A Prayer of Mercy for America
October 9, 2020 | by Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, NCNW National Chaplain and President of Skinner Leadership Institute
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth. We approach your throne of grace with confidence to seek mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews, 4:16). With millions of Americans infected and over 200,000 dead from COVID-19, while many leaders play politics with a life-saving vaccine, please have mercy on us. With millions in our nation unemployed, suffering business loss, hunger, eviction, grief, and depression, while merciless leaders silence the scientists seeking medical solutions, have mercy on us. We plead for mercy, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out our transgressions. Against you and you alone, have we sinned and done evil in your sight. (Psalm 51:1,4)
The prophet Samuel reminded King Saul that “obedience is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22). Jesus told his followers who presented their offerings and sacrifices, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:13).
Today, O Lord, we ask you to have mercy on America for allowing centuries-old structural racism to destroy the lives of people of color… through health disparities causing them to get sicker and die quicker than others from COVID; through refusal to reform justice systems that allow police to kill Black and Brown citizens with impunity; through allowing poor urban and rural children who lack home-based guidance to be thrown even further behind in virtual education; and, through legalized voter suppression aimed at sustaining a white “old boys network” of power despite America's growing diversity.
God, we plead with you to keep your hand of mercy over America that it does not follow the path of once-great nations, defeated, not from without, but from within. We ask you to raise up righteous leaders who will obey your commands to model compassion, seek peace, and render justice for all your children. We pray this prayer today, in your holy name, not because we are good, but because you are merciful, Lord, God. AMEN.