Racism is a problem we can’t ignore or run away from. It’s an issue today, and it was an issue throughout history, including when the Bible was written.
Racism is about making quick judgments on the characteristics of a race to rate them as inferior or superior—demonstrating partiality or bias.
Paul, one of the early church’s leaders, wrote about divisions caused by racism.
Rather than telling Christians to ignore the discrimination against Gentiles, Paul addressed it head on: “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” (Romans 10:12).
Other people don’t determine our value; God does. God brings peace where there was once strife, and kindness where there was once animosity.
Neh 1:6 “Let your ear be attentive & your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day & night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned.”
Lord, please make me aware of the past. Help me to see the effects of past generation's sinful discrimination practices & continue to address & repair the effects of those sins. I pray for generations not to pass on patterns of prejudice or hatred but instead break these cycles by acknowledging & condemning the sins of the past & leading this & the next generations into righteousness. Give us all wisdom on how to move forward in justice, equality, peace, respect, & love, viewing every person as the bearer of your image.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings & all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful & quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, & it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.”
God, we know That people in high positions are especially vulnerable to corruption. God would you affirm & bless the men & women who are currently serving with godly character, integrity, & courage. Please expose & remove anyone serving with corruption in our justice system & law enforcement. Father deal justly with any use of power used to oppress, discriminate, racially profile, or use excessive force. Christ, would you redeem any sin and corruption that humanity's fallen state has caused in law enforcement that we may be able to lead peaceful, quiet & godly lives.
James 2: 1-4, 8-9
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring & fine clothing comes into your assembly, & a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, & if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing & say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves & become judges with evil thoughts? If you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin & are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
Lord, does this apply to me? Search me & know my heart, if you find any false way in me, root it out! Do I think more highly of myself because of my actions, my heritage, my righteousness? Do I think better of myself because of others' unrighteousness? Do I identify with my race, culture, & people more than I identify with your unified church? Do I favor people that I think are better in some way? Lord, renew my mind! Don’t let me think more highly of myself than I ought. Every person is in need of your grace, so help me to be an ambassador of your truth to all in love, grace, & humility.
Father, may I find great comfort in knowing that our tears are precious to you. Paul gives me an invitation to weep with those who weep. When I share the lament of those afflicted by racism I am better able to have empathy for their pain. Many people of color in the church & the world are feeling misunderstood, alienated & anxious; would you help me to devote myself to understand & to bear their burdens. Show me how to reflect your tenderness & attentive, listening ear to those marginalized & discriminated against because of the color of their skin. I pray that many hearts would be healed through your church lamenting with those deeply affected by the sins of racism, & allying with them in the holy work of racial equity.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.
Lord, we lift up to you our Police force. First, we pray for their motivation and hope. We pray that you would help each officer to know deeply that they are called by you to bring about order and restrain evil for the good of everyone. Let this be an encouragement and truth to hold fast to in the midst of opposition and persecution. Second, we pray for their safety. As our officers willingly run towards danger and lawlessness on our behalf, protect them, Lord. Protect and comfort their families while they work, help them to cast their fears on you and not be anxious. We pray for hope for officers. As they encounter evil daily, give them hope in you: hope that you will make all things new one day, hope that you are the ruler over all, and hope that you offer new life to all who believe in you and confess you are Lord. God, we plead with you for wisdom to know how to traverse the current climate. Give leaders as well as individual officers patience, love, and wisdom to make decisions and interact graciously. Thank you, Lord, for the order, justice, and protection that you provide us through our law enforcement officers.