God of Justice and Mercy,
We lift our prayers to you in this moment of great uncertainty. The world feels unstable, as if the supports that buttress our reality have rotted, and the anchored world so many of us have casually taken for granted has begun to list and sway.
We fear a world in which our most powerful leaders feel comfortable filling their mouths with hate, fanning the flames of fear—when they speak coded and not-so-coded imprecations against people of color, your beloved children.
We despair for a world that allows cynical politicians to manipulate the system to keep themselves in power by seeking ever more unscrupulous ways to prevent some of your children from voting.
We have become weary of a world where children are ripped from their families and thrown in cages as a way of teaching their parents’ “a lesson”…about presuming to ask us to be spared from the hatred and violence of other powerful and remorseless people.
Our hearts break for a world in which those gathered for worship or out grocery shopping or sitting in class must live in terror of deadly bigots who hunt the unsuspecting with lethal earnestness.
Our backs are bent under the grief of reassuring our Muslim neighbors that the animosity they face doesn’t represent the best of who we are—all the while secretly wondering if perhaps—our self-congratulatory illusions dissipated—this isn’t exactly who we are.
The tears have dried on our faces after all the weeping we have done for the women we’ve failed to listen to—women who’ve suffered assault, who’ve lived with the constant threat of harassment, who’ve absorbed the messages passed down to them about their inferiority.
And so, as we head to the polls, we offer our prayers for those who’ve felt abandoned by a system that claims to work for them, but which ignores their cries for help and denies them access to that same system.
We pray for those who fear not only the terror that comes at night, but the terror that comes at the doctor’s office and the pharmacy.
We pray for children who have to do their homework in the backseat of a car, which will later serve as their dining room and bedroom.
We pray for teachers who pour out their hearts, only to be told that those hearts aren’t worth what it takes to compensate them.
We pray for Native Americans who’ve had their lives, their land, and their dignity trampled on for over four hundred years.
We pray for African Americans who’ve repeatedly gotten the message that the lives of their children are acceptable sacrifices on the altar of white supremacy.
We pray for our LGBTQ friends and neighbors who’ve been forced to live in fear and shame…most often at the hands of the people who claim most loudly and most publicly to be your servants.
We cry out with the voices of those who’ve been cast down, cast aside, and cast out. Hear our prayers. But even more importantly, hear theirs.
Pour out your wrath, O God, upon the systems that grind the poor and the powerless to dust.
Tear down the walls erected to keep us divided from one another—or short of that, give us the strength to tear them down.
Bring your righteous anger to bear upon the institutionalization of our hatred and fear toward those who are different from us.
Grant us the strength in these times to be both gentle and brave, the bearers of justice and peace.
This post was previously published on DerekPenwell.net and is republished here with permission from the author.
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