Culture

A prayer for those who are troubled by a divided world

Tan Jing Min // June 8, 2020, 5:02 pm

A PRAYER FOR A DIVIDED WORLD

Image source: Rod Thornburg, The Bakersfield Californian

This prayer was written in response to the death of George Floyd and the discourse around racism that emerged across the globe.


Dear Father,

Thank you that you are sovereign in this moment. Thank you that you work all things for the good of those who love you (Romans 8:28).

Wake us up from our slumber (Romans 13:11). Keep our hearts soft and teachable, as we take in the conversations unfolding around us. Help us look to you for wisdom, as we search for your truth amid the noise.

Father, we know redemption is a chaotic and painful process. We groan inwardly (Romans 8:23) at the conflicts, confusion and sorrow we see in our families and friendships, as well as on social media and the news.

“How long, O Lord? …How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:1-2)

We see racial injustice, divided communities and people competing to be louder than one another. We do not know your perfect reconciliation and your unknowable ways.

As long as we can breathe, we cannot stay silent

We feel like Job, or cry out on behalf of those who feel like Job:

“But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:8-10)

Remind us of our limited understanding, God. Counsel us against following in the footsteps of Job’s friends, in hastening to arrive at reductive explanations for things we are trying to understand. You alone see us in our personal struggles to understand, and you love us regardless.

Lord, help us to see one another as you see us. Help us to listen to one another the way you listen to our innermost thoughts.

Grant us perspective to see things from the eyes of our neighbours and walk in their shoes. Give us courage not to shy away from difficult conversations.

Guide us to give value to the lived experience of others. Give us grace to sit with feelings of discomfort, guilt and anger, and restrain us from reacting in heated emotion. Cleanse our hearts of judgement and vitriol.

In a crowd of noise, let’s lend a thoughtful voice

Unconditional love led your only Son to the Cross – what have we to offer as we try to reflect Him?

Father, as we engage with others, we invite you to preside over these exchanges. Shape our words with your love and our humility.

“Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.” (Psalm 51:14)

Help us not to think of ourselves too highly than we ought, but to examine ourselves with sober judgment, measuring ourselves by the faith we have been given (Romans 12:3). Form in us a broken and contrite heart with which we can adore you and love our brothers and sisters.

We ask for mercy when we repent, and the grace to ask for forgiveness from our neighbours when we have sinned against them. Bring your healing to broken relationships and fractured communities.

Convict us to new forms of radical love. Be our light in seeking new ways to build bridges and inviting unlikely people into our lives as Jesus did.

Challenge us, Lord, for to follow you is to be constantly challenged. When we make mistakes, as we inevitably will, help us to forgive ourselves as you forgive us.

Let our only continuing debt be this: to love another as ourselves (Romans 13:8). For love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). This is bigger and more important than we can bear.

God, we need you more than ever.

THINK + TALK

  1. What injustices do you see around you and how does that make you feel?
  2. How might God be using you to reflect His nature where you are today?
  3. What is your own prayer to God?