A prayer against injustice
‘Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God…
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.’ (Psalm 10:1-4, 12-18)
Our world is tragically full of injustice, oppression, exploitation, racial abuse, suffering, and violence. When we see or experience this, it is right that we feel angry and heartbroken. As the psalms remind us, God feels the same way.
In the face of injustice, we should weep. We should stand with those who are suffering injustice, and weep together. We should recognise injustice and call it out, whether that is through obvious acts of hatred, or more subtle and systemic ways that we privilege certain groups over others. We should examine our own hearts, and make sure our values and practices truly reflect those of God’s Kingdom of Justice. And we should cry out to the God of Justice, asking Him to establish His Kingdom.
Prayerfully consider some of the following questions:
- Do you find it hard or easy to process your emotions about injustice? Do you find it hard to express anger, sorrow and lament in your prayers?
- Where do you see injustice around you today? Not only in the obvious and well-reported stories, but in the more subtle ways that often go unnoticed?
- Are there any ways in which God is challenging you about your own bias, or ways in which your values and practices fall short of His vision of justice?
God of Justice,
Who sees every act committed,
in public or in secret;
who hears every cry uttered,
In faith or in despair,
In the face of injustice,
We question why,
and how long.
On behalf of our hurting
Brothers and sisters,
We offer our tears,
As prayers for your intervention.
We offer our voices,
To declare, ‘enough!’
We offer our feet,
To stand with the oppressed.
We offer our hands,
To work for healing.
Arise, this day O my God,
And fight for the helpless and oppressed!
Arise, this day O my soul,
And fight beside your God!
Help our heavy hearts to rest,
knowing that you will not rest,
until you bring justice
for all who cannot rest,
and welcome them into
your eternal rest.
The church is a body, and if one part suffers, the whole body suffers. Today, why not reach out to someone from the church, perhaps a close friend, or someone from your Connect Group, in one of the following ways:
- Talk to someone about your reflections from today. You may want to express your anger and sorrow, or ask for help processing your emotions.
- If events have highlighted injustice that is traumatic or triggering for someone whose life experience is very different to yours, reach out to them and ask how they are. Listen, and be a safe place for them to share their hurt or fear. Weep with them, and support them in prayer.
- If you need further help and support, please do speak to a member of the Pastoral Support Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Prayer Team (email@example.com).
Here are some recommended resources on the subjects of race, diversity, and social justice.