NAD Asks Members to Join in a Special Day of Prayer for Racial Justice and Equality

On Sabbath, June 27, 2020, the leadership of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is asking its members, churches, ministries, and services to join in a special day of prayer for the deep hurt and frustration that racial injustice and inequity have caused in North America. As the conversations on racism in society and in the church continue to grow, we are urging the 1.2 million church members in the territories of Bermuda, Canada, Guam/Micronesia, and the United States to come together and prayerfully seek God’s guidance and leading in our lives, especially in how we relate to one another, and how we can help stop injustice against people of color. As leaders, we want to ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and ears so we may understand and listen to our brothers and sisters, specifically in the Black American community, as they share the pain and anger they have experienced over the years. We want to ask for forgiveness, and we want to ask for compassion and strength to have the tough yet necessary conversations so our church can move forward in healing the wounds that run deep in our faith community. By coming to God in prayerful surrender to Him, we can become the church God wants us to be to reach out to those hurting in all our communities.

This article and originally appeared on the NAD website.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10519

Battered by a health crisis and fury about racial injustice, persons are mourning the past, worried about the present and needing this Special Day Of Prayer that is wisely being planned.

Fiercely polarized over public health, public safety and, perhaps, truth itself, many people are united only in their collective anxiety fearful of what comes next.

Eighty percent of all persons responding to a recent poll now believe the country is spiraling out of control, (https://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/200266NBCWSJJune2020Poll.pdf) released by the news organizations this week, with a majority both pessimistic that the United States can return to normal before next year and worried that someone in their immediate family could catch the virus.

A third of Americans were showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression at the end of April, according to an emergency weekly survey of American households carried out by the Census Bureau to measure the pandemic’s effects. In early May, half of those surveyed said they felt “down, depressed or hopeless,” double the number who responded that way in a 2014 national survey.
We need prayer more than ever!

If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need Him NOW!

1 Like

Prayer is always important and welcome. But what is desperately needed is political will (“political” in the best sense) to give the most disenfranchised (people impacted by poverty, disability and of course, color!) opportunities to be educated, covered by health care and special assistance when life has dealt them terrible blows that require our collective help to cope. They will do the rest.

2 Likes

Brother James, I hope you were not diminishing the need for prayer by comparing it to something else. When you wrote “…what is desperately needed is political will” you left the impression that prayer is a very distant priority when we are facing racial unrest and COVID 19, Yes “political will”
has it’s place. But for too long persons have been relying too much on slogans and “political will”. The kind of prayer we need is based on active faith and practice. Politics and our weak will can be an illusion based on fear and human limitations. Prayer is all of the other things: a chance to say what is most important to me, a time to listen for a voice wiser than my own, a knitting together of lives in love, a transformative practice that changes the way I see the world. And it is also something more. Something beyond. As Marian Anderson once said, “Prayer begins where human capacity ends.”
In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was not “political will”, it was a prayer. What more can I say?

Sam and James, both of you hit the important nails on the head. It’s meaningful to me that kneeling is a common posture or prayer, a common posture of protest; both in reaction to the horrible means of George Floyd’s terrible death.

I re-read Sam’s second post, flip flopping the words “prayer” and “politics.” In most cases, the reading is just as apt.

1 Like

Sam, I’m wondering as to how you imagine prayer to work in this particular scenario as the causal relationships on reality that it affects.

Do you think God listens, makes notes and then re-arranges neurons in heads of people and politicians per wishes of those who pray?

I’m curious as to what you think prayer actually accomplishes in reality beyond people reciting and reenforcing their preferences?

I understand it as a meditative practice that makes changes in a community of people that acts together to bring changes. I’m not really sure how it works beyond that.

3 Likes

Not at all. Better to have said "what is ALSO desperately needed and that would have accurately reflected my sentiment.

1 Like

we should be praying for protesters to stop and let things be investigated
otherwise police are on edge for there safety
very dangerous situation and we are seeing the ramifications
this now has nothing to do with racism it national security

1 Like

We can, and should condemn the riots; but to have the protests to stop… this I don’t understand. Allow me to explain with an article which describes five of the most violent moments of the reformation:

The German Peasant’s War (1525)

Martin Luther’s search for a purer form of Christianity could appeal to different groups for different reasons. His doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, stressing the spiritual equality of all men in the eyes of God, was particularly powerful for those at the bottom of the hierarchy.

The attempts by peasants in the Holy Roman Empire to realise the Gospel message – a message which to them promised social as well as spiritual equality – led to one of the largest popular rebellions in early modern Europe, with rebel armies made up of as many as 40,000 in some areas. The violent actions of the peasants were met with violent condemnation by Luther, while harsh suppression by the authorities meant that tens of thousands lost their lives in the rebellion’s aftermath.

I bring that up to say, Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Listen to some of the testimonies out there, and you will see why they are protesting. It’s not only because of police shootings. I found this particular one eye opening. So much is being said here, and taught it requires more than one viewing. From a Christian comedian Michael Jr.

Unfortunately things have also become political which then causes people to get defensive and unable to hear what is being said. It also causes us to accept or reject things we normally wouldn’t. IOW - we’re blind and deaf. So how then can a blind man make an argument for something he claims to have seen. And how can a deaf man make an argument for something he claims to have heard…

Job’s three friends came to visit him. They quietly sit with him for seven days, but then decide to talk about things they don’t understand. That’s when things go south.

And this is consistent with the functioning of our psyche. When faced with unsolvable problems, if we sent the issue to a remote place that is totally abstract and unreachable, this maneuver makes us feel better because now we sent the problem far away and feel like it’s no longer our problem. God gets it, and if a solution is not found…, well … this is “His will.”

“Political will” requires dealing with reality here and now. This is why it may be less comfortable than “praying about it.”

2 Likes

I am choosing to do two things with your comments. First, I will take seriously your inquiry into how prayer works. Secondly, I will share with you my insight into prayer based on my experience and understanding. Arkdrey, you aren’t alone in wondering if prayer really works.

While Jesus was praying, He was asked, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John [known as John the Baptist] also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). They could have asked Him anything. They could have asked, “Lord, teach us how to turn water into wine” or “Lord, teach us to raise the dead”. Instead, they asked Him how to pray, and what He did was teach them how to build a personal relationship with God. Then and only then could they be ready to learn how to pray as a group with an understanding of what a solemn assembly is all about.

For me, prayer is an interchange of love between the Father and I. The desire I feel to pray is His love drawing me to delight in Him. I only need to respond. For Christians, prayer is “communion with God.” It’s the medium of divine revelation. Through prayer, we actually experience relationship with God. The quality of our prayer life then determines the quality of our relationship with God. You asked in your comment: I’m curious as to what you think prayer actually accomplishes in reality beyond people reciting and reenforcing their preferences?

Prayer is talking with God and listening to Him, and it’s enjoying the presence of God. Prayer is my initiative to meet God, whether I am asking for favors, singing in celebration, or crying out in distress.
In thirty-five years of ministry as a teacher, Pastor and Chaplain, I’ve never met a person or been in a crisis where anything I said or did was a better help than prayer. Prayer can take many forms, including worship, confession, thanksgiving, praise, petition (asking for what we need and desire), a ministry of presence, waiting (silent listening and sensing of God).

Regardless of what shape or size it comes in, prayer is my best effort to engage God. My goal through prayer must be to know God better, to experience the fullness of relationship with Him. Through prayer, I honor Him. We give something back to the Almighty, something He desires greatly. God reveals Himself to us in the “prayer closet”—a quiet place where we cannot be distracted in our time with Him.

God desires relationship, but for many years, I was preoccupied with works and with self. When I prayed, it was a preconceived line of thought followed by a list of needs, and I was often impatient for results. In my mind, God needed to provide fast results, and if one prayer wasn’t sufficient, I took measures into my own hands. Hey, at least I gave God a chance to perform, and then I did what any good Christian should do, right? But I was still missing the point.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 3:10, “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

Communication for me is the transfer of meaning.The fact is that we have a God who loves to communicate. And the reason is that communication is the starting point for any relationship. That’s why he actually prefers it when we come to have faith in him through prayer, instead of through politics or logical arguments alone. God doesn’t just want to satisfy a curiosity we have, He wants to enter into a friendship with us.

My friend George, prayer for me is a resource that has made a difference in my life and others. I have tried “political will”, and sometimes still regress, but still nothing beats prayer!

Sam, I don dispute the worth and power of prayer. But prayer does nor remove bad governments, political will does.
So, at this time, I guess that what we need the most is praying for people to exert their political will in November. That may do the trick. :wink:

1 Like

You need to be more specific in your wishes, George, unless you are not counting certain people as people. :wink:

1 Like

Meaning from where to where, and to what purpose?

As humans, we generally transfer meaning to inform or (hopefully) correct other people, or to communicate a call to action.

God would already know everything that you will say, so communication of such meaning seems rather superfluous as a mere act of communication.

If you are going to say that it’s more for you than for God, then I would agree that there’s value in prayer as a meditative experience.

But if you read the article, it would seem like it’s a veiled way of speaking certain things through roundabout and indirect means, like my grandma would always go around the house, saying “have you seen these people over there? They are doing X Y Z”, and my parents knew she was talking about them. :slight_smile:

So, why can’t we have a conversation like adults in our churches and have to run to ploys like “let’s pray for us to open up our hearts and ask for forgiveness, and treat our black brothers and sisters better”? Why not just say… guys, let’s treat the people in our congregation better, especially those who are afflicted by these issues.

Jesus pointed out the virtue signalling ploy in all of that, so why do we keep doing this?

2 Likes

On the other hand, one should not diminish the priorities mentioned in the following text or presume to judge whether prayer or the care for those who need it is more important (at this or any other time.)

The Judgment Of The Sheep And The Goats: “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry , and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me ; I was sick …
(emphasis not mine-my computer has a mind of its own)

1 Like

Thank you for your response Arkdrey and George. My intent was to share my conviction about the impact and blessing of prayer. Prayer is not meant to nullify or de-emphasize Political activism. .
When we pray in times of injustice, we are protesting to the highest authority in the universe, the perfect arbiter of all justice. As human beings made in the image of the God of justice, we can all agree that prayer is our foundational path to justice. Blaise Pascal calls it ” that in prayer God gives us a direct line to the King of kings".

4 Likes

how can we compare Martin Luther and the current political divide in AMERICA
one was for the BIBLE truth other is politics
my point is its not race anymore its killing on both sides
and from our simple view in Australia there has been equal deaths in America black or white tho media is fueling a divide - should we latch onto this as ADVENTISTS if it may be political and sensationalized

READ ELLEN G WHITE
CAIN and ABEL they both had issues tho ABEL had faith in the LAW ( BIBLE )
ABEL wasn’t perfect

the reason I bring up CAIN and ABEL is why do we as ADVENTISTS go before GOD with a preconceived prayer like CAIN he had his own WILL we have our own idea’s mingled with politics and wealth and money and power
I’m saying we should pray for peace bipartisan way

FEAR GOD is the beginning of wisdom like ABEL did
EVE was without FEAR then she ate

Black people wanting to be treated the same as white people isn’t “politics.”

1 Like

Hey Tony, good to see you around here again. Any caricature of Trump lately??? :laughing:

You are right, same treatment to everyone is not a matter of politics; it’s rather a religious matter. This is why I can’t understand people who are racists often calling themselves Christians. They should actually categorize themselves as FC - Fake Christians.

1 Like