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A Prayer for Racial Justice
Callid Keefe-Perry of Fresh Pond Monthly Meeting is excited to report the publication of United Against Racism: Churches for Change, a book put out by the National Council of Churches and just released. Callid was invited to contribute a prayer to the volume and recommends the text as a useful resource for Friends searching for connections between a Christian faith and the work toward racial justice. The book is available online in print and e-book formats, and Callid's included prayer is below–ed.
A Prayer of Reminder and Turning
O Holy Power,
We labor under the weight of the knowledge that our systems and structures
are built on the backs of those who have struggled most.
We know and name that those very same systems and structures remain pressing down
on the shoulders and souls of those who still toil the most.
And so today, God, we ask that you soften our hearts,
bend down our necks, and give us sight.
To those of us with power who believe we have done all that we can, grant a reminder of humility. Allow us to see how our words and solidarity are but shadows of the family we can be; of the family we already are in your sight. We ask for the evil in us to be weakened and the good raised up.
To those of us who suffer under power and turn at times to despair, grant a reminder that there is strength to resist. Allow us to see there are moments in every day in which we can push back and press on with a fierce love. We ask to know a full measure of Grace, experiencing that compassion and encouragement in the flesh.
To those who struggle daily to seek out some way when there seems no way, grant that we find one another, are humble as needed, and bold when required. Allow us to know one another in that which is eternal, to strengthen one another, and to lift one another up with tenderness. We ask for connection and the courage to use our lives in service to the dismantling of white supremacy, wickedness in high places, and the building up of that which we find in your peaceable reign.
In all days, keep us from idols, from thinking our way is the way, and that our path is the most holy. We know we will be tempted to think ourselves better than others and so we ask to remember that the steps needed only end in you. What we call “good” now is only a glimmer of what can be built and is to come in Christ. We say “justice” but know little of its depth. We say “equality” but struggle to see how much needs to change. We are like thieves; we take good words for our use and for our pride, but we know little of what they can be.
God, give us an opening to change, turn us from our idols of politeness and properness, guide us from certainty to confession, and in that space convict us and bring us through. We are yours in service on this day and for all days. And so we pray that we might have the courage to serve. Amen.
"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21 (NRSV)