Lamenting the murder of george floyd

and repenting of its causes

The following prayer is birthed out of Washington Community Fellowship. One version was prayed initially at WCF’s worship service on May 31, 2020 to mourn the murder of George Floyd and all that event entailed. Later that evening, this prayer was prayed at a vigil for George Floyd advocating for police reform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial together with 200+ friends and allies.

Prayer of Lament for George Floyd:

Gracious and Living God,

Hear our prayers as we join with many today asking, How long? We’re tired. We’re angry. How long before things really change?!

Together we say, “God, we can’t breathe!”

We Lament the idolatry of comfort and privilege that leads us to turn away from others’ need and pains, especially those of people of Color. Lord, our society thrives on comfort. We entertain ourselves constantly, often at the expense of People of color. One day without our comforts and we are undone. Lord we make idols not of wood or stone, but of siding and shingles, of touchscreen glass and social media likes. But these idols cannot save us. Rather the more we have of them, the more we fear their loss. We are reluctant to share and small in our giving. We fear the embrace of another ONE’s pain.

Together we say, “God, we can’t breathe!”

We lament the Idolatry of Safety – that leads us to employ police and expect them to use greater and more violent responses to what we are afraid of. Lord, in our fear we seek the security of safety, rather than trusting in you, we trust in the power of our weapons and strength of our men and women in the military and police. We ask them to bear the burden we cannot, and we are ashamed when they fail to do so graciously. We ask of them to quiet our fears – but what of their fears? You know the hearts of those who carry the sword for us, Lord. How can you not weep for their souls that are traumatized by the violence we send them to commit?

Together we say, “God, we can’t breathe!”

Together, we lament the racism, fear and injustice that resides in our own hearts and homes. Lord, these sins of fear and racism are like the pandemic that surrounds us. We cannot see them. And we don’t know they are present until…. someone dies. We most often act as if these sins of racism, our pride, and our idols are unimportant to you. As a result, we don’t see you at work and we don’t fear your justice.

Together we say, “God, we can’t breathe!”

The weight of these laments press on us, forcing our faces to the ground.

Together we say, “God, we can’t breathe”

But the Lord will not wait forever. You fill our lungs with the presence of your very own Spirit. God’s spirit of justice, of healing, of mercy and of peace will be seen in this land.

Gracious God, we thank you for making one human family of all the peoples of the earth.

From the bondage of racism that denies the humanity of every human being and from the prejudices within us that deny the dignity of those who are oppressed, Lord set us free!

Empower us to speak boldly for justice and truth and help us to deal with one another without hatred or bitterness, working together with mutual forbearance and respect.

God, we remember together with you, the names of:

Eric Garner

Freddie Gray

Philando Castile

Ahmaud Arbery

Breonna Taylor

George Floyd

And the names of the thousands we don’t know and haven’t heard of.

Lord we cry out, We ask for your forgiveness. We ask for your intervention.

Tear down the walls of injustice and make our broken world whole.

In the strong and faithful name of Jesus, we ask these things.