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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

How long? A prayer in the wake of violence.

waterfall Our Father, See-er of the seen and the unseen:


We come to you today as a broken people:

Broken because of our national history of racial injustice, a history we can neither change nor ignore;

Broken because of our relative indifference to the sufferings of our black brothers and sisters;

Broken by our patterns of cruelty and callousness. 


We come to you today as a fearful people:

Fearful of the men and women you’ve commissioned to keep us safe;

Fearful of those who rightfully protest their mistreatment;

Fearful of a future where hatred grows and shalom fails.


How long, O Lord?

How long will we choose violence shot through the barrel of a gun?

How long until our cities are healed?

How long until our political leaders effect real reform?

How long until you kindle our national desire for your kingdom coming?

How long until justice rolls down like water, righteousness like an ever-flowing stream?


We thank you for your Son, Jesus, whom you sent into a world not unlike ours:

a world of violence and hatred;

a world of alienation and exile;

a world where an evil Herod ruled with blood thirst, systematically killing Bethlehemite babies.


You made yourself vulnerable to brutality, even to death—death on a cross.

How great is your love for us, that we should be called sons and daughters of this suffering God!


In your mercy, hear our prayers:

Make us little Christs, who, in righteous anger, overturn the tables of police brutality, inequitable public school funding, racial bias in our criminal justice system;

Make us little Christs, who suffer peaceably, casting hope in You, the Just Judge;

Make us little Christs, who proclaim a kingdom of repentance and redemption, who tell this good news:


“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”


We believe that you have inaugurated a new day in the resurrection of your Son, Jesus.


And looking forward to the day when he returns and sets this world to rights, let us work today to heal whatever small corner of the world we inhabit, by whatever gifts you have given, for the glory of His name.