I wrote and prayed this Prayer of Confession tonight. While I was on mission trip last week Rev. Dr. Andy Mangum, Pastor, First Christian Church, Arlington, Texas called asking me to participate in the prayer vigil. Andy is a dear friend and colleague in ministry, he knows I’ll say “yes” to him if my calendar is open. He’s also the one who gave me the Prayer of Confession. There were 7 ministers and the Mayor of Arlington with a Community Choir and Praise Dancers.
“Rising From the Tragedy” (Churches of Arlington) Prayer Vigil for Mother Emanuel AME Church, June 22, 2015 @ 7:00 pm, College Park Center, University of Texas at Arlington
Prayer of Confession
by Rev. Dr. Sarah E. Howe Miller, Ph. D., Pastor, UMC of the Covenant
O God we confess that we have failed to love you with our whole hearts. We have not done your will. We have been more willing to pray prayers of confession than to love our neighbors as ourselves. We confess that we have not been willing to use our voices and our power to bring about racial justice and equality for our sisters and brothers so all of your children can be safe and valued without regard for their skin color or neighborhood or the building where they worship. We confess that we have jumped to conclusions about mental status or religious upbringing without regard to facts in evidence allowing the media to spin us based on race.
O God, we are praying people but we want to be people who put our prayers into action. Send your Holy Spirit to convict us of our complacency and move us to use the power we do have on behalf of those who need to be heard. Help us raise the voices of those who have been ignored or silenced for too long. We cannot sit by while our sisters and brothers continuously suffer and die. Call us out of our pews and our churches where we pray for peace and make us peacemakers. Put us into action.
O God, let us be the ones who work with You so that “justice rolls like a river, and righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24) Let us be the bearers of grace and mercy with love written on our hearts. Let us be the healers of suffering and pain with humbleness born of sorrow. Let us be the partners of equality and justice with respect for those weary from the fight.
O God may the call of the prophets for justice so long ago resound within us so we turn toward you working to dismantle systemic racism, working to bring justice, continuing the work you have already begun, joining our voices with those already speaking and shouting. May our tears of grief and our prayers for comfort accompany those of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and all those affected by the shooting knowing that we are the Body of Christ joined with the great Cloud of Witnesses who have gone before us.
O God, we give you thanks for all the ways you give us strength in our weakness, comfort in our sorrow, and hope in our times of grief and loss. You are our Rock and our Fortress. We do not need to be afraid knowing that you are an ever present help. We lift up this prayer with the assurance of your grace and forgiveness through the gift of your Son and the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.