A Prayer for Grappling with Privilege

Like many, over the past month I have been immersed In the news and the constant stream of social media posts about the death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed. I’ve been reading and watching and listening and thinking and talking and praying, and trying to figure out what to do. For many of us, deciding what to do in the face of the injustice that faces Black Americans begins with acknowledging our own white privilege.

I don’t have much to say, other than to affirm that Black Lives Matter. Most of my energy is going into the project of learning as much as I can about systemic racism in our country and reflecting on my own part in it. I plan to continue to spend more of my time learning and reflecting, and less of my time speaking or writing. But I recently re-read a personal reflection I wrote a few months ago about this process of grappling with my own privilege, and out of it came this prayer.

Acknowledging our privilege is hard. In some ways, it feels ungrateful. It feels sad to see so much of our lives tinged with a sin we didn’t see before. But it is necessary work, because we can’t change anything if we don’t see the problems to begin with. I need courage to do it, and I know courage comes from God. I hope this prayer might be helpful to others doing this same work.

A Litany for Grappling with Privilege

From the instinct to turn away from what is hard

Deliver me, Jesus

From the fear of saying the wrong thing

Deliver me, Jesus

From the desire to be accepted above all else

Deliver me, Jesus

From the impatience of expecting immediate solutions

Deliver me, Jesus

From the biases I have that uphold white supremacy

Deliver me, Jesus

From my desire to hold on to the privilege I have

Deliver me, Jesus

From the pride of thinking I can do any of this without you

Deliver me, Jesus

To choose solidarity over safety.

Holy Spirit, grant me courage.

To choose knowledge over ignorance.

Holy Spirit, grant me courage.

To choose discomfort over ease.

Holy Spirit, grant me courage.

To choose dialogue over silence.

Holy Spirit, grant me courage.

To choose intentionality over the status quo.

Holy Spirit, grant me courage.

To choose simplicity over wealth.

Holy Spirit, grant me courage.

To choose service over power.

Holy Spirit, grant me courage.

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