“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6 (NIV)

Racism and its impact on members of the body of Christ have become important topics throughout the world, and they’re topics that are unavoidable because there is no “neutral” position one can take on the issue of racism. Because there is no neutral position, figuring out where you stand on the issue is vitally important.

It’s important to remember that, while the current focus of racism seems to be black and white, racism is not limited to only black lives. Racism impacts other races as well. Also, please keep in mind that “Pray. Act. Give.” focuses on working locally on each month’s topic.

Start, then, with prayer.

A prayer from Pastor Jimmy Sherrod at Central UMC – Knoxville:

God, I am made in your image, and that is good. But I am not God…you are…and the world is better for it.

God, I confess my sin to you. Naming it takes away some of its power. (Silence)

God, remember me. God remember us. Your people. Remember your faithful promises to us. Bring your Spirit upon us, our city and our world. Revive our hearts. Reset our spirits and our understanding of purpose.

God, move me to action. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Trouble my heart to see the suffering of others. Help me to have compassion where you have shown me compassion.

I pray these things in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, who is mother of us all. Amen.

  • Ask that Spirit help you recognize your position on this issue.
    • Are there things you do or say that can be perceived as racist or can be hurtful or even harmful to people of color?
      • You may be apt to wrestle with the Spirit on this one, especially if the answer you receive isn’t who you thought you were, so keep an open mind and open heart.
      • You have to be willing to allow yourself to be changed before you can hope to change anyone else.
  • Ask Spirit to guide you about how you can best help eliminate the sin of racism locally.

The second step is taking action.

  • Once you know where you are on this issue, let that knowledge guide your actions.
    • Do you need to make some personal changes in what you say or how you think?
    • Do you need to seek some personal education to correct your own talk or actions?
    • Do you need to seek some personal education on how to better understand the issue?
  • If you’re in a position to work with others to make a better way, ask yourselves where you can have the greatest effect:
    • Do you work better alone or with a group?
    • Where locally is the need for reform the greatest?
    • Beyond sharing posts on social media, how can you work to achieve change in your local community?

The third step is giving to support your actions:

  • We often connect the word “give” with taking out our wallets or checkbooks and giving someone or some group money. Financial support is definitely a form of giving, but there are other forms of giving as well.
    • Could you organize a yard sale, bake sale, or another type of event to raise money for a local anti-racism community organizations?
    • Could you reorganize your schedule to budget some time to volunteer with a local group?
    • Do you have special skills that a local group is seeking?

Below are resources for your use during your period of prayer (discernment), action, and giving. To access them, just click the tabs.