Today’s Prayer

from Presbyterian Outlook


Come, Holy Spirit, bring your wind to give air to all those who cannot breathe, who have a knee on their neck while their arms are handcuffed behind their backs.

Holy Spirit, you’ll excuse me right now, but with the little breath I have in me, it’s a little hard to talk to you right now. Yet, I know that, through you, somehow God hears my faintest cries, my sighs that are too deep for words.

Come, Holy Spirit, blow through the halls of power and scatter the proud, the aloof, those who think they are absolved or above your command to love their neighbors as themselves.

I’m mad and you know it.  Why am I calling on you from the same place that my ancestors called for you? Over 400 years later, why am I still here?  I call on you with the same voice of Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey. With my fist clenched and only the protection of my family and community members that have not been taken away from me on my mind, I’m calling on you to move and to move soon.

Come, Holy Spirit, bring a holy hurricane to tear down systems of racism fortified for hundreds of years by the inaction of those not impacted by their terror, bolstered by pastors who twisted your living word into a death warrant for your black and brown children, remodeled and reconstructed time and time again by white supremacy and white fragility and white complicity.

Holy Spirit, I’m going to need you to hold me.  Hold me in the frame, and bridle my tongue, because I’m fresh out of nice glowing words.  Allow me not to see everyone that doesn’t look like me as my enemy because through this prism of tears it is really, really hard to see who is who.  Help me to refocus on the sources and the systems that, though they oppress my people most, though the blood of my people flows in the streets and swells the riverbeds, ultimately white supremacy hurts us all.

Come, Holy Spirit, burn uncontrolled in the dark hearts of those who deny the reality of hate codified in policies and implemented in daylight executions of African American unarmed runners and black teenage boys walking home from the store.

My sons.  My daughters.  My children and I don’t want anything different from the white children you created.  They want to live out loud and be left alone. My children are equal, and my children are beautiful.  They deserve all that they desire.  In fact, at this point in history, they are owed more because so much has been withheld and taken from them.  Keep them ever aware of their beauty and their worth.  Black lives matter because they matter to God.  Out of this mountain of despair, you alone can hue out a stone of hope. Keep their hope alive.

Come, Holy Spirit, bring your flames of destruction to all the sin that clings so closely and challenges your divine justice-bringing, reforming, reshaping, melting, remaking and reconciling power.

Araminta Ross, later Harriet Tubman, once prayed a prayer that said something like: “They’re evil. Lord you know they’re evil. If you can’t change their soul, then take them.”

Come, Holy Spirit, loosen the tongues of those too long silenced and silence the rhetoric of those spouting evil and hate.

Holy Spirit, let the righteousness of God be heard. And let it be loud. Use us to let it be heard. Much of what is lawful is not just.  Slavery was legal, segregation was legal. And when we wait for change, when we wait on the wheels of justice, they roll too slow and sometimes roll backwards over the very people seeking justice. Only when you strengthened God’s people to rise up against injustice are unjust institutions abolished.  Use us again. Protect us as we go forth. Help us to protect ourselves and those we love.

On this Pentecost when we hear George Floyd plead in vain for his life and Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend calling out her name as she dies in her bed, come, Holy Spirit, and possess us with your power. Do not let us loose until our country is born again in the image of Jesus Christ. Put in our mouths the words of our God who said to let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, who turned tables and cracked a whip when the vulnerable were exploited, who cried woe to those who hurt the very ones they were to help. Make us all prophets who speak truth to power, hear hard truths from one another and refuse to tolerate anything less than your will on earth as it is in a heaven, a life together where all are beloved and treated as the unique, irreplaceable child of God they are.

Holy Spirit, lift our voices until earth and heaven ring with liberty, justice and freedom.

Shadowed beneath God’s hand, may we forever stand, true to our God and true to our native land. Amen.