God of peace,
give us the courage, strength and perseverance needed,
to challenge the systems of racism,
so that we can clear a path for your justice, peace, and equity.

We believe racism is present
in our society and in our church,
and throughout time has manifested itself in many forms and in varying degrees.

We know racism is alive
in our language and in our structures,
and through our systems it actively works to deconstruct your glorious design,
blocking the path to justice, equity, and peace that Jesus brings.

Racism exists, and it challenges the gospel message that we cry.

We cry abundant life for all,
knowing that we are slowly being suffocated by the pervasive evil of racism:
                some of us are choking;
                some of us cannot breathe;
                some of us are dead.

We cry peace,
knowing that we are the instruments of God’s peace
and that such peace cannot exist without justice, equity, compassion, and God’s grace.

We cry Emmanuel, God with us,
knowing that to God, every life matters—God is with all people—
even though as a community and as a society
we have stated through our actions that some lives matter more than others.

Compassionate One,
Help us to understand how racism finds life in our hearts and in our cries.
In this time of tense anticipation,
may we commit ourselves to be people of your way
crying and creating a path for justice, equity, and peace
for all people in this wilderness of hatred and racism.

Amen.

—a prayer for Black History Month by Alydia Smith