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Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

In the mess of Ferguson, make your name known. In the division and disappointment, make your name sweet. In the rage and reaction, make your name a balm. Be glorified through the winsome witness of the church in St. Louis. Be glorified through the saints–of every race and ethnicity–as we try to walk together and talk together in a more excellent way. Be glorified, O Father, as the Spirit reveals Jesus Christ and opens your word to the hurting and to the hurtful.

Your kingdom come.

Shine the light of truth wherever there is the darkness of injustice, ignorance, or misunderstanding. May your reign and rule be evident in our lips as we speak, in our heads as we think, and in our hearts as we feel. Cause truth to triumph over falsehood, gospel unity over devilish division, and affection over apathy. Grant us courage and humility, diligence and rest. May the Sun of Righteousness rise with healing in his wings.

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Help us turn from the things of this world, the things that are passing away–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–and turn to your will so that we might abide forever. May we do your bidding here on earth just as the angels serve as your ministering spirits in heaven. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–may these things be cherished and sought after in every black community and in every white community (and every shade of community in between), in the suburb, in the city, and in the country, in any neighborhood overrun by crime and in any police department overrun by prejudice. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Give comfort to the grieving. Give safety to the innocent. Give hope to the hopeless. Give us judges and prosecutors and juries that are fair. Give us good laws, wise procedures, and politicians better than we deserve. Be a rock and a refuge to those who are scared or suffering. Help the weak to find their strength in you. Help the strong to see their need. Help sinners find the only Savior.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

As your people, may we never forget all we have been forgiven. No crime against us is worse than the crimes we have committed against you. Make us slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Forgive us when we fight with the weapons of the world. Forgive us for not weeping with those who weep. Forgive us for judging others with a measure we do not use to judge ourselves. Forgive us for speaking when we should be silent and being silent when we should speak. Forgive us for being hard-hearted and dim-witted. Forgive us for loving our comfort more than our neighbor. Forgive us for being too often indifferent to injustice in our world and unrighteousness in our lives.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Help, O Lord. We are tempted to despair, tempted to cynicism, tempted to bitterness, tempted to give up, tempted to assume the worst about our brothers and sisters, tempted to let commentators and cable news networks tell us what is real. We are sorry for the times we have been unthinking, unfeeling, and unsympathetic. We are sorry for the times we have rushed to judgment. We are sorry for self-righteous grandstanding and self-serving stereotypes. Deliver us from the evils of lawlessness and lovelessness.

For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

You are strong; we are weak. You are eternal; we are infinitesimal. You lack for nothing; we need everything. You see all, know all, and can do all. We see in part, know in part, and can barely do our part. Be wisdom in our confusion, victory in our struggle, and peace in our fear. We gather at the cross and lay our burdens down. No matter the pain, no matter the sadness, no matter the fog of friendship or the fog of war, every day when morning gilds the sky may Jesus Christ be praised. In whose name we pray, Amen.


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18 thoughts on “A Prayer for Ferguson”

  1. Joe says:

    Thank you for this prayer. My heart breaks for the city of St. Louis and some of the responses they have had, but it also breaks for the Church’s indifference and inability to sympathize with parts of our body that are hurting.

  2. Hope says:

    Thank you for this excellent prayer!

  3. Marc says:

    Joe: Respectfully, I sympathize with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are black and are discriminated against and/or genuinely feel like their grievances have not been addressed. I do not sympathize, however, with people of any color (regardless of whether or not they claim the name of Christ) that are always living in a certain situation and will blame everyone but the person they see in the mirror for their situation. This is the third rail no one will touch because “racism”.

  4. Joe says:

    Marc: And I believe firmly that many of our brothers and sisters feel grieved by the indictment, that they are deeply disappointed in the lack of answers to many of the most important questions regarding the case. The fact is whites will view this case in isolation, with only the evidence to play a part in the decision, and blacks will view this case in a much greater scope of racial profiling and unjust inequality. And we need to recognize that while the evidence, which was not clearly relayed by the prosecutor, is certainly important, we must also realize that because of this ruling, blacks fear for their sons and daughters. The violent protests are indeed hard to watch and will only cause more pain, but we must also look towards those peacefully protesting and instead of throwing “told you so’s” and “American law has the final say”s at them, listen to our brothers who are grieving, understand what they are experiencing, and love them as Christ does. Mourn with those that mourn.

  5. Marc says:

    Joe: It is obvious we are not going to see eye to eye, but allow me to say this and I’ll be quiet… I do not view this in isolation. I cannot truly understand what a black person living in Ferguson, Missouri (a town with unspoken racial tension) must feel like. This is definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back. And yet, there is a legal system, evidence was provided to the grand jury however imperfectly (and yet, I believe that’s more opinion/hearsay than actual concrete fact), and a decision was made. So yes, the law does have the final say, not highly charged emotions, however valid they may be. I do mourn with those who mourn and I am sorry for Michael Brown’s parents. Still, there a time to mourn and a time to ask both sides – Okay, what’s really happening? Which brings me to my original point in my first post: Why are you always in certain situations you’re in (drugs, gang activity, alcoholism) and you blame everyone but yourself?

  6. Marc says:

    And, yes, if this was a situation with a white person, I would ask him/her/them the exact same question.

  7. Joe says:

    Marc: To say it was the straw that broke the camel’s back is to miss what the African-American community is protesting. They believe that race was one of the only straws that broke the camels back, that a man was shot because of a ideologically constructed discrimination towards African Americans. So as we deal with the residue of the indictment, Liberalism is blind to the fact that blacks could be discriminated systemically, that entire systems of justice, enforcement, education, and work could be discriminatory. Racism is not bound to just an individual pathology. Anyways, the case was never drug, gang, or alcohol related, it was simply a case determining whether or not the officer was in imminent danger. I do just have one question though Marc, if the decision had gone the other way, do you think whites would have reacted as strongly?

  8. Joe says:

    insert “we must be humbler listeners and quiet conversationalists towards an issue we often have no true expereince relating to.” between “residue of indictment” and “Liberalism”

  9. JohnM says:

    @Joe
    “And we need to recognize that while the evidence, which was not clearly relayed by the prosecutor, is certainly important, we must also realize that because of this ruling, blacks fear for their sons and daughters.”

    ???

    Joe, if you think the grand jury was wrong just say so. Then explain why you think so. Evidence is always more than “certainly important”, it, and not anyone’s sense of grievance, justified or otherwise, is supposed to be the thing upon which juries base their decision. If the jury concluded that Darren Wilson committed no crime based on “only the evidence” do you think they should indicted him anyway?

  10. Jane says:

    Guys this asked for comments on the Prayer. Take the debate somewhere else I read this prayer and was very inspired with hope I wanted to read the comments hoping for some peace ,

  11. Colron says:

    Thanks, Kevin.

  12. This is a powerful prayer. Continue the mighty works of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pastor Charles Washington, M.D.

  13. Thank you for this. I used it as the prayers for the people at the church I serve in Nebraska City, NE.

    I could not find words of my own, thank you again.

  14. Nicolle says:

    Thank you for writing this out. As a teenager in Australia, I feel so helpless. So, I’ve been praying a lot over this, but the words weren’t quite coming out right. You’ve voiced the intentions behind my own prayers. Thank you.

  15. Laurel Perkins says:

    Thank you Kevin for that beautiful prayer. I heard some of my own transgressions revealed in it. May all we do in light of this tragedy glorify God and His Love and Grace ;

  16. CJ Fairchild says:

    Kevin, I see that it is important to note that you used our LORD’s prayer as a template for that prayer you gave. We must keep our LORD in front of us as we address this tragedy. We may never be able to truly know the ‘Why?’ in what happens in life. However, we must first search for the love that is needed in our relationships with our fellow persons. Blessings and Amen!

  17. Major thanks for the article.Thanks Again. Cool.

  18. A big thank you for your article.Really thank you! Cool.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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