Note: This week’s New Every Morning reflections are structured differently to follow the format of our featured title, Rally: Communal Prayers for Lovers of Jesus and Justice, which addresses issues of social justice through reflection and over 50 call-and-response prayers known as litanies.
Jesus’ words began to echo in my heart: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). How do I pray for those who seek to harm others? I wondered. But I knew what I had to do. The following is the prayer that worked on my heart, allowing it to break open as I listened to the Spirit’s words. How will we stop the cycle of violence if we can’t learn to offer prayers for those who perpetrate it? This prayer is my attempt at learning to pray for those for whom I do not want to pray.
—Michelle Thorne Mejia with Britney Winn Lee, Rally: Communal Prayers for Lovers of Jesus and Justice (Fresh Air Books, 2020)
What spiritual practice enables you to pray for those for whom you do not want to pray? Join the conversation.
“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you.”
—Matthew 5:43-44 (CEB)
ONE: So Jesus lived and died, staying true to what he asks of others.
ALL: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
ONE: For those who harm others and who seek to do harm in this world, we
pray, O God.
We remember them and all who love them.
We remember that their lives too are devastated and their hopes dashed.
We know that the pain from each act of violence, like the ripples of a stone
cast in a pond, travel in many different directions.
Those who perpetrate violence become casualties of their own anger, their
own hatred, their own bitterness, their own deep woundedness.
They too are in need of your grace, your love, and your healing light.
ALL: They know not what they do.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
The final litany from Rally was written by Britney Winn Lee in the beginning days of the global pandemic. This prayer reminds us that hope endures; goodness prevails; people surprise us; and love cannot, has not, will not fail. Watch and listen.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.