Updated: Jun 10, 2020
We gather as a community to pray for justice, peace and reconciliation in our nation and at Denver Seminary. Below is a suggested guide to pray and reflect through. May we feel united through the Spirit and find courage to face difficult truths.
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
First, we orient ourselves rightly as created beings before a Creator God. Begin by calling out and admonishing the character of God and confessing the desire for control, our tendency to rely on our own perceived wisdom and strength.
God, I open my heart to you, acknowledging my need for your grace; I do not sustain myself and my life is caught up in you. You are…
[Spend time addressing who you know God to be, his characteristics and attributes]
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Next, we lift up the cries of the oppressed and ask for mercy—that justice may prevail and that we may humbly empathize with those crying out in pain. We pray against evil and racism, self-interest and hatred.
God, I come to you on behalf of those who are suffering from lifetimes of injustice and racism simply because of the color of their skin. Where I am tempted to escape the discomfort of not understanding through denial or numbing, may your Spirit draw me into empathy, to hear these voices as those made in your image and worthy of being listened to. God, I need your grace to pray for these people and against evil:
For Black families and communities who have lost loved ones through murder and unjust killing; for justice and healing as re-traumatization is ongoing
For people of Asian descent who are facing discrimination and hatred due to COVID
For Black and other people of color who have experienced discrimination at Denver Seminary
For the work of Denver Seminary’s Urban Initiative, Hispanic Initiative, and Asian Initiative as they prioritize underserved communities in Denver and in the important work of theological education.
For white protestors and voices on social media to commit to the long work of growth and change—that their zeal may in fact be for the sake of others
For our local, state and federal officials that they would act justly
For our police people and police forces, for wisdom and courage to bring down systems of abuse and oppression
For leaders and activists who have been fighting for justice in our communities; for renewal and perseverance
For those suffering emotionally, physically and spiritually due to the forces of racism and corruption of the systems that dictate our lives
For ministry leaders, pastors, others who are guiding Christians to act justly and love mercy
“Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Now, we want to create a space to let the Spirit convict us of our own conscious and subconscious participation in injustice, where we act out of self-interest, and of our own racism: when we have considered another group of people inferior, deserving of suffering, or our group superior, worthy of success. We want to experience true, biblical conviction—this is beyond guilt which comes and goes—but true, Holy Spirit conviction that invites us to repent.
God, the events of these few weeks have brought up in me…
[Spend some minutes honestly talking to God about the thoughts, opinions, questions, frustrations that have surfaced in you]
Lord, I want to experience these things in light of your truth and the reality of your heart. Spirit, show me where I am avoiding seeing the painful reality of my own selfishness and privilege, where I am not loving my neighbor as myself. Reveal my sin and where I am tempted to hide or to use action to avoid the feeling of guilt...
[Spend time sitting here, allowing the Spirit to show you your need for his love and forgiveness; you are safe and have space]
“Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.”
Having prayed against, we now pray for: for His coming into this world, for grace and mercy, for justice and restoration. May it be on earth as it is in heaven. And may we be on a life-quest for justice, whether or not it’s in the news.
God, our nation is groaning with the longing for justice, tired of the seeming futility of treating all people as equal and beloved. I believe that life with you calls me into the journey of being transformed into your image and caring for your people. Continue coming into my life to transform my affections. Equip me to be an instrument of love, peace, and justice, to see the ways I can show true hospitality and create space for others to thrive. Bring equity into our systems: education, law enforcement, courts of law, churches, etc. And make me more and more willing to sacrifice my privileges, comforts and self-sufficiency for the sake of my brothers and sisters. I pray for your coming into…
[Spend time praying for particular systems, communities and your own family, allowing the Spirit of God to give you a vision of righteousness and justice for these particular arenas]
In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen.