I Raise My Hands: A Prayerful Response to Ferguson


When asked why I raise my hands, I say a number of things:

“I raise them to praise God for redeeming me.”  My hands are holy because his hands were pierced, and so…I raise my hands.

“I raise my hands to call God “Abba”.  Like a daughter who reaches up to her Daddy because she knows she’s loved and wanted.  When I’m reminded of the love of God… I raise my hands.

“I raise my hands when truth is spoken”.  “YES! YES! THIS!”, I say when truth lights up my soul and illuminates the lies I so easily believe, the lies that keep me from living whole, the lies that perpetuate brokenness.  When truth burns them away, refining me to do Kingdom work, I raise my hands.

“I raise my hands in surrender.”  When life’s too much and fear crouches before me, claws at the ready to shred my confidence… I raise my hands to God.

Today, I raise my hands not to worship but to pray for the community of Ferguson and the families of Mike Brown,  Eric Gardner, and John Crawford.

Today, I raise my hands. These holy hands made holy to do the holy work of reconcillation in this sin-stained world.   I raise my hands and ask God to redeem the violence, redeem the suffering, redeem the heartbreak in Ferguson.  I raise my hands to thank him that he has overcome but to ask him to come, be present, and bring peace. With my hands in the air I pray, “By your wounds we are healed, Lord.  Usher in healing for grieving families and the community of Ferguson.”

Today, I raise my hands, because perfect love casts out all fear and because Abba Father sees the suffering of his children.  I raise my hands to bear witness to my  brothers and sisters who were tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets. I raise my hands because my love for them is restless. I can’t do anything tangible with these hands, but raise them high.  Lord, we are restless for change and anxious for hope.  We are witnesses of injustice. We are the women at the foot of the cross, empower us to stay through the torment so that we can be present to bind up wounds and then—see resurrection.

I raise my hands to God who out of his great love for his children heard their cries and carved a path towards justice when there seemed to be no way.  Make a way in Ferguson, MO, Lord. Make a way and drown the Enemy of your peace in your waves of Justice.

Today, I raise my hands because the truth is Black Lives Matter and black kids don’t have to be college-bound for their deaths to be tragic.   I raise my hands for the truth that Jesus identified with the poor, broken, marginalized, and ignored. I raise my hands because Jesus is our Truth and he will make us free.  I raise my hands because it is so true that He will empower us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks— we need only identify ourselves as willing truth-tellers.  So, I lift my hands to receive the necessary tools of this Heavenly alchemy:  a humble heart, listening ears, love-spun courage and most of all, open palms that refuse to cling to bitterness, hate, or fear.

Today I raise my hands in surrender.  I can’t do this work on my own.  I can’t even pray for reconciliation on my own—I need to the Holy Spirit to come and take my jumbled, incoherent words and turn them into something powerful. Lord,  place a terrible fear in the heart of the Enemy, and advance your Kingdom of Peace where Violence has made it’s camp.

I am but one women with a heart for the many who are sweltering in the racially charged climate of our country— nevertheless, I raise my hands.

I raise my hands in surrender.

I raise my hands in protest.

I raise my hands in holy anger.

I raise my hands in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, MO.

Will you raise your hands, too?

55 thoughts on “I Raise My Hands: A Prayerful Response to Ferguson

    • I raise my hands because today it’s someone else’s child, tomorrow it could be one of my own. I stand with the people of a Ferguson, the parents and friends of the poor children who were murdered and for all of the children of color whom wage is being waged upon. This is pray!

  1. I’m raising my hands for all of those reasons from the SF Bay. And praising God that you shared your response with all of us, Osheta.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have a half-finished blog post about Ferguson and just can’t find the words to finish. How do you put into words an overwhelming feeling of horror and helplessness?
    So I’ll pray the beautiful words you found:
    Lord, place a terrible fear in the heart of the Enemy, and advance your Kingdom of Peace where Violence has made it’s camp.

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  5. Praying that at some point truth will become clear in this matter…but even if it doesn’t we can trust that Jesus is in the business of redemption & that reconciliation is needed in Ferguson & for that matter between folks all over God’s earth.

    May the heavenly Father bless all those in Ferguson & love on all those young people who struggle with fatherlessness & anger as well as those who’s hearts are hardened by fear & who think violence will bring resolution to conflict.

    Prov 146:9
    Micah 4:3

  6. Thank you. I am praying for the community in Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area. I’ve lived most of my life in WA state but my family roots are in a tiny town a bit south of St Louis, and so this one hits home more than some of the other shootings. When will this end??? I guess the one good thing is that we know that God is strong enough to work in this somehow. Standing with you as best as I can.

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  9. AMEN FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS! Your words expressed our Hearts. We will stand with you and raise our Hands together ……

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