As America’s 2023 Black History Month theme “Black Resistance” explores how “African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings,” may followers of Jesus repent of their complicity with these harms and seek to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Micah 6:8
We pray that our local, state and federal governments implement strategic zoning and policy changes to remedy disparities that negatively impact communities of color.
Guide the wealthy nations of the world to see their responsibility to address worldwide climate change and its impact on developing nations like Bangladesh, Kenya, island nations in the South Pacific, and equatorial nations of the world.
Lord, may we consider our neighbors who do not have cars when we advocate for public transportation, bicycle lanes, or access to bus routes. Even in simple actions such as clearing sidewalks of snow and debris we show consideration of those who have limited resources.
Thank you for the Classis Grand Rapids East Racial Justice team which is sponsoring a special viewing of the movie “Till” which tells the true story of Mamie Till-Bradley, an educator and activist who pursued justice after the murder of her 14-year-old son Emmett in 1955. May his story continue to inspire change.
As COS members gather over a common meal today, we are grateful for this opportunity to engage and learn more about each other, especially those who come from different backgrounds than ours.
The COS Prisoners in Christ (PinC) Restorative Justice team acknowledges our partnership with the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) “Locked in Solidarity” week (Feb. 5-11, 2023.) May the injustices of our country’s criminal justice system, where people of color are over-represented and excessively sentenced, be exposed and dismantled.
We pray that prison systems throughout the world become places where people are healed and transformed, not punished, and treated as human beings who are capable of change when given opportunities and shown love.
Creator God, use the Calvin Symposium on Worship sessions on Indigenous Wisdom and Christian Practice, and Worship Music from Africa and the African Diaspora, to educate and inspire church leaders from around the globe who attend this annual event.
Lord, we thank you for the increasing number of children’s books with diverse characters and storylines. We pray that all children in school will see people of their backgrounds and cultures presented positively in their classrooms.
We pray for the people in our city who have no health insurance as well as for those whose work is currently focused on this inequity. Give them insight and wisdom to find solutions.
Bless the gathering of Camelot Community Partners congregations and others who meet today at Oakdale Park Church to consider a Christian response to racism. As COS engages in deep listening with other institutions, including Coit Community Church, may we become aware of the harm caused by the theft of wealth, truth and power from African-Americans and seek to repair that harm.
We thank God for President Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday can remind us of the need to proclaim Emancipation every day and in many ways. “Now to Him who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, to Him be the glory now and forever.” Ephesians 3:20
Grant wisdom and courage to those who are weary from jobs that are not satisfying. May those who work in our schools, prisons and hospitals contribute to the well-being of all – especially those who are often inadequately served.
On this Valentine’s Day, we are reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision to “stick with love.” Thank you for the example of Martin and Coretta Scott King’s mutually supportive marriage that continues to inspire couples from all backgrounds. “Let love be genuine. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:9-21
Children in Grand Rapids are more likely to live in poverty than those countywide. We pray for access to good medical care, for delicious and healthy food, for areas to play and run – for a healthy environment for all our city’s children.
Representatives from Classis GR East churches and several other congregations gather this evening at First Community African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church for a Together West Michigan Delegates Assembly. May God bless this growing movement that seeks to build bridges and teach civic engagement.
Father, we pray for those children and families who have experienced trauma of all types, but especially those related to race. May they have teachers, counselors, neighbors and friends who are able to support them in their day-to-day lives.
Lord, whatever our race, ethnicity, background or beliefs, prick our conscience when we are tempted to dismiss, demonize, or discredit someone who is different from us in any way. Give us courage to keep pressing on when systems or problems seem hopeless or insurmountable.
Lord, bless Joseph Kuilema, visiting professor in the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University, in his work and as he speaks in today’s God’s People Seeking (GPS) session about “Policing and Public Safety: Why are so many young Black men killed by police in the United States?” Help us to learn and grow.
When police and social service providers use a restorative rather than a punitive approach, victims of crime have opportunity to heal from their trauma, regardless of stereotypes, past mistakes, social and economic status. Let us pray and work for restorative justice.
Forgive us for allowing our society to develop a negative environment for the unborn and their mothers. We pray about the difficulties of pregnancy for Black women. May we be motivated by great sorrow to change our ways, to loathe the sin that caused this systemic injustice.
On Washington’s birthday, and this Ash Wednesday, we ask for forgiveness for our nation’s history of rape of women of color. The sins of the fathers, including our founding fathers, have been passed on to the descendants of slaves and slave-owners. May we see the truth about generational trauma and work together to heal the wounds of bodies, hearts, and minds.
Dear Lord, protect and strengthen those whose hearts and minds are worn down by the struggle of navigating a racially-charged world. Help us to be mindful of that burden and care for each other well.
We share our grief for communities across the state of Michigan and within Kent County, especially communities of color, as they deal with the impact of PFAS, and respond to the negative environmental impact on their air, water, ground and even paint in their homes.
We intercede for the people who work within our health care systems. Give them compassion, vision and a commitment to serve all people in our community. We pray for the designers of any new programs, that these new plans and designs will serve all people groups well.
As children gather in church school classes, may they learn more about the beauty and wonder of God’s creation, the gifts of God given through the variety of God’s people, and the call to love one another as God has loved us.
Spring Break begins for many today. May those who travel to places far and near develop an understanding, compassion and connection with those living in different places and situations.
Thank you, Lord, for the COS Anti-Racism team and the Prisoners in Christ Restorative Justice team. May their efforts to serve, educate and advocate remind each other, the COS congregation and the larger Grand Rapids area community that we are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation. (Colossian 1:19)