A Prayer of Lament Over Racism and Injustice

Below is a prayer of lament over the recent acts of racism, injustice, and violence in the United States.


A lament is a prayer searching for understanding and peace in the midst of suffering or disheartening circumstances. The Old Testament psalmists and prophets wove many such prayers of lament into their writings. Below is a prayer of lament over the recent acts of racism, injustice, and violence in the United States.

Heavenly Father,

Hear our pleas, O Lord!

Our sorrows run deep. Our pain is pervasive. Tears coat our countenance. The cascading of troublesome circumstances is relentless.

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. David Dorn. Natalia Wallace.

Five more names.

We deeply grieve the murders and deaths of your precious image bearers, as we know you share in this pain. Lord, our nation, our world, reels from these grave injustices. Our black brothers and sisters all over the world are especially affected by this persistent historically grim reality. Their trauma is real. Be with them, Lord, help us to be with them, too.

In our frailties, in our follies, forgive us for not ensuring that all people are treated with dignity, worth, and significance. Forgive us, as your priestly representatives, for advocating apathy and cultivating complicity through silence. Create in us a clean heart, O LORD, renew in us a right spirit. You have given us a divine mandate to speak for the oppressed, to strive for justice, to love mercy. Help us to ensure the question of "Who is my neighbor?" reverberates in our minds and hearts.

Lord, light our path. Guide us through the labyrinth of iniquities in each of our own hearts. Let not our righteous pursuits of justice become a poison pill, but help us to retain virtuous motives. Let not our speech be crass and condemning, but seasoned with grace and truth. Give us wisdom to know when to speak, and humility to know when to listen.

We live in a world unlike that of Jesus’. Our individualistic comforts, often overshadow our communal imperatives. Help us Lord, as the Church, to love each other. To serve each other. To bear each other’s burdens. As we interact, help us to extend grace when mistakes are made and when wrong comments are uttered. Just as your Son tendered grace to us in our rebellion, let us not forsake his example.

Father we recognize police officers who put their lives on the line for our protection. Who daily risk injury and death for our welfare. Protect their hearts and bodies, Lord. Forgive us if we have not shown our appreciation for their sacrificial efforts. Please mend the chasm of confusion that persists.

How long, O Lord? Whatever the length of time, we will not drown in despair, for our hearts are buoyed by faith. Guide us in your truth and teach us, for you are God our Savior, and our hope is in you all day long. Let the love of Christ compel us into community and conversation. Let his examples burden us with the need to enter into each other’s pain and suffering. Help us to bring the things of heaven to earth.

Your word will not return void. Your love engulfs all evil. You are our gracious and wise Creator, to whom else should we turn? Help us, Heavenly Father, to offer the same living water to others, that you mercifully offered to us.

Grace and Peace

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