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  • Nora Hacker


Psalm 4:1-3:

"Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

How long, you people, shall my honour suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him."

The prayers of the Psalms often start out with anger, distress, demands for God to hear, and for vengeance against our enemies. There are no shame in these honest outpourings and God has plenty of space for them.

It is okay if that is where you are currently at. You cannot rush the process. If all you have is grief, anger, or questions, you are beloved and held with tenderness.

Over time...and in the reading of the Psalms it appears instantaneous...the one in distress wrestles through and finds peace again.

But in real life, it is doesn't happen in three minutes. Brittany Packnett Cunningham says: "In the wake of oppression the powerful will ask the oppressed to choose 'peace.' What they really mean is order. Peace requires justice."

Rock City does not believe in rushing past injustice for a negative peace. Pastor Annie, in the tradition of the psalmists, with experience, personal determination, and from her deep well of love, continues to call us to love without glossing over how very hard it is.

And that is what Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes was doing when she started out a published prayer: "Dear Lord, help me to hate white people..."

As she explains: "So I was hella triggered... And I was already past deadline for my contribution. I could have done a lot with that rage. I could have sought vengeance, maybe putting the person on social media blast in order to try to ruin their reputation. But I didn’t. I took my rage to God as the psalmists and the prophets did before me.

I didn’t even ask God to take revenge on my enemies as the psalmists often did. I took my anger to God."

And it is a challenging prayer. As a white person I need to be intentional about where I see myself in it. I need to avoid preformative guilt and yet, I must not distance myself from my own community.

And it's a beautiful prayer. So much holy rage and love shared for not only her own sake but for the sake of others.

In solidarity with the push back Dr. Walker-Barnes is receiving about this prayer, many have taken the time to record themselves reading the prayer. I share this powerful reading from Lisa Sharon Harper with you, in the hopes you will, if you have the time and space to listen, will be challenged and uplifted in a week that has once again given rise to the cry, "Oh, Lord, how long?"

I hear the prayer, and breath, "I have received mercy! So much mercy!"

Go to her blog for the full prayer and the rest of her story:

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