Thank you for participating in our weekly invitation to prayer. We call on you now to join us in “40 Days of Prayer to Transform: A Journey to Newness.” Beginning December 12 and moving daily through January 20, members of the National Council of Churches and all communion partners will join in praying for hope, unity, and healing. During this Advent/Christmas season and into the New Year we put our hope in the ability and desire of God, through Jesus Christ, to heal and transform hearts and minds. We look for the Holy Spirit to breathe God’s newness into individual lives, faith communities, the soul of our nation, indeed, the whole world.
Prayer for Healing
Today’s prayer by John Dorhauer, United Church of Christ, is from, “United Against Racism: Churches for Change,” ©New York: Friendship Press, 2018, p. 115. You may purchase the book through Friendship Press, on their website at store.friendshippress.org.
We pray, God of all, for the healing our nation. In opposition to your will for human community and in violation of your vision for a world of Shalom, this nation was born in the cauldron of racial division. For more than four hundred years, a single race has maintained the right to own, enslave, degrade, oppress, and humiliate all other races.
One race alone has assumed the right, in your name, to call itself superior.
One race alone has accumulated power and wealth with little regard for what that has done to all other races within this land.
We are in deep need of your power to transform lives.
We are a nation that has healed the wounds of its people lightly—often crying, “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. Neither our Civil War nor our civil rights movement has ended race hate. We remain a deeply divided people. We have not chosen a path-way to the kind of redress and reparations that would atone for past sins and create racial equity.
Let all who call your name remain faithful to your vision of Shalom.
Let all who worship you fulfill their covenant promises to do your will.
Let all who are inspired by your grace become agents of your justice.
May there arise within the heart of all your disciples a collective will to confront the principalities and powers that build barriers of exclusion instead of bridges for inclusion. With Jesus as our guide, let us not count the cost of such discipleship. Let us run with perseverance this race set before us.
Stir within us all a passion for race equity. Let no one’s skin color determine their status. Let no one’s skin color limit or enhance their status. Let no one’s skin color limit or enhance their ability to pursue happiness. Let no one’s skin color affect how another perceives their worth. Let every black mother’s child grow into adulthood without the threat of their rights being negotiated by a white person with both the will and the ability to do so. Call America to become the land we once dreamed of: a land where all are created equal. Amen.
Called Through Our Ancestors (Heb. 1:1-5; Matthew 1:1-6, 16-17 NRSV)
The Scripture reading is drawn from Sunday’s lesson for December 6, 2020 ©Uniform Lessons Series, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
Hebrews 1:1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have begotten you”?
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?
Matthew 1: 1 An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, 4 and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah. . .
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.