When I put the call out to my friends to pray with me, I was afraid of the responses—honestly. I didn’t want to offend or shame anyone, I just wanted to be honest about my pain. I wanted to ask fellow believers to mourn with me and ask God for guidance. I have been amazed at the openness and the vulnerability of the women in this series.
So, often we shy away from discussing racial reconciliation. For good reason, shame often forces us to find a villain, someone at fault, a scapegoat, an enemy. Unfortunately, most of the time, it’s the white person—the person of privilege that gets shoe-horned in this role. This should not be. When seeking reconciliation, there is no good/bad person. There is no right/wrong party. There is only brokenness and healing. There are image bearers and there is The Accuser. When seeking reconciliation, we need to remember, we wrestle not with fellow image bearers, but with that accuser.
With that in mind, today I’m thankful to share three prayers of women who promise to own their responsibility in this battle by wrestling with the principalities and powers that create the injustice and not the human caught in the crossfire of this spiritual battlefield.
These women will speak of their repentance and promise to fight against brokenness and not each other. In reconciliation, There is no “us” and “them”, there are peacemakers rallied under the barrier-breaking name of “Jesus”.
Today, I share prayers three gorgeous prayers from Suzanne Terry, Alyssa Bacon-Lui, and Cara Strickland.
Suzanne Terry is a fiction writer, coffee lover, speech teacher, and book hoarder. She blogs sporadically
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel is weeping for her children;
She refuses to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”
Jeremiah 31:15, NASB
First, I repent.
I repent that I have hesitated to say these things out loud. Children are dying, and I have hidden behind my privilege and hesitated. I am so sorry.
I repent that every month is not Black History Month.
I repent for the times when I have let my desire for justice be implicit instead of explicit.
I repent for thinking that standing wouldn’t make a difference, so why bother? I repent for that ridiculous laziness and the unbelief that it reveals.
Help my unbelief.
I don’t know what to say, God.
This useless violence. These broken scales on which we measure fairness and human worth. This arrogance of words, trying to make bandages adhere to sticky wounds where life bled out. I don’t know how this gets made right, God.
Let the mothers lament. Let the mothers refuse to be appeased by platitudes and promises. Let the well-meaning comforters grow wisdom and be silent.
Let the mothers’ wail rise. Let it shake the ground. Let it echo through the streets. Let it singe the air. Let it pierce the shadows and turn over every stone. Let it leave injustice without a place to hide.
Do You hear?
Let the mothers’ cries thunder like the approaching abundance of rain. Let their cries be the place where You reside. Stand with them in the fiery furnace of their grief. Comfort them as only You can. And set this world right.
“Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.”
Alyssa Bacon-Liu lives with her husband and puppy in Los Angeles. She blogs at All Things Beautiful, where she writes about marriage, faith, growing up, the pursuit of happiness, and finding the beauty in the everyday. Connect with her on social media: @alyssabaconliu.
Dear Lord,As we look to You for guidance and clarity in the face of so much violence and injustice, I’m reminded of Solomon. When he first became king, he prayed and asked for discernment between good and evil so that he could be a great leader to the people of Israel.“It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart…”” 1 Kings 3:10-12 NASB (emphasis mine)Sometimes in order to move forward we must first fall to our knees. So God, my prayer is simple. Help us to have a heart that longs to understand Your justice. Let us have wise and discerning hearts. Give us the desire to think of how we can be leaders in our families, churches, and communities who will stand up for what we know is right.God, it truly sickens me that these young lives are vilified, mocked, and blamed for their own deaths. Lord, we truly live in a fallen world where we can’t even come together and unequivocally denounce violence against children. Jesus, we are a lost people who bend to fear and prejudice instead of loving kindness and compassion. We need wise and discerning hearts. We need to understand Your justice. It is a matter of life and death, Father.Let us not cower in the face of hatred. Let us not run in the face of injustice. Let us not be intimidated by politics and pundits and talking points. Let us proclaim that we are Yours and Trayvon is Yours and Jordan is Yours and Renisha is Yours and we, as a body of Christ, will not stand for the senseless violence that runs opposed to the Shalom of your kingdom.God, we mourn for those we have lost. We mourn for the names we hear in the news. We mourn for those whose names we don’t know, but whose names You knew before they were born. Oh God, they are so precious to You and I know we can’t even fathom the ways that Your heart is breaking. But God, we trust in Your wisdom. God, we trust in Your justice. And God we pray that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Amen.
It doesn’t start with violence, Lord, I know. It starts with me. It starts with me saying that these
are my rights. It starts with a choice to see the image of God in myself, but not in the person facing me.Would You open my closed eyes, Holy Spirit?There are a lot of closed eyes in the world, Jesus. Some are squeezed tightly shut, afraid to
let anything in other than what is already inside. Some are blind, eyelids open, but sightless. I
believe that it is You who allows us to see. It is You who chooses to bring sight, differently every
time.Would You open closed eyes, Holy Spirit?Even when my eyes are open, my mouth stays closed, too often. Instead of sharing what I see,
pointing out the image of God I see in others and talking about the pieces that catch the light, I
stay silent. I am implicated when I see something and don’t say anything.Would You help me to speak?I know I’m small and young and people might not listen to me. Would you remind me that
it’s worthwhile to open my mouth, anyway? Would you let the right words, Your words, traveltoward ears which You’ve made to hear?Would You open mouths to speak and ears to hear?Would You remind us of what we have in common, stopping us in our tracks as we try to focus
on our differences? You were always collecting people who didn’t seem to go together. My
guess is that it wasn’t easy then, just as it isn’t easy now. Would You keep collecting those
people together? Would You let us be visual aids for those just learning to see?Draw us together with You, Lord Jesus.My voice feels small, Father, and it’s obscured, sometimes, by my tears. Other times, I listen to
fear, or I wonder if it’s my place to speak. Would You take my little voice and multiply it like the
loaves and fishes, joining with the company of Heaven and earth so that we cannot be ignored
or tuned out? Would You let me hear the sound of it, filtered through Your Spirit, and be brave?Would you make us people who see, who listen, who ache for lives cut short and for parents
whose arms are empty? Would you stir our hearts to grief, to repentance, to a protective instinct
so strong that we move with super-human strength to stand our ground, between the vulnerable
and the sightless.