Photo by Fibonacci Blue/ CC BY
Loving and gracious Father, maker of heaven and earth and creator of all people — your precious and beautiful children with skin dark like coal, golden like wheat, putty like desert sands, and every other shade you devised with your incomprehensible creativity — made in your image and for your glory, we humbly come before you.
Lord, we mourn the losses of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford, Eric Garner, VonDerrit Myers, Ezell Ford, and numerous others.
Lord, we are outraged by our sins that lead to violence and our sins that impede justice. How many will die, God?
You know the grief of losing a son and we believe you share in our mourning and in our outrage.
Because you know the depth of this sort of loss, please bring inexplicable comfort to the families of these sons. Let the grief of these families and of the communities lead to healing that you alone can bring. May they grieve well and find peace in your loving arms. Lord, for the family members whose grief is public, surround them with a safe community. May they be covered in prayer and kept safe from any sort of harm the evil one may intend.
Just as the death of Lazarus brought many to believe and the death of your Son ushered in grace and peace, we ask that these deaths would bring forth grace and peace and further your kingdom.
You alone bring life from death, beauty from ashes (Isa. 61.3). Be glorified. We praise you that you are the giver of good and perfect gifts (James 1.17). We ask, too, that you bring peace and healing in Ferguson, in New York, and in all the communities that have been directly impacted by recent loss and violence. Lord, we know these are not isolated cases and we thank you that you see it all, even the instances that do not make headlines.
We know this lack of peace is symptomatic of our brokenness. We ask for a miraculous change as these communities move forward.
God, you show no favoritism and your kingdom is open to people from every tribe and nation (Acts 10.34-35). Communities across the nation are hurting and they are angry and they are scared. Father, would you impress on us the value of each individual and the value of diverse ethnic, racial and cultural identities?
For those of us made to feel a deflated value on a regular basis, teach us our true value and be our source of worth. For those of us made to feel an inflated value on a regular basis, teach us our true value and be our source of worth. Bring us all into a right relationship with you.
In particular, we ask that all those who see themselves in Michael Brown or Eric Garner would know their lives matter, not because of a legal system, but because of you.
Though man’s laws fail to bring the fullness of justice and peace, your prevailing justice does not fail. And yet, God, would you also let us see justice through systems and institutions that seek righteousness for all?
You make no mistakes and in your sovereignty, you made us diverse. We all are made in your image. Make us a community of believers that grows in our depth of knowledge and wisdom of you. As we grow and abide in you, may we be known by our love for you and for one another (John 15).
It is uncommon to love across racial and ethnic identities.
May we love conspicuously in that way.
Where our understanding of you is faulty due to cultural lenses, correct us.
Where we need to confess sin and seek forgiveness, rebuke us.
Where we have grown complacent, discomfort us.
Where we are hearers of the word only, convict us (James 1.22).
You have reconciled us to you; we thank you for that truth! Let us boldly live in that freedom. You have called us to a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5.18);
God, guide us as we know there is an acute need for racial reconciliation at this time. Race has been constructed as a means to divide and destroy and there has been so much destruction for so long. It has been one of Satan’s enduring strategies to keep us from your truth. We renounce that stronghold in the power of your name.
We thank you that what we have labeled and distorted as race is really one aspect of the beauty of your diverse creation. In your sovereignty, you use the entirety of who you’ve made us to be to uniquely live out that which you have called us to do. We each have an important place in the body. Thank you that together we know you and experience you more fully.
We pray you would continue to raise up Christian leaders to lead the way toward healing and justice. In our First Free community, guide us in this healing and peacemaking work. Unite us in and through the Spirit, for your glory.
Thank you for providing a way for us to approach your throne. Thank you for hearing our prayers. We pray these things in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.