Racial Reconciliation is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. I've heard it talked about my entire life, attended workshops and conferences on it, and even have taught a few sessions myself. Yet with all of this information it doesn't seem as if we are making much progress towards the goal. Everyday seems to bring with it a different story of injustice and racism, and it can be hard to hold onto the hope that anything will change.
Martin Luther King Jr. is an iconic figure in Amercian history. At the age of 26 this young pastor jumped into the civil rights arena through his leadership with the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. For the next 13 years he fought for peace, for justice, and for freedom. His last speech, given the day before he died, swells with waves of emotion that roll through his years of accomplishments including the protests in Selma, Alabama and the Civil Rights Bill. As he rejoices in the glory of the change he has seen, he says, "....I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!" After the years of sacrifice, loss, imprisonment, death threats, and hate, he still had hope. This Promised Land for Dr.King was his "Beloved Community", a place where, "racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice [would] be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood." For Dr. King hope rested in the the belief that unity was possible. I believe his "Beloved Community" was ultimately an expression of Matthew 6 - God's will being done in heaven as it is on earth. I believe God's will for humanity includes peace, love, unity, and freedom. Our role as ambassadors of Christ is to make God's will a reality on this side of eternity. Yet I also believe, like Jesus, we need to begin this transformation process with prayer.
Amongst all the discouraging new reports I still have hope, not in my own ability to make change, but in the power of my God to change hearts. We need to storm His throne room, petitioning for him to intercede and bring about reconciliation between all ethnicities in our country. Please join with me in praying for God's Kingdom here on earth. Pray that God is able to heal hearts, open minds, and bridge divides that have been present since our nation was born. I'm always a fan of the examples, so below are a few areas and verses to pray as we fight in the spiritual places for our physical aspirations - racial reconciliation. And as you pray stay hopeful, for in the words of Dr. King, "...we will get to the promised land!"
- Pray for repentance for the sins of racism and prejudice in our society, churches, and our own personal lives. - 2 Chronicles 7:14
- Pray for forgiveness by those who have been wronged by those sins. - Ephesians 4:31-32
- Pray for open doors of communication, where conversations can be had with open hearts, devoid of judgement and condemnation. - Ezekiel 36:26, Romans 8:1
- Pray for social change and the governmental leaders who have the power to implement that change. - Micah 6:8, Jeremiah 29:7, I Timothy 2:1-2
- Pray against the work of the enemy who want to keep us divided and at odds.-1 Corinthians 1:10
- Pray for unity and for God to shower down the blessings he promises when unity is present. - Psalm 133