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A few years ago I wrote this prayer for Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday. I have since expanded it and have shared it with the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America to be used in their resources. Feel free to use in your congregation or community service.
God of Deborah and Samuel,
God of Anna and Simeon,
God of all the prophets, we honor our prophets of old and our prophets of today. We honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who called out for Your justice and righteousness for all people, but especially those who were oppressed because of racism and white supremacy. We remember how he put his own life on the line, dying in the struggle for freedom from oppression for all God’s children. We remember all of the prophets, from Biblical times to today, who cried out for the oppressed. We cry out with the prophets:
for orphans and widows
for Black Lives
for disabled persons
for the Irish and Italians of New York and Boston
for those who are poor
for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people
for transgender individuals
for those who are homeless
for different racial and ethnic minorities
for religious minorities
for those who speak different languages and have different cultures
–for all people who have been marginalized.*
In this time, we lift up the names of our own prophets, those who have felt the movement of the Spirit compel them to work for justice. Names such as Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, and Oscar Romero. But there are lesser known prophets among us who have worked for justice, and we lift up their names in this time:**
Lord, we give You thanks for the prophets who have raised their voice and put their lives on the line on behalf of Your people. We mourn their loss and pray for all of our prophets. God, stir in us the call to speak out when we see injustice, to act where there is injustice on behalf of all who suffer from oppression. Grant us Your courage and strength to do Your work, for You know each of us, You know our strengths and our challenges, and You call each of us to justice, forgiveness, and love. In the name of Christ, we give honor and thanks for those that have gone before us, and we pray for our prophets today. Amen and Amen.
*this list can be read responsively, or divided up among readers.
**optional, but allow for time for people to lift up the names of prophets in their lives.