Father, humble us as we come before you. Search our hearts and reveal to us all the hidden fears, distrust, lies and hate we have absorbed that cause us to put up walls and barriers to protect us from a perceived threat. Help us to listen to the voices that say things are not as they should be. The voices that challenge us to look out at the world and to really see what is going on – the sins that are being committed against our brothers and sisters because of the colour of their skin.
Give us courage to question and test what we are told and shown against what you have told us and shown us is good and right in your eyes. Let us seek the truth through prayer, your word, and the Holy Spirit’s teaching within us. Give us discernment and wisdom to see beyond appearances and to know where we have been led astray because of another’s own agenda. Let us see where the legacy of past hatred, oppression and evil acts has contributed to an unjust and racist society today.
If we are afraid, let us ask why.
If we are angry, let us ask why.
If we are defensive, let us ask why.
Let us hold space for all of our feelings and emotions and, for each other, as we journey together to seek racial justice. And, as we travel together, let us give and let us receive grace; let us repent and let us forgive.
Father, help us to trust you to do a good work in us, to give us a renewing of the mind when it comes to facing racial injustice, past and present, and to discover, confess and confront our part in it. Break our hearts just as yours breaks for those who have been hurt and those who continue to be affected by racism today.
God, let us not just console or empathise. Remind us that with each step we take to follow you, with each thought we take captive, to make obedient to you, and with each loving action we take, that we are being formed and shaped to be more like Jesus. Jesus who challenged and stood up to injustice. Let us follow Jesus as he was, not as we rewrite him to be. Unsettle us and set a fire in us to do our part in seeing that every single person on this earth is treated as one who has been made in your image – for we have all been made in your holy likeness. When one of us is mistreated, you are mistreated. When one of us bleeds, you bleed.
You said what we do to others, we do to you. Let that permeate through us and guide our every thought, word, action and interaction. Let us ask ourselves if how we are living is as one who belongs in your kingdom of truth, love and peace. A kingdom where no-one is held down or mistreated. God, you created the world, you created every man and woman and you declared everything as ‘very good’. The beauty of diversity was part of your plan and we see this among all living things. Let us speak up when we see any of your creation, your children, being treated as less than the image bearer you made them to be.
And when the concern and the care and the pain grow weak, let us stop and listen and remember why we began this journey. Let the anguish and the desire to make things better be made fresh within us until the fire is rekindled and we burn with love and righteousness to seek justice for all of your beloved.
Father, you created us to love us and you redeemed us because of that love. Let us love one another and treat one another with that same love. Let all that we do be done in love. Love, that doesn’t stay still and doesn’t stay silent when faced with the abuse of another brother and sister. Love that moves, protects and challenges the abuser of another.
Each time we pray for your kingdom to come, let us also pray for our kingdoms to go. There are no borders in your kingdom. There are none with plenty while others lack. There are none free while others are oppressed. Let us be people who reflect each day on how we loved and treated each person we met along our path from sunrise to sunset. Let us ask ourselves, did we live as faithful citizens of your kingdom or of the kingdom of this world.
May we be people who love one another and lift each other up. May we rise only together and stand as one in your kingdom.
In Jesus’ name