A Prayer for Racial Healing
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you…” - Colossians 3:5
Lurking. When you hear that word, what does it make you think of? A shadowy form hiding in a dark alley? A sinister plot just waiting to be revealed? That’s what comes to my mind. Merriam-Webster defines lurking as “being concealed, but capable of being discovered.” Another definition says, “remaining hidden so as to wait in ambush; present in a barely discernible state, although still presenting a threat.” But in Colossians 3:5, Paul uses this word to remind us of the sinful, earthly things in each of us.
The truth is that we all have sin hiding away, and the tricky part is that a lot of it doesn’t show up in our day to day. We are able to mask it many times. Can’t you just picture Greed, Pride, Jealousy, Anger, Dirty Language, Lust and others wearing trench coats while hanging out in the shadows of our hearts? Satan is crafty, and he knows just how to trigger these things in us, so that they make a grand entrance, reminding us of our own depravity. I will think I have been doing so well as a follower of Jesus, loving people, serving, etc. Then something happens, and by my response, I’m reminded of just how sinful I really am.
In recent months, racial tensions have been high. Black men have been killed senselessly. Lives shattered. And it’s heartbreaking. It should make all of us examine our hearts and how we view people of the opposite race, pray for the hidden to be revealed, and seek how the Lord would help us bring healing.
The problem with racism, bias, prejudice, whichever word you like to use, though, is that it’s not easily discernible in every person. It’s not something people like to face. And it doesn’t always show itself openly.
It’s something that is lurking. And that makes it hard to get better.
You see, I am a white, middle-aged woman in the South. I was raised to love all people like Jesus would, and I do my best. I have had relationships through the years as a friend, “big sister,” co-worker, bible-study leader, and volunteer with many in the Black community. I am so proud to call many of them friend and love them dearly. My husband and I do our best to live out loving all people and teaching our children to do the same.
But. This world is broken. It’s fallen. And Satan uses every opportunity to divide. I can’t say there haven’t been seeds planted in my heart that have produced prejudiced thoughts at times. And it makes my soul hurt to admit that.
My precious friends, the only hope for healing is for all of us, on both sides, is to pull these feelings out of the shadows and face them. To pray for eyes to see each other as Jesus does. To communicate with each other. To stand up and speak out when needed. And to expose these biases for what they are: well-crafted lies created to divide us for centuries. I pray that one day soon, color will just be an adjective. Until then, may we all do our best to live out 1 Samuel 16:7:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “…The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
We come to you broken. We desperately need your wisdom and discernment in our words and actions. Oh Jesus, help us be courageous enough to face our own fears, prejudices, and misconceptions. Forgive us of these specific sins against our black brothers and sisters. Reveal what is hidden in us and help us to love people, all people, as you would. Give us courage to speak up and do the right thing, even when it’s hard. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see as You do, Lord. Help us to be a light in this dark world and bring unity, healing, and forgiveness to our communities.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus,
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mother, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, helping others to see that the heart is what counts most. She blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her in everyday life and contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has eighteen years experience teaching and currently serves as a Parent Coordinator in the Opelika City Schools. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and leading the FBCO Teen Moms group. She lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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