“The thing to remember is not to read so much or talk so much about God, but to talk to God. To practice the presence of God.”

Dorothy Day, Catholic Pacifist, Journalist, & Women’s Rights Activist

Prayer calls us to be real with God and with ourselves. Authenticity is a form of resistance against superficial faith and unexamined questions. In her book Joy Unspeakable, Barbara Holmes reminds us that “activism and contemplation are not functional opposites.” If we pursue justice without attending to the inner journey, we are more likely to do harm. Resisting harm means resisting the harm that we ourselves can do, as well as the harm done by others. Because we belong to a Church that is discriminatory against LGBTQ persons and other marginalized groups, we belong to a system of harm that we have the power and agency to resist.

We must root our lives in our concrete experience of God’s love in us or we may mirror the very systems of domination and oppression we resist.

Non-violent resistance leader and anti-colonialist Mahatma Gandhi emphasized that “prayer is the heart of resistance.” We join Gandhi and many other resistance leaders in emphasizing prayer as both a spiritual discipline and a form of resistance.

Authentic prayer is opening to God’s gracious presence with all that we are, what Scripture summarizes as our whole heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). Therefore, prayer is more a way of being than an isolated act of doing… Prayer is aimed at our deepest problem: our tendency to forget our liberating connectedness with God… Prayer also arises from our deepest hope: for the abundance of life that comes when we abide in our deepest home, our widest consciousness. Prayer is our bridge to Home.

Tilden Edwards, Theologian

In our prayers, we lift up our problems, our hopes. We build our bridge to Home. Breathing out, we open our hearts, minds, and lives to express yearning, questions, sorrow, anxiety, rage, determination, and thanksgiving.

Breathing in, we receive God’s blessings of joy, courage, comfort, challenge, grace, and shalom.

Prayer is:

  • Personal and communal
  • Quiet and boisterous
  • Structured and free flowing
  • Expectant and accepting
  • Speaking and listening
  • Eager and resigned

Prayer is a time for lament, for learning, and for leaning-in. This portion of the Resist Harm website will be dedicated to the practice of prayer as “the heart of resistance.” We lament the intersectional harm of our Church and society, learn from the presence of God, and lean into our call from God to be more and do more to resist evil and injustice in all forms.

Our Prayer resources available beginning December 29 will include:

  • An online and downloadable resource to aid daily or weekly prayers
  • A bibliography and digital links to an array of prayer resources
  • Guides for prayer events and activities by congregations and small groups (including retreats, prayer vigils, prayer stations)

Weekly Prayers

Theme #5: Witness

Our prayers for the month of May are prayers of holy fire. Each week, a different scripture will guide us into our prayer together and remind us of the power of the God we seek to serve.

May 2nd - Moses at the Burning Bush

Read: Exodus 3

Pray: Holy God, your presence burns so brightly, so captivatingly, that we must turn aside from our daily work to see. Remind us that when you show up, our ordinary landscape is turned to holy ground. And when you show up, help us to speak up, saying “Here I am!” When we doubt our capacity to do good, to have courage, and to seek justice, remind us of your promise to always be with us. The God of the burning bush, here with us now. Amen.

May 9th - The Pillars of Cloud and Fire

Read: Exodus 13:17-22

Pray: Light-giving God, this journey is a long one. We travel day and night through the wilderness. If we really have to take the long road instead of the short one, God of all wisdom, we need you to keep going out ahead of us, lighting our path forward, until we reach the promised land. When darkness falls, we will lift up our eyes and keep them locked on your pillar of fire, trusting that you know the way. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

May 16th - Elijah’s Triumph over the Priests of Baal

Read: 1 Kings 18:20-39

Pray: All powerful God, sometimes we are the ones throwing water on our own attempts to follow you. We are the ones making this all so unnecessarily complicated. Even so, in your goodness and mercy you send your fire, so that all might know that you are God. When we have divided hearts and divided minds, put your power on display. Our love of other gods then shown for what it is, we humble ourselves before you and praise you. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

May 23rd - Pentecost

Read: Acts 2:1-21

Pray: Living God, let your tongues of fire rest on each of us now. Through the movement of your Holy Spirit, enable us to speak and understand our neighbor. Our conversations with one another are often fraught with assumptions, pride, and fear. Lord, from these prisons, set us free. Pour out your Spirit on your people so that we may see visions, dream dreams, and be saved. It’s in the name of Jesus that we pray, Amen.

May 30th - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Read: Daniel 3

Pray: Emmanuel, God with us, when we find ourselves in times of intense trial, remind us that we are never alone. May the same spirit of holy conviction that inhabited Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego inhabit us today. May we draw strength from their story, and from the stories and witness of countless others who have gone before us, clear in their priorities and allegiance to you, even if those allegiances put them at odds with the powers that be. We join our voices with the cloud of witnesses to praise you, wonderful, powerful God! Amen.

Prayer Tips & Resources

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