30 Day Prayer Challenge for Ending Racism
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
When we consider all the hatred in our world and the far-reaching pain and destruction racism has caused, it is easy to become overwhelmed. What can we do to stand against such evil? In truth, a lot.
Through prayer, we can enlist help from the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists, God our LORD - the One with the power to change our world and conquer evil with love. Through Christ, He is already advancing against oppression, and He is inviting us, His children, to join Him in this holy mission.
Imagine the healing, the unity and true and lasting change that would come if we, His children, diligently sought His heart and His hand, and together marched steadily forward upon His command.
Here is a 30-day anti-racism prayer challenge to help us keep our eyes on Christ and our hearts surrendered to Him as we trust Him to heal His people and transform our land.
Day 1: Lord, open my eyes.
“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth—” (Psalm 33:13-14, NIV)
How many abuses have I not seen, how many wounds have I quickly passed by, simply because I was not paying attention, or worse, because I didn’t want to see? But I belong to You, El Roi, the God who sees every hurting heart, every oppressive act, and every life lost. Give me Your perspective of this world, the people You so dearly love, but do not just open my eyes, Lord. Give supernatural sight to all of Your children across the globe.
Day 2: Lord, search my heart.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13, NIV)
Lord, I am far too good at self-deception and far too poor at self-evaluation. Show me where pride, hatred, racism, and seeds of disunity have taken root within me. Expose those evils, Lord, as the evil they are, and convict me of every sin. Show me where my words have pierced, my actions marginalized and offended, and my pride hindered me from Your life-giving, church-uniting, heart-healing, and freedom-giving mission.
You, Lord Jesus, died to set captives free—from sin, including the sin of racism, and its effects. Help me to honor Your death by standing against everything and everyone that seeks to enslave and oppress Your precious children.
Day 3: God, help me to listen.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19, NIV)
Lord, close my mouth and open my ears, especially when I am around those who are hurting. Help me to listen, not to reply or defend or discount, but to truly hear and understand. May I be a safe place where my wounded, frightened, and even angry brothers and sisters can share their whole selves, openly and honestly and without filters. And may I listen so intently that I hear not just their words, but also their heart and hurts beneath them.
Day 4: Show me my role.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (Psalms 32:8, ESV)
Lord, I see, understand, and know so very little. I see but a chapter of humanity’s story, while You see the entire saga from beginning to end. I long to be an instrument of healing, grace, truth, and love, but can become paralyzed by my ignorance and uncertainty. I don’t often know what to do or say to address the hate in our world, nor do I know what my hurting friends need to hear most. But You do. Guide me, day by day, word by word, and step by step in Your perfect, life-giving wisdom; reveal my assignment in Your fight against racism.
Day 5: Make me a peacemaker.
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalms 34:14, NIV)
Sometimes I confuse the absence of conflict with peace. When I do, I am tempted to avoid hard conversations or making difficult decisions. Remind me that true biblical peace speaks of a state of health where relationships, circumstances, and systems are as they should be. As Your child, called to be a peacemaker, may I seek health in our nation’s institutions and organizations as well.
Day 6: Help me build bridges.
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14, NIV)
Lord Jesus, when You walked on earth, You continually destroyed barriers Your children had erected. You sought out the marginalized and condemned all forms of oppression. While first century Jews needlessly lengthened their journey to avoid the Samaritans, the bi-racial people-group of that day, You intentionally entered a Samaritan village to form a connection with one of its residents. When the “learned” leaders devalued women and excluded them from intellectual conversations, you invited them close and spoke dignity to the depths of their hearts.
But most importantly, through Your death and resurrection You created an entirely new people group, a royal priesthood, and a united family, bound to one another by Your blood. Help us to reveal the power of the gospel by living in unity with one another and actively fighting to break every barrier that exists between us.
Day 7: Help me see the beauty in diversity.
“I praise You because [all humanity is] fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14, NIV)
Lord, we are not and do not seek to be “colorblind” any more than we would deny the variety of fragrant flowers on a hillside or radiant fish in our ocean’s coral reefs. You handcrafted each one of us to reflect Your beauty and brilliance to the world.
Remove everything that distorts and deceives, including the sin within me, so that my eyes have become sharpened and clear. Help me to view all of your children as valuable, deeply loved expressions of You, and may I praise You, the master artist, for each one. Open the eyes of my friends, coworkers, and family members as well to the beauty revealed in each human soul.
Day 8: Help me speak truth in love.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)
Lord, love without truth is dangerous, and truth without love is destructive. But love and truth combined can lead to incredible transformation. Each day, whether on social media or in person, I encounter numerous people who don’t understand, don’t see, deny, and even some who inflict the pain in our world. I have heard statements that suggest a lack of understanding I find concerning, and I know my words, at times, have revealed the same. May I speak against sin, oppression, deception, and falsehood whenever I see it, but may I do so with gentleness and grace.
Day 9: Jesus, banish the forces of evil.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)
Scripture tells us a spiritual war rages behind every earthly battle we see. Right now, many of Your children have been and are under attack. They have been wounded by the ignorant and hateful words of racist humans and institutions. But we know You reign supreme. You are the God of heaven’s armies, the defender of the oppressed, the One who actively fights on behalf of the mistreated and abused. Expel the evil from our land, Lord, and enlist us to Your cause.
Day 10: Unite Your children, God.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6, NIV)
Oh, the beauty and power that comes when we live in unity. Together, we, Your diverse yet gospel-bound children, can change the world. We believe You know the answer to every hurt and evil attack. You are our Commanding Officer, the victorious God of Heaven’s armies, who is, at this moment, reconciling our world to one another and Yourself. May we fight the evil of racism as one body, one family, one army, empowered and led by one indwelling Spirit.
Day 11: Remind us of the gospel.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV)
Jesus, You died to break the power of sin in our lives and in our world, the sin of racism included. You loved everyone, young and old, of every race, with a fierce, sacrificial love. You opposed evil so much You were willing to give Your life that all Your children might live, fully free. You are victorious over evil and fought our hatred with love.
We proclaim Your life every time we defend those who are losing theirs. As You bind our hearts to Yours, You fill us with a passion for justice and the courage to oppose injustice in every form.
Day 12: Expand Your kingdom.
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, NV)
We, Your children, belong to a higher kingdom, Lord. We follow the greatest and most powerful King. You are our standard and our aim. This is our hearts’ cry: As in heaven, where people of all nations, tribes, and tongue, unite in worship, so be it on earth. May Your kingdom invade our land. May You, our Ruler, right all wrongs, lift high all bowed low and bow low all that seek, through hatred and oppression, to raise themselves high by stepping on the backs of others.
Day 13: May Your love abound.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)
Love is more than emotional sentimentality or affirmations spoken in passing. True love results in action. It sees the oppressed and comes alongside them. It sees the pain and offers words of healing. It sees the abused and fights, diligently and persistently against the abuser. You Yourself revealed what such love looks like when You died for our sins on the cross. In this You set an example, that we might also be willing to lay our lives down for one another. In this fight against hatred, unite and empower us in and by love.
Day 14: Bring deep healing to the hurting.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3, NIV).
Speak words of healing and comfort to those who have been hurt by racism and oppression, and those who have watched their loved ones suffer under such cruelty. You are not only the God who sees, but the God who feels every tear to a depth the human heart likely will never understand this side of heaven.
But You do not just see, Lord. You are also known as Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. You heal the most painful wounds with Your love and bind up mankind’s deepest lacerations. Speak words of truth to broken hearts and remind them of who they are to You and in You.
Day 15: Defend the wounded.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2, NIV).
Throughout history, we have seen You stand tall and firm against evil and systems of power and oppression. Through Moses, You rose against the greatest nation at that time to lead Your people to freedom and a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3-14; Numbers 14:8). Through David, you conquered a cruel and seemingly abominable giant seeking to subjugate through force and terror. During the time of Judges, you rescued frightened and oppressed families through a heavily outnumbered army, for Your power knowns no bounds.
Your Father’s heart will not watch silently as hatred attacks the innocent. Many of Your precious children are in danger, Lord. Defend them. Stand before, behind, and beside them as their shield. Draw them close into the stronghold of Your love.
Day 16: Expose evil.
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
Lord, my heart grieves to think of all the abuse and injustice that has occurred and gone unnoticed—unnoticed by us, but not by You. You see it all, and You grieve it all and oppose it all. Thank You for the invention of cell phones, YouTube, and social media and the exposure it has allowed. As horrific as racist acts are to watch, we know these clips and recordings must be shared, so that evil may be exposed, and once exposed, dealt with.
While our hearts recoil at such obvious and undeniable displays of hatred that has played on our mobile devices and computer screens, may we never back down. Instead, may we arm ourselves with truth, love, and power from on high as together, we call racism what it is--sin that must not be permitted power in our nation or world.
Day 17: Reform our systems.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
The author of 1 Timothy lived during a horrific time, Lord. Oh, how you must have grieved when the Roman Emperor Nero, one of the most vicious, evil, and oppressive rulers in history, reigned. I cannot imagine the horror Your children felt, watching authorities crucify, burn, or feed the innocent to animals. Those who suffered must have felt as if their situation was hopeless, and that the corrupt governmental authorities held all the power.
But Paul knew differently. He understood, no matter how fierce rulers and their minions appeared, You remained on the throne, where you sit even now. True and lasting change can only come through You, as You unite and empower Your children in this holy fight and transform and enlighten the hearts of the oppressors. Systematically break systemic racism. Bring justice and equality to our schools, our neighborhoods, our judicial systems, and our senate—in every place racism exists, Lord. And open my eyes to see precisely where and how racism has infected this land, so that I can stand against it.
Day 18: Raise up God-fearing first responders able and determined for fight for what’s right.
“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2, NIV)
Lord, raise up strong and courageous soldiers who love and follow You to fight against systemic racism from within the systems themselves. I know You are doing this even now. I am reminded of the story of Elisha’s servant, when he felt surrounded, overpowered, by enemy forces. But he was not, for You had sent Your powerful, invisible angels to fight on Your people’s behalf.
Do it again, Lord. Raise up Your army--Your unseen angels, yes, but also Your human servants commissioned by You. Empower them as Your messengers and history makers. Give godly police officers eyes to see and ears to hear signs of racism before lives are lost. Give your godly soldiers courage to speak truth and expose evil, and protect them as they fight for the protection and welfare of the vulnerable during these tense and emotionally-charged times. Fill them with Your Spirit, with encouragement and perseverance.
Day 19: Raise up God-fearing politicians who actively uphold justice and protect life.
“If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.” (Proverbs 29:12, NIV)
To quote a sweet friend, we must fight the systems of racism within the systems, and may those You’ve placed in civic leadership lead the way. Remind them of the responsibility they carry, due to their position. Remind them that You will hold them accountable, for every word spoken or moment of silence. Help them use their influence for good, to create true and lasting reform. Remind them that we are watching them and learning from them.
Oh, Lord, during these painful and uncertain times, raise up strong, sure, and godly leaders who will live in full surrender to You. Protect them, empower them, and guide them to steadily dismantle every oppressive law and act so that all Your children feel safe, protected, and represented.
Day 20: Raise up God-fearing, kind-hearted, and justice-seeking leaders in our school systems.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)
Oh, the power within each moldable human life. The phrase, “children are our future” is so much more than a cliché. I know You are equipping the next generation to join the fight against oppression. I also know You are raising up teachers and principals and school administrators to fight racism in our schools while empowering students to stand for truth. To change the world.
Stir a passion within Your children, a determination to fight and keep fighting in this highly influential institution. May Your love, truth, and justice reign in our schools and may Your love and power shine brightly from every Christ-owned heart until every trace of hatred flees.
Day 21: Bring understanding in place of confusion.
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:10-11, NIV)
Sometimes my brain feels overwhelmed by all the information bombarding it each day. This can lead me to a state of confusion, of mental unrest, but You have called me to action and peace.
When I struggle to understand, to know my next step, help me to pause and rest in You, for I know You will guide me in Your way and timing. But even in my waiting, may I never become stagnate, a spectator in the story You are unfolding. Rather, let me pause in Your presence long enough to be filled and directed, then send me out in the strength and confidence befitting a called and commissioned child of God.
Day 22: Replace apathy with passion.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)
Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I heard stories of pain, of oppression and racism, and simply walked away. My sympathy in the moment was far too insufficient. You have shown me what You require of me. You want me to do, to love, to walk--these are actions I am to take, Lord.
I know true, godly passion can only come from You, so draw me continually into Your embrace. Help me to love what You love and fight against what you fight. Most importantly, help me to make the most of every moment, to engage in this holy battle for freedom against oppression.
Day 23: Bring justice to the land.
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:4, NIV)
You are righteous and completely just. You Yourself said, “For I, the Lord, love Justice”(Isaiah 61:8, ESV). You see those who are treated unfairly, who are falsely accused and imprisoned, and who have experienced abuse due to the color of their skin. But we can trust that You will bring justice for the oppressed. We know, in heaven pure justice will reign. Abuses of power will be banished from Your presence, and all Your children will unite as one. While we wait for the day when You will make all things right, we ask for justice now--in our schools, our courts, and all our systems.
Day 24: Help us see Your hand.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, ESV)
When life feels hard and evil appears to be winning, remind me to look for Your power and strength, for I know it is always with us. I know You are working in hearts across the land. I know You are bringing understanding where once there was none. I know You are raising up churches and ministry leaders to fight for love and truth. I know You are initiating conversations where hurts can be heard and then healed. In those moments when it feels like evil is winning, help me see Your power at work.
Show me stories of life change, of unity, and hope. Reveal instances of chains broken and unity and solidarity won. Hatred may scream, but racism holds no power against the steady whispers of Your love, which You are, even now, spreading across the globe.
Day 25: Remind us of Your promises.
“For all God's promises are ‘Yes’ in Him. And so through Him we can say ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV)
When I read everything flooding my Facebook feed or playing out on the news, I become increasingly anxious and can easily lose sight of all I know to be true. You have promised to fight for Your children (Exodus 14:14), to give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak (Isaiah 40:29), to never leave or forsake Your people (Hebrews 13:5), and to walk with them through the most tumultuous waters (Isaiah 43:2).
I have no idea what tomorrow will look like, but You do. You hold each moment in Your hands. I also know there will come a day when those who are weeping now will rejoice, and those who suffer will sing and dance in Your presence. I thank you that no system or abuse of power can thwart Your eternal plans, and I know that Your plans are good. I thank You for the greatest promise of heaven and life with You.
Day 26: Empower our churches.
“And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” (Colossians 1:18, NIV)
Jesus, we are Your church, commissioned by You to do Your will. Together, we can affect such change! Every time we obey You, expand the reaches of Your love, and live out Your mission, we reveal the power and the reality of the gospel. Lord, through faith in You, we have resurrection power.
No weapon raised against Your children can stand. We are Your royal priests and priestesses, saved that we might proclaim Your truth and grace. In Your presence, evil must and will flee, so empower us Lord, to live for You. Strengthen and equip us to stand against injustice and oppression. May we be wise as serpents, tackling the evil of racism with the strategy downloaded from You, our commanding officer. But may we also be gentle as doves, revealing a supernatural, life-changing love in all we say and do (Matthew 10:16).
Day 27: Change hearts.
“In the LORD's hand the king's heart is a stream of water that He channels toward all who please Him.” (Proverbs 21:1, NIV)
I praise You for Your transformation power. You are the God who turned a man named Paul from a murderous fanatic to a love-filled, self-sacrificing servant of Christ. No amount of preaching or debating can soften a hardened heart, but what seems impossible to us provides the backdrop for Your greatest work.
Amaze us, Lord. Transform the racist hearts within our systems and our social circles. Begin a mighty work that will leave us all in awe. May a revival of love and holiness and life-change ripple through the land until proclamations of Your praise drown out hate.
Day 28: Help us persevere.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, ESV).
Please do not let this fire You ignited die out. Help Your soldiers stand firm. Strengthen weak knees and raise heads bowed down. Give power to the powerless and an inner grit that keeps Your children fighting, steadily, persistently, effectively, toward true, biblical peace.
For those facing oppression, who perhaps feel ready to give in, speak words of courage and strength to the depths of their hearts. Provide people to come alongside them as allies and friends. Strengthen the allies as well. Do not let them lose focus or fervor. I know this battle you have called us to will not be won quickly. At times, it may feel as if we have fallen decades backward. When that occurs, give us the will to carry on, to run the race You have assigned us well.
Day 29: Speak hope.
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13, NIV)
Fill every crevice of our hearts with hope, not with wishful thinking but the certainty that one day our faith truly will be sight. One day You will banish evil for good and love and truth will reign. One day, love truly will conquer hate and all Your children, from every nation, tribe, and tongue, will live united as one family for all eternity. Oh, the melody Your children will make as all voices join together for You, our King.
I know that day is coming, Lord. When evil roars, may Your children raise their eyes to You, listening for that heavenly choir. As we wait for that glorious day, fill our hearts, our minds, and our ears with freedom’s song.
Day 30: Build our faith.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)
When trouble comes, when those in power oppress and abuse, it’s easy to lose hope. The problems in front of us can appear bigger and stronger than all we know to be true. Our nation is hurting and crying out for aid.
We hear the cries, Lord. We see the pain. But we also see You. We know You; You have proven Yourself to be faithful and true. Help us to fix our eyes on You, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, the One who is and was and is to come. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Savior who never changes. We love You, lord. We praise You, God, and we trust You to move. Move us, Your people, to actively advance unity, justice, and equality throughout the land, for we know that faith without action is dead (James 2:17).
Adapted from JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com June 15, 2020