Can We Pray Away Racial Injustice?
Can We Pray Away Racial Injustice?
By John C. Parks
Let us face it; the world we live in is full of the injustice of all kinds. There are the racists who wreak havoc on the fundamentals of our rights as citizens. Then, prejudices hinder our ability to acclimate and live a quality life filled with dreams, aspirations, and goals. These trying times could separate us from God and the people around us. Some suggest that the church should do more. However, what can we do in addition to marching and protesting?
Our first answer to the above question is to pray. We know that prayer is powerful. It can move mountains and bring about God’s providence in a way we have never seen before. However, is that all we can do? Do we believe that prayer can take away the injustice of our world? How do Christians balance prayer and stepping out against injustice?
These questions have been filtering through my mind for some time. Recently, the Covid-19 virus, senseless murder of black people, and the resulting looting of innocent people’s property speak to the depravity that exists in our world—every generation of black youth protest against these despicable events. Things get better in some ways, and then there is the retreat to the loss of progress. Opposing forces work to undermine and maintain the status quo of injustices because of their historical bias.
Prayer should always come before any action. Christians too often come up with great ideas, but they are not what God genuinely wants from them. We are caught up in the doing of God’s work and forget to ask Him first what He would have us do. If we should obtain God’s involvement in our efforts, we should consider His will. Some horrific events are within His will. He wants to motivate us to consult Him in our need for a better society [Proverbs 3:5].
In Scripture, we can read verse after verse, which directs us to prayer. Although we cannot list them all here, I want to take a moment and focus on just a few.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” [Philippians 4:6]. This is possibly the most well-known verse regarding prayer. It specifically tells us when to pray and what to pray. It is a simple request by God. We are to pray about everything! There is nothing off-limits to God. This includes the injustice of our world. “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea” [Psalms 102:17].
These two verses are essential in our discussion because they tell us that prayer is the direct line of communication with God. As we focus on the injustice of our world, we must seek God’s direction. However, the work does not stop with the prayer. Ecclesiastes 5:8-9 gives us instructions.
We should not marvel at the matter. There is a need for action. Faith without works is useless. Praying with no intention to solve a problem is a pointless endeavor. Marching without specific solutions in mind is beating a drum that only makes much noise. Complaining and not willing to participate in our communities, our city’s governance, and our justice system are double-minded. Racial injustice will cease when hearts change. Racial justice is not white versus black. Racial injustice exists between the Main- land Chinese and Hong Kong, China. Racial injustice exists between the North Koreans and South Koreans. Racial Injustices exists between Israel and Palestine. Racial Injustices exists between the Muslims and Islamic nations.
We pray for injustices that have existed for centuries. We feel positive only for a brief moment. We march, protest and receive the appropriate attention for a season, and then we return to business as usual with minimal improvements.
Will prayer stop racial injustices? Yes, prayer can end racial inequities, but not until the heart of men change. This change cannot exist until we acknowledge God’s righteousness [God’s right way of doing things]. The thoughts of men are continually evil [Genesis 6:5]. These scriptures explain why God destroyed the earth in the days of Noah. This text also explains why God will destroy the earth for the last time upon the return of Jesus Christ.
Prayer causes God to intervene in our affairs. However, we should not pray about the sin (racial injustice} [I John 5:16]. We should pray that men receive salvation through Jesus Christ [Romans 10:10] until men give their hearts to God through Jesus Christ. Racial injustices will continue. Then, God will intervene and destroy the wicked, allow catastrophes, release pestilence, and death until humankind surrenders. Then, the trumpet will sound, and God will end all of these racial injustices and create a new heaven and earth [Revelations 21:1-3].
Until then, we should continue to protest against unrighteous indignation, wicked behavior, and evil works. More importantly, we should pray for the hearts of men to receive salvation by God through Jesus Christ. Amen.
John C. Parks, Th.D., BS, MBA, ESPO
July 8, 2020