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Praying for #Ferguson

The events in Ferguson, Missouri have captivated the world of social media this week. On Saturday afternoon, eighteen year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police while walking home with a friend. A candlelight vigil to remember Brown turned violent on Sunday, leading to looting and more than thirty arrests. Monday and Tuesday saw tensions rise as residents gathered for peaceful demonstrations, demanding the officer’s name be released and details about the incident be made public. On Wednesday night, Ferguson police responded the to growing protests with militarized force, firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds. (For an in-depth timeline of the events, see

As the investigation into Brown’s death continues, unrest over racial injustice around the United States is brought to the forefront once again. As agents of God’s justice and grace, we are called to foster reconciliation and cultivate peace. Will you join us?


God of peace,

We stand before you in adoration for the diversity with which you have surrounded us--in creation, in the Scriptures, in each other’s faces, and in you, our Triune God. Lord, we confess to you that we often fail to recognize your faithfulness. We are all too often quick to judge, and slow to listen.

As we hear stories and see images of racial injustice and unrest, we confess that our first instinct is to protect ourselves. Lord, forgive us for the many ways that we segregate ourselves from those who are different from us.

Forgive us for ignoring the unjust systems in which we live, systems from which many of us benefit without thinking twice about the way they affect others.

Forgive us for perpetuating the lie that we all have an equal opportunity for safety and well-being where no such equality exists. We know, O Lord, that we are only equal before you.

Forgive us for making excuses by blaming the victims, pointing to their lack of innocence as if it justifies the loss of their lives. Lord, who of us can stand before you without fault?

Forgive us for failing to live into the life that you modeled for us, a life that enters into the suffering of others and offers healing and grace.

God of all grace, we grieve the tragic death of any person made in your image, whether a celebrity who succumbs to depression or a young man shot while walking home.

We remember Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride, Ezell Ford and John Crawford, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and the many others who lose their lives for seemingly no more reason than their race. We pray for the family and friends left to grieve them. Grant them comfort and strength and the grace to go on.

We also lift up to you those who live in fear because of racial injustice in their communities, for mothers gripped by fear for their sons, and young people who cannot see a glimmer of possibility or hope. Lord, bring peace!

God of justice, we lament the injustice we see around us. We lament the sin of racism in all of its pervasive forms. We lament media images published out of context. We lament law enforcement that oversteps its bounds. We lament justice systems where some never find justice.

Healing God, we know that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It is in that knowledge that we ask you to convict us of the value of every life made in your image. Move our hands and feet to respond to injustice in ways that build your peace. Empower us to advocate on behalf of those who need our voices raised, even those who we may not know.

Sovereign God, we find our hope in you. Give protection and healing to the people of Ferguson, Missouri and the many other places where only you can deliver peace. We thank you that we can bring all of these things to you with confidence, knowing that not only are you capable but you are willing to respond to the desires of our hearts. Align them with yours.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our only Savior, we pray, Amen.

Want to go deeper?

- Educate yourself. Add one of these books on racial reconcilation and the church to your fall reading list.

- Learn with others. Consider leading a small group at your church through the CRC's Office of Race Relation's free "Facing Racism" DVD course.

- Learn from others. Connect with the Office of Race Relations about having them lead a workshop for your church or classis.

- Bring people together. See if your church will host an event for clergy from other churches in your area to come together to talk about race and reconciliation in your local context.

- Take a stand. Sign Shaun King's petition on to pressure officials to enact new federal laws related to police violence and misconduct.

[Image: Flickr user Elvert Barnes]

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