On Monday night my friend, David Swanson, pastor of New Community in Bronzeville, organized a prayer time that included dozens of clergy and hundreds of participants. It was a time of prayer at the Chicago Police Department’s administrative headquarters, prayer specifically and protest generally, insofar as prayer is a particular protestation.
I wanted to follow up to reflect on the action in a few posts. This one is meant to guide my thinking and stepping forward, perhaps, the first being an attempt to sit with and pray with the scriptures informing such prayerful acts.
I invite you to join me in holding some of these heavy words as you pray around some of the sad realities happening in Chicago these days. Where I’ve included only single verses, feel urged to visit the contextual addresses so as to pray more fully.
God said, “I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip…” (Exodus 3:17, MSG)
Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord would be moved to pity by their groaning because of those who persecuted and oppressed them (Judges 2:18, NRSV)
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted (Psalm 77:2, NRSV)
This is what the Lord says: “At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them. Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again (Isaiah 49:8, NLT)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3:22, NRSV)
Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah, the Lord will restore its honor. Israel’s vine has been stripped of branches, but he will restore its splendor (Nahum 2:2, NLT)
And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed.(Zephaniah 3:19, NLT)
…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6, NRSV)
But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ (Luke 10:10-11, NRSV)
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him (Ephesians 1:17, NRSV)
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.(1 Peter 1:6, NLT)