Editor’s Note: Something we often say at U?WP is that “if we want to see racial justice, we must do more than pray, but we cannot do less.” This comes in the spirit of what civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer said: “You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.” Amen! We understand why people think prayer is not enough, especially when it’s used as a platitude from folks offering hollow “thoughts and prayers.” But when we’re talking about real prayer—approaching the throne of grace with confidence in the name and authority of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are talking about something powerful and necessary. And so Francis Grimké said: “It is a serious matter…when any body of people, however few, betake themselves not to revolt but to prayer.” Our sister Karen Ellis powerfully exhorted us to take up this serious matter. With her permission, we’ve produced the exhortation here to help you deal with Racial Tragedy.
People will mock those who prioritize prayer.
Gather and pray anyway.
Gathering to pray with people of peace is life-giving.
Kingdom-centered prayers are life-giving.
Healing prayers for the Church and her unity are life-giving.
Prayers for the fearful are life-giving.
Prayers for peaceful officers and military are life-giving.
Prayers for business owners to be made whole is life-giving.
Prayers for the criminal elements, looters and opportunists are life-giving.
Prayers for those who lust and plan for violence and destruction are life-giving.
Prayers for hearts in cities, suburbs, and rural towns alike are life-giving.
Prayers to see how God is moving in the midst of destruction are life-giving.
Prayers for civic leaders are life-giving.
Prayers to quell violence and destruction are life-giving.
People will mock you for prioritizing prayer. They will mock you for organizing concerted times prayer together with other Christians.
Expect to be mocked by people outside the church and, surprisingly, by people inside the Church.
Don’t let that stop you.
To hear more from Karen Ellis, listen to our interview with her here.