A Prayer for the Racial Reconciliation Journey
I’ve recently been reading speeches from Fannie Lou Hamer. She spoke with remarkable power and, seemingly with ease, wove words from scripture into much of what she had to say. She has inspired me to more intentionally weave scripture into my words and actions as they relate to racial reconciliation work.
I recognize that there are—hopefully—many new folks joining in this vital work. So while this is predominately for my personal use, I thought it might be useful to share publicly as well.
This is my prayer.
The tension, fighting, anger, hate, and violence in our nation grieve me. I can only imagine how they grieve you. I yearn for all of your children to know your name, Immanuel, to know your perfect love, and to know your justice and peace.
There’s so much going on, and so much that I don’t yet know. I want to stay near to you so that I may best discern what love requires of me throughout each day. Give me an openness to hear whatever the Spirit wishes to bring to me today.
As I share that love through truth and grace, please help me not to conform to the world I’m in, but to be continually transformed by the steady renewing of my mind.
As I encounter topics that make me uncomfortable, remind me that you’ve given me a spirit not of fear but of power, love, and sound mind. I’m not fixed in stone in what I know or believe to be going on around me. Please help me be open to learning new things, particularly the things that challenge what I thought I knew.
Help me diligently stay focused on kingdom impact around this fight, not getting distracted by earthly impact, even if it would produce more praise or respect from the outside looking in.
Help me remember that, as Paul said, there is no separation in the body of Christ, such as white, black, liberal, conservative, rich, poor, but Christ is all and is in all. We are brothers and sisters, all coming up short in our own ways, dependent on you for salvation.
It would be easy to merely use words online and feel like I’ve done the work. But Lord, help me go beyond the words and speech and to love my neighbor with actions and in truth.
The Church will make the most significant impact by working as the body you have made it. Help me understand my part and my role so that I can do the work you’ve called me to do and encourage others in their work.
If I encounter persecution along this path, whether from within the Church or without, remind me to bless those people by name rather than curse them or complain about it. Help me to see ways to live at peace with those around me. We’ve all got our hurts and our struggles.
Clothe me with compassion for those who are hurting, kindness for those who rarely receive it, humility to listen and be corrected, gentleness when correcting others, patience throughout the fight, and an overcoat of love that keeps each of these firmly in place.
Empower me to listen more than I speak, and to be slow to grow angry with people I disagree with or don’t understand.
If I get hung up on something that someone did or said against me, remind me of the forgiveness you’ve given me, so that I better remember to forgive my brother or sister.
As the Church, you have called us to peace. If I, or those around me, allow the peace in our hearts to slip through our fingers, help us to see this shift in ourselves or one another. And help us to remember that not everyone feels this same sense of eternal peace. Help us use that awareness to love our communities that much more.
Use us, Lord, to teach one another and keep one another in check with the wisdom of your Word as we express gratitude to you along the way.
Be with my brothers and sisters and me in this work today. Help us to overcome evil with good.
And whatever I do, whether it’s something I’m saying or something I’m doing, help me to remember that it’s in your name. May you receive the glory for any good work done in or through me.
Published on June 5, 2020