Prayers of Confession on Race & Reconciliation

You give us prophets, holy God,
to cry out for justice and mercy.
Open our ears to hear them,
and to follow the truth they speak,
lest we support injustice to secure our own well-being.
Give prophets the fire of your Word,
but love as well.
Though they speak for you,
may they know that they stand with us before you,
and have no Messiah other than your Son.
Jesus Christ, the Lord of all. Amen.

The Worship Book: Services, The Westminster Press, 1970.

May God bless you with a restless discomfort

about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,

so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger

at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears

to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,

so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness

to believe that you really can make a difference in this world,

so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

A Franciscan Blessing

God of freedom, whether we like to admit it or not, we do not treat everybody with equality. We silently judge others based on appearance, social status, and even race. Please give us the courage to meet others who are different from us, to learn from them, and to partner with them. Please give us a willingness to set aside our own safety and comfort for the sake of others as we silently confess our sins to you now…

Submitted by Austin D. Hill

Yes, Jesus,
I want to be on your right side
or your left side,
not for any selfish reason.
I want to be on your right or your best side,
not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition,
but I just want to be there
in love and in justice and in truth
and in commitment to others,
so we can make of this old world a new world. Amen.

Martin Luther King Jr.: A Documentary…Montgomery to Memphis,
ed. by Flip Schulke, W.W. Norton & Co., 1976.

God and Father of all,
in your love
you made all the nations of the world
to be a family,
and your Son taught us to love one another.
Yet our world is riven apart
with prejudice, arrogance, and pride.
Help the different races
to love and understand one another better.
Increase among us sympathy,
tolerance, and goodwill,
that we may learn to appreciate the gifts
that other races bring to us,
and to see in all people
our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died.
Save us from jealousy, hatred, and fear,
and help us to live together
as members of one family at home in the world,
sons and daughters of one Father
who live in the liberty of the children of God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press, 1994.

Lord God, we rejoice in your resurrection and in your promise to return. Help us live today as people who await the fulfillment of your kingdom. We confess we often look for comfort outside of you. Bend our knees to the hard work of prayer, worship, repentance, and intercession. Throughout history you have used the seemingly weak to nurture justice, to fight poverty, and to walk bravely toward human thrones of power proclaiming another way. Help us find comfort and hope in our afflictions, knowing you are present with us always. In the name of Jesus, our Savior, Amen.

Ed. By Shaine Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okora, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, Zondervan.

Gracious God, in Christ Jesus, you teach us to love our neighbors but instead we build dividing walls of hostility. You show us how to love one another as sisters and brothers but instead we hide from our own human family. You ask us to seek out the stranger and welcome the guest. You want us to share your abundant gifts with the poor but instead we cling tightly to our possessions and our privilege. You call us to proclaim good news to all people but instead we waste our words and hide our light. Lord, our loving God, have mercy on us. Forgive our sin, open our hearts, and change our lives. Fill us with the Holy Spirit. Make us holy and whole—one people, united in faith, hope, and love through Jesus Christ, Our reconciler and redeemer.

Presbyterian Mission Agency, Resources on Cultural Diversity and Racism

O God,
you created all people in your image.
We thank you for the astonishing variety
of races and cultures in this world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of friendship,
and show us your presence
in those who differ most from us,
until our knowledge of your love is made perfect
in our love for all your children;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship: Minister’s Desk Edition, Augsburg Publishing House, 1978.


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