I’ve been burdened by the overwhelming absence of a call for personal and corporate confession in the midst of a time of racial strife by so many church leaders. Most of the prayers I’ve heard are great at asking God to heal and change the country, but they’re weakened by ignoring the need for us as God’s people to change first. Repentance begins with you—and definitely me. Until that happens, we have no voice before others.
I wrote this prayer for a luncheon on July 30, 2015 that featured a Christian panel discussion on healing the racial divide. Sadly, nothing has changed. I don’t think it will until God’s people do the work to uncover their part in the divide and repent.
We confess that we are guilty as individuals and as your church.
• We have judged others by the color of their skin.
• We have failed to speak out against prejudice.
• We have been prejudiced ourselves.
• We have quickly believed lies about one another.
• We have seen the world through our own lenses and assume we know.
• We have failed to defer to our brothers and sisters of other races, seeing us as We rather than they.
• We have failed to seek understanding through conversations with one another.
• We have failed to be gracious when we can’t understand.
• We have been apathetic about injustice and prejudice in our land.
• We have been quick to judge “guilty” without all the information.
• We have believed a lie that we can do nothing to change things.
• We are one and yet have failed to live that out.
• Our churches do not reflect the beauty and diversity of your creation, and we have been complacent that it is so.
Forgive us, Holy God. We have sinned and fallen short of your glory. We know that the present situation grieves your heart. Use us as catalysts for reconciliation as we continually recognize our own sin before you and humbly seek your power and love to change us. Show us how to move forward toward racial unity as individuals and in our churches.
We desperately need you, Holy God. Do a work in us so the world sees it and believes that Jesus is real, just as he prayed:
“That they would all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.”
Join me in lamenting my, and our, apathy and silence in the face of injustice.