Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

A Prayer for This Day

Today was the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. I have spent a lot of time in Charlottesville. It is one of my favorite cities in Virginia. I spent three months around campus while doing CPE. When Megan and I lived in different cities the year before we were married, we had date days in Charlottesville. And of course, many fall days spent there for the Virginia Film Festival.

It has been difficult today.

Watching social media and seeing the images coming out of Charlottesville, has been tough.  I’ve walked those streets. I’ve been in those buildings. I’ve visited those spaces.  And to see the hate, the violence, and the unthinkable happening feels like a heavy burden pressuring down on me.

I feel like I could be doing more.

But what I have been doing is praying all day for the city, for colleagues who have been present counter protesting, singing hymns, offering help and prayer. This is a humble attempt to put some of that into words:

Lord of love and mercy
hear our cries of pain,
cries of injustice,
cries of brokenness.

You created all in Your image
yet we have made others lesser than
we have decided who is better than whom,
making ourselves superior.

forgive us, Lord, for we have sinned.
we have not loved your children.
we have not called out racism.
we have not confronted hate.

change our hearts, o Lord,
so light will replace darkness.
change our hearts, o Lord,
so hymns will replace hate speech.

give us courage to stand,
wisdom to speak up.
give us assurances
in your promise
that you hear our cries.

let the torches we carry
be lit by your love.
let the words we use
reflect grace and peace.

change our hearts, o Lord. Amen.

Here are some resources to use in talking about racism:


  1. Bill grew up in Charlottesville, I met him there and we both went to graduate school there. We were married at First United Methodist, right beside the park with the Lee statue. It is breaking our hearts to see such hatred in that beautiful city. Lord, hear our prayers.

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