Hey everyone, welcome back to Serenity in The Spirit! Things seem to be returning back to a small degree of normality and I hope you and your families are keeping well through it all.
This is the second post in a series where I discuss racial injustice from a Christian perspective. If you haven’t read about my personal experiences and initial thoughts on the topic, you can do so here.
As a Christian, I believe prayer is the backbone and starting point for handling this issue (and all other issues in this world), but it’s worth noting I also believe prayer can and should be followed by action. This is the reason that I, as well as millions of others, have been posting and raising awareness on social media. It is not a waste of time (as I have heard some people say) but an opportunity to follow our prayers with action just as we are called to do (James 2:17). If you are a Christian currently doing nothing about this issue (whether that be raising awareness online, having those difficult conversations in real life, signing petitions or something else), I encourage you to consider this: many of us believe it is only God who can save souls but does that mean we should simply pray to God and let Him do the rest? What’s the point of me writing words on this blog and creating other content if I’ll “never make a difference by posting on social media”? Hopefully you can see why I believe the argument of prayer alone does not wash. God can use us to make a difference so long as we are prayerful about how we act.
Before I delve into some tips about how we can use the weapon of prayer to fight this battle, I think it’s important to explain why this battle must be first fought with prayer rather than action. Racism is born out of a deep hatred in someone’s heart and it is a learned behaviour often spanning many generations prior. This is hard to breakdown and eradicate through conversations alone, there’s always some sort of rebuttal (no matter how ignorant). The opposite of hate is love and the bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). This means God is the only way to overcome hatred in this world and He tells us that if we have any requests, we should make them known to Him (Philippians 4:6). This post aims to help you if you are struggling with what to say to the One who can make the biggest difference.
So, how and where to begin? I think our conversations with God about this topic should span these 3 main areas:
Many of us have seen the horrific video of George Floyd's last moments, or other racially sparked injustices by the police. You may have even experienced racism yourself or know someone who has and, as a result, you may be feeling angry, hurt, upset and even overwhelmed. I just want to say that it is not a sin to have any of these feelings, what can be sinful is the way we allow these feelings to effect us. It is therefore incredibly important that we pray for God to heal our hearts from this hurt. We must pray and ask that our hearts are not hardened towards those who have hurt us and especially that we do not group all people together as a result of the actions of a smaller group. In the sermon I shared at the end of my last post, Pastor Purazeni reminds us that we should not let our emotions take over. This is true for all of our emotions no matter what causes them.
I thank You that You are a God who cares for me and I thank You that You have the power to do what seems impossible. In my anger/hurt/upset right now I pray asking for You to remind me of the Joy of Your Spirit that is not dependent on the situations I find myself in but the constant truth of who You are. Please help me to remain Christ-like in my reactions to what I have seen and experienced. Soften my heart that I may remember and display to those who have hurt me the love You have for me even when I get things wrong myself. In Jesus' name,
You may be thinking "what have I done?", "Why should I ask for forgiveness?", "I'm not racist". The forgiveness is not for you, it is for those who are racist and have this hatred in their hearts. Just before He died on the cross, Jesus asked for forgiveness for those who had persecuted Him and we should have the same hearts towards those who have caused us upset. This is probably the hardest of the 3 areas to pray about but I believe the act of praying for someone is enough to begin to break down those emotions of anger and hurt inside of us. Praying for others also has a spiritual impact on the people we pray for and could even change their hearts. Nothing is impossible for our Lord including exchanging the racist thoughts and actions in someone for a heart of repentance for what they've done and love for everyone.
Thank You that You sent Your son to die on the cross that everyone may have a chance of salvation and forgiveness. I pray for those with racist beliefs and views, help them to see that all of us have been made in Your image. For those who are consciously or unconsciously racist I pray that You please forgive them, transform their hearts that they may realise the error of their ways. I pray for You to touch their lives and break the generational impact of racism, let there be long-lasting, positive change from this moment on. Please forgive me for any hatred in my heart and soften it as I pray for those who I may not want to love right now. Help me to follow Your command of loving my neighbour no matter the circumstances. I thank You for Your grace upon our lives, Lord. In Jesus' Name,
As I mentioned before, prayer should be followed by action and there are many ways to make a positive impact in this anti-racism movement. I listed a number of them at the beginning of this blog so I won't repeat them but I believe God can use each and every single one of us uniquely in this time. Just remember, our actions should not be fueled by negative emotion but instead fueled by our desire to live out God's purpose for our lives.
Thank You that You created me intentionally and that I was born for such a time as this. Please guide me and help me to navigate the world making sure I put You first in everything I do. Show me, oh Lord, how I can help to fight the enemy's strategy of division in this broken world, let me be a light in the darkness and help me to remember that You are always in control. Please help me to be act in love even towards those who may hate me and let Your will be done through my actions and words. Please also stir up those in positions of power to make the changes required for a just society. Thank You Lord that no matter what happens in this world, You have promised an eternity with You, where there will be no more suffering for those who believe. In Jesus' name,
This post was slightly longer than normal, but I think it's really important that we use prayer as our weapon in this spiritual battle especially in these three areas. Let me know if you have been praying about additional areas in regards to this topic or even if you've been struggling to pray about it - I know I was in the beginning.
As always any prayer requests can be left here, we would love to pray for you!
God bless you and take care,
Song of The Post: God I Look to You - Bethel Music, Jenn Johnson