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Prayers to Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrating Black History, “Nurturing Life: Tending the Soil/Soul of the Community”

Blessings of our ancestors, our praying grandmothers
Déjà Baptiste (The Black Trans Prayer Book)

You are not alone
You are not the first, or the only
There is a lineage you are inheriting
It is your courage, your faith, your
spirit that sets you apart
We are not doomed, We are not Cursed
We are the blessed ones, the blessing
We are blessed to know our spirits are
not only bound in our skin (flesh)
that bodies, like names, are expressions
Manifesting the soul we bear outside of
time and beyond infinity
There is a lineage here
You were never the first time your family,
your hometown,
your faith,
your lovers
loved
and were loved
by us
The blessed ones,
we heard and nurtured our ancestors’
dreams
and came forward to create and dream,
imagine and plant,
live in the physical what is celebrated
and cherished
and renewed
in the spiritual

 

A Familiar Prayer – (J. G. St. Clair Drake) – 1940
Oh Lord, we come this morning knee bowed and body bent before thy throne of grace.  We come this morning Lord, like empty pitchers before a full fountain, realizing that many who are better by nature than we are by practice, have passed into the great beyond and yet you have allowed us your humble servants to plod along just few days longer here in this howling wilderness.  We thank thee Lord that when we arose this morning, our bed was not a cooling board, and our sheet was not a winding shroud.   We are not gathered here for form or fashion, but we come in our humble way to serve thee. … And when I have done prayed my last prayer and sung my last song, and when I’m done climbing the rough side of the mountain, when I come down to tread the steep and prickly banks of Jordan, meet me with thy rod and staff and bear me safely over.  All these things I ask in Jesus’ name, world without end, Amen.

 

A Slave Father’s Prayer – Jacob Stroyer (1898)
When the time came for us to go to bed we all knelt down in family prayer, as was our custom; father’s prayer seemed more real to me that night than ever before, especially in the words, “Lord, hasten the time when these children shall be their own free men and women.”   My faith in my father’s prayer made me think that the Lord would answer him at the fartherest in two or three weeks, but it was fully six years before it came, and father had been dead two years before the war.

 

Give Us Grace – W. E. B. DuBois (1909 – 1910)
Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know cries to be done.  Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the words of [men’s ] mouths, or our own lives.  Mighty causes are calling us – the freeing of women, the training of children, the putting down of hate and murder and poverty – all these and more.  But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifice and death. Mercifully grant us, O God, the spirit of Esther, that we say:  I will go unto the King and if I perish, I perish – Amen.

 

A Prayer for Endurance – W. E. B. DuBois
In the midst of life and deeds it is easy to have endurance and strength and determination, but Thy word, O Lord, teaches us, that this is not enough to bring good to the world – to bring happiness and the worthier success. For this we must endure to the end – learn to finish things – to bring them to accomplishment and full fruition.  We must not be content with plans, ambitions, and resolves; with part of a message or part of an education, but be set and determined to fulfill the promise and complete the task and secure the full training.  Such men and women alone does God save by lifting them above and raising them to higher worlds and wider prospects.  Give us then, O God, to resist today the temptation of shirking, and the grit to endure to the end.  Amen.

 

My Black Soul Absorbs Every Shade of Being
Richael Faithful (The Black Trans Prayer Book)

When I breathe, I celebrate my darkness as it were life itself.

Each pass of air around the curves of my full lips, and dark-skinned mouth, is a joyous occasion worthy of comets blazing across the sky.

My darkness, much like darkness of space, is the fervor of soul jubilee.

A ripe passion of all of earth’s experiences packed into an unseeable tiny organism which scats D and N and A.

A kinetic explosion by millions of particles that brag about the histories of gospel, and blues, and funk, and rock ‘n roll, in their scattered release.

A wild, ecstatic dance containing secrets of dawn and dusk in its curious, beating swirl.

My breath reminds me that my skin possesses a path to paradise.

And as each dark person revels in the pleasure of their presence, we are imbued with the truth that we are in fact the presence of everything.

 

The following prayers were shared and read at PSR’s Community Chapel held on February 14th, 2023. Watch past Community Chapels and view our upcoming schedule on our Community Worship page.

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