The following is a slightly edited version of the congregational prayer I offered yesterday at University Reformed Church.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
We praise you–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–for your works of creation, election, redemption, and regeneration. We rejoice that even now your name is being praised by believers in China, by brothers in India, by sisters in Guatemala, by saints in Sudan, South Africa, Germany, Dubai, and Iran. All across this country and all around the world–may Jesus Christ be praised.
We thank you for bringing together in your worldwide church men and women and children from every tongue and tribe and language and nation. Through the precious blood of Christ you have called those were far off and have brought them near–not only near to you, but near to each other.
We pray for racial reconciliation in our nation and in our churches. We thank you for all you have done to sustain our African American brothers and sisters through centuries of suffering and mistreatment. Thank you for the opportunity we have in the body of Christ to worship with those who are unlike us in culture, temperament, and background, but like us in faith. Grant that we may be united in truth and abounding in steadfast love.
We pray for those who have been given great blessing and privilege in this life–for all those who enjoy advantages of family, of wealth, of education, and of opportunity. We know that to whom much is given, much is required. May those who fit this description be especially eager to listen and learn from those whose experience may be far different.
Bring healing to this land, O Lord, for the stain and sin that is our history of racial prejudice. We lament the racial bigotry that has taken place in our nation’s past and continues to exist in the present. If ever we have been a part of this sin, have perpetuated this sin, or have turned a blind eye to this sin, we repent and ask for your mercy.
Dear Lord, remove the unhealthy suspicion that so easily creeps into the human heart. Guard us–all of us, of every skin color–against self-justification, against self-righteousness, against a lack of care and compassion for others. Turn away the schemes of the Devil–that fiendish serpent who loves to pull apart those whom Christ has joined together. In the midst of all our differences–of outlook and experience and political inclinations–may we never forget all that we have in common as descendants of the same Adam, as children of the same Fall, and as sinners redeemed by the same Christ.
Give us joy as members of the same family, with Christ our Brother, you our heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit as our inheritance and bond.
Give us a sweet sense of fellowship in this church. Help us not only to be friendly, but to make friends, especially with those who may not think or look just like us.
Give us forgiveness where we have failed you and patience for those who have failed us.
Give us grace to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.
We pray all of this in the name of the one who is Lord over all and the Savior for all–Jesus Christ the Righteous, Amen.
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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition