Even as our world continues to wrestle with the ramifications of COVID-19 and the economic crisis, we are bombarded with acts of escalating racism. As people of faith we must ACT NOW to end racism— action that is accompanied by prayer for guidance, healing, and protection. These posts are offered to unite our actions and our prayers for the sake of God’s justice.
Faith and Wisdom (James 1:1-11, NRSV)
The Scripture reading is drawn from Sunday’s lesson for August 2, 2020 ©Uniform Lessons Series, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7, 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
9 Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10 and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.
Prayer to Become Agents of Love
Today’s prayer by Rev. Vernon Shannon, Ecumenical and Governmental Representative, Philadelphia and Baltimore AME Zion Church Conference, is from “United Against Racism: Churches for Change,” ©New York: Friendship Press, 2018, p. 14. You may purchase the book through Friendship Press, on their website at store.friendship-press.org.
O God, our heavenly Father, You have made us of one blood, all nations to dwell upon the earth. You created the human family to be as one with each other, “to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6.8). You gave us prophets to admonish us to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).
We confess, O God, that instead of recognizing and celebrating our oneness, we have divided ourselves into races, classes, colors, and nationalities. We have even declared that some of your children are inferior and others are superior.
We have witnessed the brutality, the lynching, the hatred, the prejudice, the segregation, and the denial of freedom and justice for all.
The cancer of racism is gnawing away the moral fabric of our nation. Everywhere we look, we see race against race and the denial of the sacredness of every human personality.
O God, we pray that you will open our eyes and heal the brokenness of our nation and world. Your Son Jesus prayed “that we might all be one.” Help us know that we are one, and help us overcome racism, bigotry, and hatred. Help us be instruments of your love so that where there is hatred, we might bring love.
We thank you, O God, for individuals and organizations like the NAACP, the National Council of Churches in America, and others whose efforts are to end racism, bring in the day of brotherhood and sisterhood, and end the night of wrong.
Hear our prayer, O God, and hasten the day when we shall overcome racism in our nation and world. In the name of Jesus, our Lord, who is the Christ, we make this request. Amen.