A Prayer of Lament for Racism and Injustice
God, our hearts are broken. Our souls are grieved, frustrated, angry, and afraid. We are caught in an endless cycle of violence and vengeance, and it’s difficult to hold onto hope these days. What we’ve seen in our nation over the past few days and weeks with the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, is just a microcosm of the race-based injustice we’ve observed from a safe distance for far too long.
Many fear the repercussions of these deaths that are playing out all across our country, and in our city, even as we pray. Many more fear the repercussions will not be loud enough or painful enough to actually produce any systemic change.
How long, oh Lord, will we disregard the value of human life, especially the lives of the most vulnerable, oppressed, and marginalized?
How long will we continue to ignore the plight of our nation’s minorities and deny them the opportunities and justice they are due as your image bearers?
How long will we turn a deaf ear to people of color, preferring instead to hear our own opinions about and solutions to their experience?
How long will we follow and promote those who stoke fear, pride, and feelings of racial superiority, rather than exemplifying humility, justice, and compassion?
How long will our faith communities remain largely segregated because we’re not willing to do the hard work of fighting for racial reconciliation on a local level?
How long will your Church remain silent about real injustice because we fear being associated with the lawless and the violent who have coopted racism in order to push their own godless agenda?
Lord God, we, your Church, lament our explanations, rationalizations, deflections, and self-justifications. We lament our callousness and our convenient blindness. We lament our complicity in a system that advantages some and disadvantages others on the basis of the color of their skin. We repent.
We confess we’ve not loved you with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. And we’ve not loved our neighbors as we love ourselves.
We confess that our hearts are tainted with favoritism, bias, and prejudice. We’re so steeped in these things, we often show partiality without even realizing it.
We confess that we’ve barely lifted a finger to end racism and oppression, be it systemic or personal. Many of us don’t even think it exists, that’s how little we understand and empathize with the plight of people of color.
But in our weariness, and out of deep and genuine concern for our brothers and sisters of color, we bring our failures and frustrations and fears to you, God – for you alone are our hope and salvation.
Jesus, you didn’t ignore or neglect those who lacked attention, power, and influence. You made time for the marginalized, the vulnerable, and the victims of injustice – and you loved them. You didn’t stand on the broken and the accused, you stood for them. You liberated the oppressed with mercy and steadfast love. Rather than abusing others to preserve your power, you surrendered your power – and your very life – to redeem and restore people from every nation, tribe, people, and language. And one day you will return to settle all accounts and set all things right for all eternity.
Furthermore God, we hear your call to put away the song and dance of our worship until we are people who stand with the victims of marginalization, oppression, and injustice, and demand respect for their rights as well as our own.
God, we appeal to you on behalf of our nation and especially your Church. We are restless. We are hungry. Fill us with your Spirit and remind us that we have only one Lord, one faith, one hope. We are made of one blood. Make us communities within our communities where repentance, forgiveness, racial reconciliation, and a commitment to justice for all, are on display for the world to see. May your kingdom come, your will be done in us as it is in heaven.
Teach us and empower us to stand for the truth and grace of Jesus until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
In the name and authority of Jesus we pray,
 Matthew 12:20
 Luke 4:18
 Revelation 7:9
 Acts 17:31
 Proverbs 31:8-9; Isaiah 1:13-17; 58:6-7; Micah 6:6-8
 Ephesians 4:4-5
 Acts 17:26
 Matthew 6:10
 Amos 5:24