God, change the hearts and minds of these ignorant and foolish men in the photo above. May they know You, the Creator of all people in Your image. May their hearts be illumined with the light of Your love more than these torches of hate that illumine their faces. May they be transformed.
May this prayer be true for all of us.
Forgive us as a society and as individuals for not doing a better job of recognizing, admitting, and teaching how we have failed, from day one, in fully living up to our highest ideals of human equality and freedom as a nation.
Forgive us for our history of sins, in which we denied the humanity and rights of others. Convict us—horrify us—with our present sins.
Forgive us for claiming to be “One Nation Under God” while we have put ourselves over others. May none of the poor and oppressed rightfully cry out to You that we have crushed them under our feet.
Forgive us for the notion that being “proud of our country” means we cannot admit our errors. We confess that such pride is the hubris that comes before destruction.
Forgive us for claiming to seek Your face while denying Your image in our fellow human beings.
Forgive us for justifying our own sins by pointing at the errors of others.
Give us the desire and strength to repent so that we can live more fully into our ideals, grounded in the inherent value every human person has as a being created in Your image. Give us the wisdom to make this a reality and the courage to diligently engage in making things right. Give us Your self-giving love, so that we can engage one another without giving in to the deceitful temptations objectification, hate, and violence.
By your grace, even in our brokenness, may we humbly hold up the light of freedom, as we pursue being a more just society—recognizing one another as equals, providing and protecting freedom and opportunity for all.
Let Your kingdom,
Your love for all people,
be as real in the United States as it is in heaven.
(photo: ANDREW SHURTLEFF/THE DAILY PROGRESS)