Palm Sunday Prayer: Help us fight the good fight

Palm Sunday Prayer: Help us fight the good fight

Palm Sunday 2021: This is the first prayer in a Holston Conference series for racial justice.


LORD, in our attempts to dismantle racism, give us wisdom, knowledge and understanding to do this difficult task. Help us to fight the good fight, stay on the battlefield and ultimately to win the war.

This path that we are on is not an easy one. Our destination is unknown. We have never witnessed what we are looking for, a nation where the color of one’s skin does not determine one’s social status.

The journey has been long and protracted and yet, we must believe that completion is possible. Help us to see a world where all people are seen as valuable and worthwhile. Help us to open our eyes and to see clearly the path of righteousness: right living, right thinking and right acting. Force us to unpack our baggage filled with stereotypes, privileges and prejudices and travel light.

Give us the strength to wrestle down the densely erected overlocking walls of oppression. Teach us, Lord, to “do our part” to eradicate injustices in this world. Help us to stop worrying about possessions and worldly gain, fame and fortunate, and instead seek to build bridges of inclusion, equity and belonging.

Remind us that we are on a battlefield replete with generational land mines of overarching structural and systemic racism that we keep stepping on. We cannot afford to keep triggering hate and dissension. The battle is not about people, places and things. It is about powers, principalities and economics in high places.

Allow us to concede that racism is a real problem experienced by real people in a real world. We cannot afford to act like it is doesn’t exist or that it is the “other” people’s problem. Help us, oh God, to stop being racist and instead become antiracist. We acknowledge that whatever we don’t fight against, we are fighting for, even in our complicity. Help us to put an end to this collective trauma.

We must stop the intense self-inflicted wounding of our soul. Help us to become one with Christ and be unanimous in our condemnation of racism anywhere and everywhere as IT is contrary to the heart of God and the clear teaching of holy scripture. Search our hearts -- and when you find roots of bitterness, webs of lies and deceits and fissures of antithetical, opposing views and incompatibilities to the word of God -- remove IT quick, fast and in a hurry.

Make our thoughts, words and deeds be pure, holy and acceptable in your sight so that you get the glory out of our lives. Make us one with you and one with one another. Show us that we are more alike than different, and that different isn’t bad.

Create a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us so that we can dismantle the racist systems of oppression that cause strife among us. Help us to see that entitlement is not exclusive and that all God’s children have the right to a life free of oppression. Let the dismantling and deconstruction of racism begin with us, in our homes, in our churches, and in our world. Grant us the strength to overcome the insidious practices of racial discrimination and teach us to be one with each other until we gain the final victory.

Amen.
 

Author

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Sharon Bowers

The Rev. Sharon Bowers is director of the Inclusion & Dialogue Center at Emory & Henry College. She has 30 years of experience in full-time ministry and advocacy for diversity in Holston Conference and The United Methodist Church.