On January 6, 2022, faith leaders from across the country and across religious traditions, led by Rev. Dr. Barber and Rev. Dr. Theoharis of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, came together one year after a day of violence and destruction that betrayed the values of our democracy and desecrated our sacred religious traditions to offer prayers of love, justice, truth, and equality and to commit to putting our prayers into action.
A Prayer for Resurrection
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign
God of righteousness, truth, love and life. We come to you today because we have heard your call for a moral resurrection.
You have told us what is good and that is to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly. To do what is right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor, the one who has been robbed. To do no wrong or violence to the other, the children, or the widow, and to not shed innocent blood.
To stop legislating evil and depriving the poor of their rights. To give to anyone who asks of the nation and share our clothes, food, resources with anyone who lacks. To not extort money from anyone. Make no threats or false accusations. To pay just wages and organize society around the needs of the least of these, who are most of us.
On this day, the anniversary of a violent insurrection spurred on by political and economic forces who destroy life and despise the poor, the marginalized, the downtrodden, we commit, we recommit to bringing your reign of everybody in, nobody out to earth.
We remember your commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, to welcome the immigrant refugee, release those captive to racism and injustice, to cancel debts, and bring good news – not the bad news of voter suppression, and racism, and white supremacy, and poverty and low wages – to the poor. We remember we are to repair breaches.
And loving God, today on Armenian Christmas, Three Kings day, and Epiphany – the day when some wise economists and scientists – who know that the moral thing to do is also what’s good for the economy and larger society – defied the forces of hate, violence and greed and recognized that salvation, life, transformation, resurrection comes from the poor, those rejected by society.
God of the people, you teach us that love tramples hate. That truth trounces lies. That hope conquers fear. And life overcomes death. Resurrection always wins out over insurrection.
And I pray these words from Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
“We live in a moral universe. Right and wrong do matter. Truth will out in the end. No matter what happens. No matter how many guns you use. No matter how many people get killed. It is an inexorable truth that freedom will prevail in the end, that injustice and repression and violence will not have the last word.”
This is my prayer today and everyday. Amen. And Amen.
Imam Saffet Catovic, Muslim Chaplain at Drew University, Islamic Society of North America’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances
Assalamu’alaikum—Greetings of Peace—your brother in faith and creation Saffet Catovic. Thank you for the opportunity, blessing, and honor to be with you all today.
I am coming to you today from my home in New Jersey – the ancestral and unceded lands of Lena Lenape native peoples, members of indigenous peoples of this, Turtle Island who have been tireless defenders of Mother Earth and her all her gifts including the life giving waters.
Here we are – one year later from the insurrection and as we gather here today virtually to remember, reflect on the horrors of that day and pray for safe and secure future for ourselves and our nation as we must rise together and beat back the hate and violence with a radical love that embraces and includes all of our sisters and brothers in our human family – those who are infused with the Divine spirit, made in the Image of God – named the Children of God. Let us bow our heads and open our hands and hearts in prayer
Ya Rabbana, lakal hamdu, Kama Yambaghy, Lijalali Wajhika Wa Aztheemi
Oh Dear Lord, All Praise and gratitude be to You, as much as your magnificence and
great authority and power deserve.
Ya rabanna lakal Hamd –- We pray that we become the embodiment of radical love as we seek to bring about the inclusive beloved community. For this radical love is our foundation as You have taught us through the Prophet Muhammed who said – Hubbul Assasi – love is my foundation .
Ya rabanna lakal hamd – Our Lord Praise and Glory be to you – Help us to continue to work and strive together to realize this radical love in the world which manifests itself in the public square through an inclusive and complete justice and equity.
Ya rabil alameen – Oh Lord of all the worlds empower us to be faithful to your commandment to do justice and stand up and stand for justice always – as you have directed us in the Holy Quran, in the Chapter of the Bee (16:90)
In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful Redeemer
“God commands justice, the doing of good (equity) and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all wrongful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you that you may receive admonition.
And let the believing folk say—Ameen / Amen!
A Prayer of Clarity and Commitment
Dr. Adam Barnes, Director of Religious Affairs, Kairos Center
In times of suffering and fear—times such as these—we get confused, lost, misled as to where God is, what God is, and what God wants.
The Bible tells us that God is love. “Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them.”
God is Justice. God sees the suffering of people, hears their cries and leads them out of oppression.
God’s way is peace and abundant life for all through love and justice.
We come to know God’s way in and through our relationships with people and with the earth we inhabit.
That which is of God lifts up and loves life and helps everyone and everything that possesses life thrive.
That which is not of God tears down, separates, hates, and seeks to possess and control life,
Let us not be misled by the idols of nationalism. That is not God. Let us instead listen to the cries of the oppressed, those who are denied the fullness of life, the 140 million poor and low income in this country and the billions more around the world, whose cries are God’s cry for justice and abundant life for all creation. And let us commit and recommit to God by taking up the struggle for justice against the inforces that take and degrade life.
A Prayer from Bishop Lawrence Reddick, Presiding Bishop of The Eighth Episcopal District and Senior Bishop of The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Worthy are You, O God of all Creation! You have made us, O God, in Your likeness, and You have placed in our hands responsibility for stewardship of all creation known to us.
We call upon You today through our various faith perspectives for direction and wisdom at a crucial time in our nation’s history; when we desire to move beyond insurrection and beyond the deep chasms that divide us and create distrust among us.
We who call upon You as Christian believers praise You for Your appearance in humanity in the person of Jesus, and thank You that He presented to us and the world Your character in perfected human form. We celebrate on this Epiphany Day His appearance to the world, as He walked and talked among us.
Help us hear today His challenges to us as He lived among us, reminding us that You have called us to “love the Lord [our] God, with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind … and strength, … and, also, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.” He hear Him, again, calling us to do our love – even our love to Him – in acts of justice toward each other, saying to us, “As you have done it to one of the least of these, you have done it to me”; and, “As you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.”
Forgive us, O Lord, for our failings and our trespasses – against You and against each other.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, as we pray to be filled with Your own depths of love and continuing lovingkindness, with Your deep mercies, and compassion. Fill our tongues with good things that will build each other up, and grant us Your miraculous grace that we will act in wise ways so that Your people will grow deeper in humanity and yet stronger in Your grace; so that people – all people – can flourish – and that we may then glorify You by our words and deeds.
In these various faith perspectives, we pray in various ways, believing in One God; and in the name of Jesus Your beloved, I pray. Amen.
A Prayer of Healing
Rabbi Alissa Wise
Misheberach avoteinu v’imoteinu
May the one who blessed our ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah bless us all those that are still reeling from the effects of insurrection and the harms of senseless hatred. May those who still fear, who wake in the night in terror, who recoil at the memory find a new narrative for what that day means to them, and to us. May they find a story of resolve to defend democracy, voting rights, and free speech in this country for all who live here.
May the one who gifted us our ancestors, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Andrew Goodman, and Emma Goldman, gift us with the same courage to insist and defy and protest and defend and realize a world of equity and dignity. May their legacies inspire us to act with chutzpah and tenacity to the climate crisis, to the ongoing threat to our democracy, to this country’s disrespect for poor people and workers, to the fight for just immigration policy, for environmental regeneration, for a just foreign policy that will include liberation for Palestine, a viable future for the people of Afghanistan. Let us not let the fire go out on racial awakening or our vision of a world without poverty. Let us find within us the commitment to fight for as long as it takes.
And may our actions and our movements to realize a thriving multiracial democracy be protected always.
הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיִּים.
Lay us down, adonai our god, in peace, and raise us up again to life.
וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ
Spread over us Your canopy of peace
וְתַקְּנֵנוּ בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ
And guide us with Your good counsel.
וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ
Save us for Your name’s sake.
וְהָגֵן בַּעֲדֵנוּ. וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אוֹיֵב דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב וְיָגוֹן
וְהָסֵר שָׂטָן מִלְּפָנֵינוּ וּמֵאַחֲרֵינוּ
Shield us from every enemy, plague, sword, famine, and sorrow. Remove the adversary from before and behind us.
וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנוּ
כִּי אֵל שׁוֹמְרֵנוּ וּלְשָׁלוֹם מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם.
And Shelter us in the shadow of your wings
Guard our going out and our coming in, and grant us life and peace, now and always.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַפּוֹרֵשׂ סֻכַּת שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ
וְעַל כָּל עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלָיִם.
Blessed are You, Adonai, who spreads your shelter of peace over us and over all the world. And let us say. Amen