This past week our attention has shifted from a novel coronavirus to an age-old cancer called racism. Though some would like to say we are cancer-free, or at least in remission, a PET scan of our nation reveals how deeply rooted racism continues to be in our hearts and souls. Those of us who are privileged by it, find it hard to see how utterly devastating it really is to our body of humanity. Our fellow sisters and brothers, those who are labeled as “the minority,” are ravaged by it daily. Lord, help us to see clearly and feel compassionately the searing hurt, chronic pain, and deep wounds that racism has caused.
As peaceful protests have begun, Lord may we, along with our leaders, hear the voices and listen to the cries for justice. When frustration and anger boil over into confrontation and violence, Lord restore calm. And let us not fall victim to the insensitivity of being more concerned with property damage than with the cancer itself. Neither are right; but now is the time to listen closely, stand-up boldly, look critically within, and take decisive action to combat this corrosive disease.
Give us the willingness to listen closely to our hurting sisters and brothers. Give us the courage to stand-up boldly when we see racism’s hidden tentacles choking the life and liberty out of others. Help us to not move too quickly to the next news cycle, but use this painful time for critical introspection and self-evaluation. Then lead us forward to take decisive steps to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God and in true fellowship with all our brothers and sisters.
Lord, it is easy to point the finger at someone else. We all have our blind spots and short-comings. Expose our sin. Help us to renounce it completely, even if we receive benefit from it. Purify our hearts and make us thoroughly righteous and holy like you.
We lift up our leaders in prayer. Theirs is not an easy task. Remove obsession with reelection and retaining power. Restore clarity, wisdom and the desire to pursue justice and peace for all. Grant courage and conviction. And may they lead out of a moral resolution to seek the shalom for all citizens while giving careful attention to those who have suffered far too long.
We pray for the women and men of our law enforcement. They have taken an oath to protect and to serve. They should be viewed as an ally and friend. But far too often they have seen the worst of humanity and have themselves become targets of violence. Help us to understand the haunting fear they and their families must endure for our safety. Help us to appreciate the difficult circumstance they are thrust into. Protect them. Give them wisdom and skill in de-escalation rather than using force as their first response.
Lord, in this day, at this hour, may your church rise up to discern rightly and love completely. Blow your wind of renewal and restoration over our hurting, broken family of humanity. Help us to see and relate to each other as your image-bearers, precious sons and daughters, people who once were lost but now are found, were blind but now we see.
Let the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ fill our minds and shape our behavior. May your church stand out as light in the darkness, and as a source of healing for this age-old cancer. We are unable, but you are able to do exceedingly more than what we ask or could even dare to imagine, according to your power that is at work in us. May the healing process begin. And may you, Lord, receive all the glory honor and praise. Amen.