Father, we acknowledge we are not in control and we need you. We are grieving, we are hurting, we are restless, we are frustrated, we are angry. Our world is in turmoil and we turn to you. Lord, pour out your peace even as we grieve over the raging violence and the merciless injustice that has taken the lives of beloved image bearers.
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace.
Make us instruments of your peace, fill our minds with intellectual humility so we might have ears to hear the hard truths of racial injustice in our cities (and community) focused toward our African-American brothers and sisters. Fill us with love and compassion, which births in acts of faithfulness as did Job who said: “I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist him. I put on righteousness as my clothing (a justice that makes things right); justice was my robe and turban (a justice that punishes wrong doers).”
Help us to live speaking up for the voiceless as Proverbs 31:8 says “Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Enable us to live out God’s words through the prophets who say: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressors the one who has been robbed.’”
Let us, the people of God, live out a generous, risky, and costly justice, “Doing good to all people, especially the family of faith” as Paul commands. Help us to be found in the seat of the Good Samaritan, doing everything in our power to love sacrificially those unable to lift themselves.
Lord, Jesus, keep us from simple thinking which would brush aside the legitimate complaints of these communities of color because bad actors loot and burn buildings. LORD, by your Spirit, help us to answer this question: “Do we meet the needs of our neighbors with the same joy, energy, and fastidiousness which we meet our own needs every day?”
Remind us that faith isn’t simply private, it requires two things: costly obedience and public action. Give us strength to lovingly step into this moment. Lord heal our land and bring peace to our own community.
We rejoice that you did not leave us comfortless, but sent the Holy Spirit. On this Pentecost Sunday, we are desperate for the Holy Spirit to fill us, to renew and restore us, to comfort us, to shed light on our sin… so we would be cleansed and found ministering your peace and justice to the least of these… and remind us of Easter’s hope and power!
Jesus, you taught us to pray “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and today we pray that fervently. Amazingly, you have trusted us to advance your kingdom. You gave us Jesus’ words and example to show us the way.
But it is hard, Lord. You asked us to do hard things. You asked us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Holy Spirit, we need you to fill us with your power because though we like the idea, it’s hard to do when it costs us something, when we need to give up what we consider “ours” in order to love others. Help us to love like Jesus who gave up what was his for us.
But you asked even more when you asked us to love our enemies. Love those we hate? Love those who harm us? Love those we disagree with? O God, how we need the Holy Spirit to show us the way of love. Illumine our hearts and purify them so that when we speak, our words, which show the abundance of our hearts, will be words of love.
We confess we have failed in loving as you taught us. As we look at our actions, our words, our thoughts, we see our deep need of your mercy and forgiveness to cleanse us. Lord, have mercy.
Holy Spirit, you are the great comforter, equipper and encourager for every good deed. Guide us.
Lord, Jesus, have mercy and make your church, your people, into agents of humility, justice, and peace…for the glory of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the flourishing of all humanity.