Jesus, you are all-knowing. You see everything. You know the truth of every situation.
Jesus, America is in pain! Injustice, hatred, and racism are just a few things that have created a tense environment amongst those who live in this country. This country has a dark history of crimes against humanity. A dark history of blatant disrespect of men and women you created. A history of hatred of various features of the body like skin melanin, hair texture, the shapes of eyes, the shapes and sizes of the nose, the color and width of lips. All these things that you fearfully and wonderfully created and called beautiful, we hated. We thought we had the authority to undo your creation even to the point where we tried dehumanizing human beings. We bought and sold human beings as animals. We created laws and legislatures put into writing that human beings were no longer human beings. Lord Jesus, forgive our country!
The injustice, the rioting, the profiling, the quiet hatred, the aggravation, the anxiety, the hardness of hearts, the defensiveness, the offensiveness, the tension that we are feeling in current America reminds me of Jeremiah’s observation in the book of Lamentations 5:7 when he said, “Our fathers sinned, and are no more; and we bear their iniquities.”
But we thank you Jesus! Isaiah 53 reminds us that before any of the sins of America were committed, You who are perfect, were despised and rejected by mankind. Your physical appearance was also not desirable by men. You were a man of suffering and you were very familiar with pain. You were despised and hated. We thought you were one who was punished by God. You were oppressed and afflicted. Oppression and judgment took you away and no one protested against it. You were assigned a grave as one who is wicked, though you had done no violence. No deceit was found in your mouth. You were perfect. You are perfect. You were pierced for our transgressions; you were crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement that was placed upon you brought us peace, and with your wounds, YOUR stripes, we are healed! Thank you for rising from the grave. We thank you, Jesus, for your forgiveness. We thank you for making us heirs. Galatians 4:7 tells us ”You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Thank you for this grace!
We pray for healing in this country. Heal the racial wounds that are still sensitive to the touch. Eliminate the offense that we hold in our hearts. Heal our broken hearts. Quench our anger with your love. Quench the irritation with your patience and peace. Heal our broken souls with forgiveness.
Show us how to extend your forgiveness towards others. Bless our country with your overflowing love that is infectious to all. Fill our hearts with love.
Jesus, remind us to submit to authority, and to submit to one another. We are to submit ourselves one to another out of reverence for you, Jesus. Lord, we know there will be times when we will be treated unfairly and, unfortunately, it may be because of our race. Remind us not to repay evil for evil but to the contrary, to bless. 1 Peter 2:20 -23 says “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”
Jesus, teach us to trust you. Remind us that you are in control and that vengeance is not ours, but yours. Romans 12:19 says, “Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.””
Jesus, in addition to love, what our country needs most right now is compassion for one another. Pain is expressed in many ways. Break our hearts with what breaks yours. Jesus you commanded that we love our neighbor as ourselves. Remind us to bear one another’s burdens. Our neighbor’s problem is our problem. Let us not close our eyes and ears to the pain of others, but remind us to comfort them with your love.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Lord, we thank you for dying for us and blessing us with a new identity. Galatians 3:28 reminds us that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Jesus, if we are no longer male or female, then surely we are no longer Black or White, or Asian, or Latino, or any other ethnicity we may have physically been born into. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Our prayer is that we do not try to reclaim our old identity, even though the world may try to force it upon us. Ephesians 4:22 reminds us to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”
As we hear about racially charged events, may we be reminded at all times who we are and whom we belong to. Jesus, it is so easy for us to follow our flesh and remember old wounds which cause us to pick sides, lash out, speak inappropriately, lose compassion, and close our ears to hurting hearts. We pray that in those times we be reminded of the instructions given in Colossians 3:1 – 8 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these things you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
Jesus, we pray for those who are not believers who are trapped in the faux identity of race, hatred, flesh, and sin; that they come to you, Jesus, and repent of their sins and accept you as their Lord and Savior, so that they too can finally be free. Romans 8:1 tells us that “there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.” Jesus you told us in John 3:3 that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Holy Spirit, we ask that you create in the unbeliever a sense of urgency and let them come now while they still have breath, and lay at your feet as sinners, but rise as the righteous, who call you Lord.
With sincere hearts, we praise you and ask all of these things in your Holy, precious name, Jesus!
Christ Fellowship member