A Prayer of Hope for 2018
Praying for Perseverance, Resilience and Hope in the New Year
The year 2017 has drawn to a close, and many of us step into 2018 with trepidation and caution. Christians of color have been confronted with many challenges, struggles, and frustrations this past year. Yet, in our feelings of hopelessness, we can pray to the God of hope unfailing.
The year 2017 has drawn to a close and we now step into 2018, many of us with trepidation and caution. Christians of color have been confronted with manifold challenges, struggles, and frustrations as we navigate the Christian spheres and contemplate our identity and relationship with White Evangelicalism.
In the past year, we’ve seen with our own eyes the continued police brutality against Black men and women, the unabashed uprising of white nationalism and supremacy, and the marginalization of people of color from places of influence, power, and respect. The “world out there” isn’t any shades darker than the “church in here,” as Christians of color have watched White Evangelicals exchange morality, honor, and a faithful witness to the world for political power and self-preservation.
Black lives and Black bodies still do not matter. #MeToo and #ChurchToo are low-priority matters. Several of us have made an exodus out of White Evangelicalism in search of a better home where our image-bearing selves are treasured rather than tokenized. For those of us who remain within the fold, labels, insults, and insinuations have become all too familiar when we speak up about racial equity, justice, and diversity.
We are tired. We are spent. The well of patience has run dry for many of us. Straddling between two worlds is a tiresome endeavor, and so often, we are made to feel more like sojourners and exiles from our brothers and sisters than the unbelieving world.
That is why we pray, my fellow Christians of color. We pray with hands that cannot hold on any longer, knees that shake from exhaustion, and hearts on the verge of breaking. We pray to Him—the One who is able to do far above and beyond what we can even dare or imagine. Our loving Father bends low His ear to hear our groans.
Let us pray.
God of hope unfailing,
We lift our voices, our hearts, and our hands to You, knowing that You have made every part of us for Yourself. You are the God who has penned His image like masterpiece calligraphy on our souls and bodies. There is not an inch of who we are that does not reflect the brilliance of the glory that You are. You have made the people from the ends of the earth stream in to worship You through Your Son. For all who call upon the name of Jesus, we are a new creation. The blood poured for us on the cross binds us with brothers and sisters more than the blood which flows in our own veins.
Yet, Lord, around us darkness dwells—a world that suppresses this truth in unrighteousness and hides away from the light. Greed, malice, anger, hatred, self-pursuit, and self-preservation are the excuses people make to trample upon fellow humans. Selfish hearts plot with other selfish hearts to make systems and structures of selfish pursuits.
Our hearts break, O Lord, because brothers and sisters who call on the name of Jesus practice these things, too. Those who should consider the family in Christ supreme have made their own familial bonds ultimate. Those who should care for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the refugees care instead for their own well-being. Those privileged with a voice to cry foul of the injustices of this world simply look away and move along. Charity toward followers of Jesus is replaced with suspicion, slander, and gossip.
Many of us come to You, Father, with bruises and tears. Some visible, and some invisible, but we know that Your eyes see them when others cannot, and Your heart breaks for them when others remain cold. Many of us come with fear as we look to another year. We are afraid of what may become of people like us who don’t have power, influence, and respect in this nation. We are afraid of what people in power can do to the unprotected when left unchecked.
So we ask, in the name of Jesus, for hope unfailing this coming year. Grant to us eyes to see the world around us with clarity, and yet with a lucid vision of Your promise to act and intervene. Give us the faith of Noah who saw swirling storms and heard snarling jeers, yet placed his hand into Yours in hope of a better tomorrow. Hear us like You heard Israel in her groans of slavery and liberate us from the shackles of oppression here and now. Answer our forsakenness with the voice of the Forsaken whose kingdom of righteousness will reign now as well as later.
You cannot deny yourself and You cannot change, and that is why we can cling to Your promises. You promise that not only justice in the world to come, but justice here and now will roll down like waters. You can bend the hearts of kings and make them bow low in dust and ashes. You can remove lampstands from faithless churches and rekindle smoldering wicks.
We believe; help our unbelief. Help us live in hope with patience, longsuffering, and resolve. Help us speak the truth boldly with a prophetic witness to our family, friends, and neighbors, and help us live out our confession in acts of service and love. Give us arms that are strong to heap coals of blessings and kindness upon our enemies. Help us to forgive as we have been forgiven. Give us faithfulness to Your Word, liberality in our love, and wisdom in our witness as we seek Your kingdom first and its righteousness.
We step forward into a new year not in our own strength, but in Yours. Meet our fears with Your unfailing hope, and lead us in Your paths of righteousness.
All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
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