God of Unity, Justice, and Peace, we turn to you with all hope and expectation, trusting you to hear and hold our prayers, which echo those prayed by our South African siblings in Christ.
We believe that the unity of the people of God must be manifested and be active in a variety of ways: in that we love one another; that we experience, practice and pursue community with one another; that we are obligated to give ourselves willingly and joyfully to be of benefit and blessing to one another; that we share one faith, have one calling, are of one soul and one mind; have one God and Father, are filled with one Spirit, are baptized with one baptism, eat of one bread and drink of one cup, confess one name, are obedient to one Lord, work for one cause, and share one hope.
And so we pray for our nation, its communities, institutions, and families that are longing for unity. We pray for the courage to fight against all that may threaten or hinder unity in you. We pray for the acceptance of the variety and uniqueness with which you created us, and for the joy that comes in celebrating the diversity and differences you have ordained and blessed with the words of creation: It is Good.
And we believe that God has revealed Godself as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people; we believe that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged;
we believe that God calls the church to follow him in this; for God brings justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry; we believe God frees the prisoner and restores sight to the blind; we believe that God supports the downtrodden, protects the stranger, helps orphans and widows and blocks the path of the ungodly; we believe that for God pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their suffering;
and so we pray for the church and it’s people. Give us open minds, hearts, and spirits that we might learn what it is to do good and seek justice. We pray for people in any form of suffering and need, and we pray for the strength to stand with them and the humility to learn from them, so that justice may roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
We believe that God has entrusted the church with the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ; that the church is called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, that the church is called blessed because it is a peacemaker,
And so we pray with confidence in the one whose lifegiving Word and Spirit has conquered the powers of sin and death, and therefore also of irreconciliation and hatred, bitterness and enmity. And we pray that your lifegiving Word and Spirit would enable the church to live in a new obedience which can open new possibilities of life for society and the world. We pray for hearts that have been broken by persistent oppression and hearts that have chosen hatred and the lie of white supremacy. We pray that by your grace we might be agents of your reconciling power, bringing peace and healing in your name.
We believe in the triune God, (Belhar Confession, Article 1) Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gathers, protects and cares for the church through Word and Spirit. This, God has done since the beginning of the world and will do to the end. We send these prayers to you, along with those we keep in the secret, sacred places of our hearts, praying together the prayer Jesus taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
–Adapted from the Belhar Confession (1986) by Rev. Hannah Lovaglio