A Litany of Audacity

pray their names (strozzo)

A Litany of Audacity
Prayers for the National Day of Fasting and Prayer

No one will ever know whether you successfully complete the full day of the fast; completing the fast is not the point. The point is that you and I and all of us are committing ourselves to deny our bodies food so we may be drawn closer to God’s presence as we audaciously appeal, supplicate, demand, beg, beseech God/Goddess to intervene … so that bodily hunger will direct us toward spiritual hunger … so that we may with every prayer commit ourselves to persistent appeals to the Creator.

Download the complete litany here: National Day of Fasting and Prayer 2015-2016
National Day of Fasting and Prayer web site, twitter, Facebook Event

Consider reading prayers aloud. 

Prayer prior to midnight 12/31

(Can be prayed at bedtime or before 11:59 p.m.)

God and Creation and All Ancestors and Beings and Spirits that to us are Holy:
At the turning of this year
Let the stretch of these souls be a power
let our prayers be a hope-full transformation
let their stomach growl of a hunger for a different world
their thirst for way of being with one another that is
not only a dreaming or the words of longing on our lips
But: a holy turning
A holy breaking open
A holy building
A holy yearning
A holy magic worked on every tongue and breath
Till there is not a question of if, or how, or when we will be the world we all need
But there is a declaration: Now
There is a prayer: Now
There is an invocation: Now
There is a claiming: Now
There is a sound of solidarity: Now
There is a sound of healing: Now
There is a sound of awakening: Now
Because it is not a dream Holy Ones: we will be the worlds we needed, we will be the worlds to come, let us be the spirit our inner wisdom whispers of fire of loving and powerful in us, let us be the gathering of all of us or none, let us be at this turning
And Free

(Sonny Graves)

1/1/16, 12:00 a.m.-12:01 a.m.


1/1/16, Prayer at 12:01 a.m.

(or upon waking)

Reading of the names

You created them in their mothers’ wombs. You know them by name, oh God.

We lift them up to you, the names of the lives taken through police brutality and devoid of justice here on earth. We commend them to your care and condemn the taking of their lives through brutality or carelessness.

Alan Craig Williams

Albert Joseph Davis (23)

Alonzo Smith

Alvin Haynes

Andre Larone  Murphy, Sr.

Anthony Ashford­­

Anthony Hill (27)

Artago Damon Howard (36)

Askari Roberts

Asshams Manley

Bernard Moore

Bettie Jones

Billy Ray Davis

Bobby Gross (35)

Brandon Jones (18)

Brian Acton

Brian Day

Brian Pickett

Bryan Overstreet

Calvon Reid

Chandra Weaver

Charly Leundeu Keunang (43)

Christian Taylor (19)

Christopher Kimble

Cornelius Brown

Dajuan Graham

Darrell Brown

Darrell Gatewood

Darrius Stewart (19)

David Felix (24)

De’Angelo Stallworth

Denzel Brown

Deontre Dorsey

Dominick Wise

Donald “Dontay” Ivy

Eric Harris (44)

Felix Kumi

Frank Shephard III (41)

Freddie Gray

George Mann

India Kager

Jamar Clark

James Carney III

Jason Champion

Jason Moland

Jeremy Lett (28)

Jermaine Benjamin

Jonathan Sanders

Junior Prosper

Justus Howell

Keith McLeod

Kevin Bajoie

Kevin Judson

Kevin Matthews

Kris Jackson (22)

Lamontez Jones

Lavall Hall (25)

Leroy Browning

Leslie Sapp

Lorenzo Hayes

Markus Clark

Matthew Ojibade

Michael Lee Marshall

Michael Sabbie

Miguel Espinal

Naeschylus Vinzant (37)

Natasha McKenna

Nathaniel Pickett

Nicholas Thomas

Norman Cooper

Nuwnah Laroche

Paterson Brown

Phillip White

Rayshaun Cole

Reginald Moore

Richard Gregory Davis

Richard Perkins

Romeo Roddrick Staples

Ross Anthony

Roy Nelson

Salvado Ellswood (36)

Samuel DuBose (43)

Samuel Harrell

Sandra Bland

Spencer McCain (41)

Stephen Tooson

Terrance Moxley

Terry Lee Chatman

Terry Price

Thomas Allen, Jr. (34)

Tiano Meton

Tiara Thomas

Tony Robinson (19)

Troy Robinson

Tyree Crawford

Victo Larosa III

Victor Emanuel Larosa (23)

Walter Scott (50)

Wayne Wheeler

Wendell Hall

William Chapman (18)

Yvens Seide

Zamiel Crawford

We ask you now to intervene so that NO MORE LIVES are taken in this manner.
We know you are the God of Justice!

We believe you hear us when we pray!

(Todd Whitley)

Instead of Auld Lang Syne, consider playing Hell You Talmbout/Janelle Monae: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHIUve8V2zo




God – where ARE You?

Please come and say our lives matter.

Please paint a self portrait and show how we fit into the image.

Please stand for us. Please stand with us. Please stand in us.



Because we are fighting too.


We are fighting, for ourselves, until we are turned Blacker by some of the men in blue.

We are fighting, fot ourselves, for human dignity.

We are fighting, for ourselves, for the right to cross the street in broad day light.

We are fighting, we are fighting, we are fighting!


But we need You as our Banner. Is that not a part of Your name?


Are You not the same yesterday, today, and forever?


Where is the Warrior God who will put our enemies in their place?

Our saving God,

Who will reconcile us all through Your grace.


Be the Healer God.

The Balm in America,

Because there are wounds on deeper levels than our bodies.


We need You – God.


Stand for and with us as You have before

With Martin, and Harriet,

Through slavery and Jim Crow,

Lead us on Exodus through Ferguson.

Be the God Who says Black Lives Matter!


I know You believe it. It has to be true.


You are the Creator of all things, and if sparrows matter so much…

Lilies of the field watered with dew,

I know us Black folk must matter to You too.


And when that day comes…


That day when You stand as Ringer of that Freedom Bell

When You break the dam over the Justice Stream

When You stand and validate our very being.


We will sing of salvation. We will sing of Your glory. We will sing to our King.


(Demitrius Burnett)




Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

(Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)



You have given all peoples one common origin.
It is your will that they be gathered together
as one family in yourself.
Fill the hearts of humankind with the fire of your love
and with the desire to ensure justice for all.
By sharing the good things you give us,
may we secure an equality for all
our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
May there be an end to division, strife and war.
May there be a dawning of a truly human society
built on love and peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.

(Catholic Prayer for Justice #1)


We also lift up to you the transgender people of color in the U.S. (and remember so many others who lost their lives world-wide) whose lives were taken through violence, bigotry and hate:

Papi Edwards (20)

Lamia Beard (30)

Ty Underwood (24)

Taja Gabrielle DeJesus (36)

Keyshia Blige (33)

London Chanel (21)

Ashton O’Hara (25)

India Clarke (25)

Shade Schüler (22)

Amber Monroe (20)

Kandis Capri (35)

Elisha Walker (20)

Tamara Dominguez (36)

Kiesha Jenkins (22)

Zella Ziona (21)

God full of mercy, bless the souls of all who have been killed this past year. We call to mind today young and old, of every race, faith, and gender experience, who have died by violence. We remember those who have died because they would not hide, or did not pass, or did pass, or stood too proud. Today we name them: the reluctant activist; the fiery hurler of heels; the warrior for quiet truth; the one whom no one really knew. As many as we can name, there are thousands more whom we cannot, and for whom no Kaddish may have been said. We mourn their senseless deaths, and give thanks for their lives, for their teaching, and for the brief glow of each holy flame. We pray for the strength to carry on their legacy of vision, bravery, and love. And as we remember them, we remember with them the thousands more who have taken their own lives. We pray for resolve to root out the injustice, ignorance, and cruelty that grow despair. And we pray, God, that all those who perpetrate hate and violence will speedily come to understand that Your creation has many faces, many genders, many holy expressions. Blessed are they, who have allowed their divine image to shine in the world. Blessed is God, in Whom no light is extinguished.

(Reuben Zellman)


O God, we thank you for the fact that you have inspired men and women in all nations and in all cultures. We call you different names: some call you Allah; some call you Elohim; some call you Jehovah; some call you Brahma; some call you the Unmoved Mover. But we know that these are all names for one and the same God. Grant that we will follow you and become so committed to your way and your kingdom that we will be able to establish in our lives and in this world a brother and sisterhood, that we will be able to establish here a kingdom of understanding, where men and women will live together as brothers and sisters and respect the dignity and worth of every human being. In the name and spirit of Jesus. Amen.
(Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)


Psalm 51
Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon
To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;[a]
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right[b] spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing[c] spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God[d] is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then you will delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

11:59A (Mid-Day Prayer)

(assume a prayer position that is different from your usual prayer posture: kneeling, standing, sitting, prostrate on the floor)

Oscar Grant, pray for us

Trayvon Martin, pray for us

Freddie Gray, pray for us

Michael Brown, pray for us

Sandra Bland, pray for us

Aiyana Jonnes, pray for us

Eric Garner, pray for us


Sing or recite the first stanza of Come Ye Disconsolate:

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,

Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.

Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;

Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.


Clementa Pinckney, pray for us

Cynthia Hurd, pray for us

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, pray for us

Tywanza Sanders, pray for us

Ethel Lee Lance, pray for us

Susie Jackson, pray for us

Myra Thompson, pray for us

Daniel L. Simmons, pray for us

Depayne Middleton Doctor, pray for us


Sing or Recite the second stanza of Come Ye Disconsolate

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,

Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!

Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,

“Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure.”


Denise McNair, pray for us

Addie Mae Collins, pray for us

Carol Ann Robertson, pray for us

Cynthia Wesley, pray for us

Emmett Till, pray ofr us


Sing or Recite the third stanza of Come Ye Disconsolate

Here see the bread of life, see waters flowing

Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.

Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing

Earth has no sorrow but heav’n can remove.


All you holy men and women pray for us.

To hear a version of Come Ye Disconsolate by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h8hTomC_8M

(Jim Mitulski)


For the mothers of the victims we pray, Creator, Mother, Father of us all. Only you know the pain they feel. Only you can give them peace. And in finding peace, give them a voice to speak out against those perpetrating crimes against their lost children. Give them peace in knowing that their anger is justified. Give them peace in standing up to those who oppose them. Give them peace that comes only from being the voice of reason. Give them peace in knowing that their love for their child is endless. Give them peace…….


(Debby Johnson)



Gracious and Loving God,
Fear dominates our land.  The fear tempts us to anger, and the anger blinds us.
Open our eyes, God, open our hearts.
Help us see that the differences that divide us are not menacing, not serious, not even different.
Challenge our tedious and tiny perceptions, that the gift of difference may help us grow.
Grow up.
I am Black, I am White.
I am Young, I am Old.
I am Male, I am Female.
Help me CARE.  Damn it all!—Am I open? Am I brave enough for self-reflection?
Fear dominates our land. The fear tempts us to power-over, and the power-over destroys.
May the destruction enter us, God, may it slay our shallowness and our gated communities of sameness.
Give us justice, God, the justice of Rumi’s field.
We are Black, we are White.
We are Young, we are Old.
We are Male, we are Female.
Help us LOVE!  Open our eyes, God, open our hearts!  Christ! Help us bear the anguish of seeing what. Is. true.
Fear dominates our land.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

(Katherine Godby)



Eternal Spirit Earth-Maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver, source of all that is and that shall be, Father and Mother of us all. Loving God, in whom is heaven.

The hallowing of your name echoes through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the earth!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever.


(The Lord’s Prayer, New Zealand Book of Prayer)



Oh, God, Goddess, Eternal Living Spirit

When I see young, innocent faces who were shot dead before their life began, I grieve.

I cannot even comprehend how deeply each parent, sister, brother, or child must mourn not only the loss, but the injustice.

Please hear me as I pray,

every waking hour

when I pray aloud

when I pray in public

when I pray in silence

when I pray in worship

when I pray on the bus

when I pray in my car

when I pray at work

when I pray in my dreams

I vigorously pray for a change in the system,

peace for families,

education about these grave injustices that continue to plague our country,

compassion for those suffering from fear and violence

that every candidate running for the highest office in this nation be required to understand racism in its many forms.


Give me strength as I pledge to persistently approach you in prayer throughout this new year.

You will hear from me oh God, often, and passionately.



(adapted from Vera Christensen)



We of all faiths pray together today to drive cruelty out of the hearts of police.
To strengthen the good in the hearts of police to resist evil impulses.
To strengthen the courage and goodness in the hearts of police to protect their communities from weak officers succumbing to cruelty.
We pray today to open the eyes of police unions and arbitrators to stop reinstating cruel weak police who’ve failed to arrest their own evil impulses and thoughts.
We pray together to give strength to officers to resist false peer pressure, which completely lacks the authority of goodness.
And we give thanks for the power of goodness over evil.

(National Prayer Day Against Police Brutality)


Dearest God,

We stand before you because we must.

We stand before You because

truths that should be self-evident

are not so evident in our country.

And so we turn to you to breathe

ever more of Your Spirit into us

because we find we cannot breathe,

the arms of armed forces wrapped around our throats

when we call out for justice.

We call to you in defiance of

of a national system that betrays our noble ideals,

where tanks and blood fill our streets,

where every Black man, woman, and child is

twenty times likelier to be killed by police.

We shout to the Heavens with one, unified voice:

Black. Lives. Matter.

We are called by scripture to pray for the day when we will

beat swords into plowshares and study war no more,

when the surplus of war led by greed and deception

will not spill into our streets,

where swords and tanks and rubber bullets and tear gas

will be beaten thinner and thinner,

the iron of hatred vanishing forever. (Amichai)

We pray to you because,

as our prophets have taught us:

human suffering anywhere

concerns men and women everywhere.

We call to you, O God,

because Your Image

was abandoned on rainy concrete for

4 and a half hours.


We call to you, O God,

because Your Spirit

was choked out of a father who

called out 11 times’ “I can’t breathe.”

We raise our hands to you,

knowing that the work is ours to do,

black, white, Jewish, Christian, Muslim,

Hindu, atheist, young, old, gay, straight –

These are your images, battered

By those sworn to protect and serve.

We are all responsible for what happens next.

And so we pray to You,

Source of Life,

raise up our eyes

to see You in each other’s eyes,

to take risks for justice,

to bring through our unified prayer today

more Love and Compassion into the world.

Ignite us to combat the hidden prejudice

which causes police to open fire in fear,

which transforms a child in a hoodie

into a hoodlum, a person into a threat.

We pray today not for calm but for righteousness

to flow like a mighty river, until

peace fills the earth as the waters fill the sea.

Comfort the families of all who grieve.

Strengthen us to work for a world redeemed.

And we say together:


(Rabbi Menachem, Inspired by Yehudah Amichai z”l and Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, in memory of Mike Brown z”l, Eric Garner z”l, and many, many others, recited as part of a Pilgrimage of Lament, Berkeley, CA 12/14/14)



I pray for an end to prejudice throughout our country and the world; that we will respect all people as precious children of God; and that racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination will be forever banished from our hearts, our society, and our laws. For the injustices we have committed by our words and actions.

God of fellowship and equality,
Hear my prayer, Oh God.

I pray for those whose words and actions imply that black lives don’t matter, for those that suggest that minorities of any kind don’t matter because in You, oh God, all lives indeed do matter. Help us to act like it.

God of empowerment and inclusion,
Hear my prayer, Oh God.

(Christian Watkins)



I pray for continued blessings on all peacemakers; blessings upon leaders throughout our country and the world, who value peace. And on everyone who promotes nonviolent solutions to conflict. That we may seek peace and justice rather than power and affluence. That we may recognize political corruption and work to purify it.

God of peace and gentleness,
Hear my prayer, Oh God.

I pray for all immigrants, refugees, and pilgrims from around the world, that they may be welcomed in our midst and be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. For our dehumanization and manipulation of our own fellow brothers and sisters.

God of outcasts and wanderers,
Hear my prayer, Oh God



We pray for all nations, that they may live in unity and peace; and that all people may know justice and enjoy the perfect freedom that only God can give. That we may never allow injustice because of indifference, cowardice or misconception.

God of liberty and freedom,
Hear my prayer, Oh God.

I pray for all who have died as a result of violence, racism, war, discrimination, disease or famine, especially those who died because of human blindness, neglect, or hardness of heart. For our responsibility for suffering, death, and total war. For all who have suffered from our unjust treaties, laws, and prisons.

God of eternal life and resurrecting love,
Hear my prayer, Oh God.



I pray for the strength of heart and mind to look beyond my self and address the needs of my brothers and sisters throughout the world; for the rural and urban poor; for the rebuilding of our communities; and for an end to the cycles of violence that threaten our future. That the life of the Holy Trinity may be present in all people.

God of generosity and compassion,
Hear my prayer, Oh God.

I pray for the reconciliation of all people, and for the Church throughout the world, that it may be an instrument of God’s healing love. That we may recognize all people as bearing the image of God, and act accordingly.

God of outreach and restoration,
Hear my prayer, Oh God.



Good and gracious God,
Who loves and delights in all people,
we stand in awe before You,
knowing that the spark of life within each person on earth is the spark of your divine life.
Differences among cultures and races are multicolored manifestations of Your Light.
May our hearts and minds be open to celebrate similarities and differences among our sisters and brothers.
We place our hopes for racial harmony in our committed action and in Your Presence in our Neighbor.
May all peoples live in Peace.

(Hermanas de la Misericordia)



Most gracious God of Mercy and of Justice, once and again we’ve come to a point in time such as this to call light to the cries of those underserved and often oppressed by implicit racism and prejudice.
Grant us grace to fearlessly and boldly contend against injustice, and to make no peace with oppression. And that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice for all people and nations.
You, oh God, called upon Moses to lead your children of Israel from the mistreatment and bondage of Pharaoh.
You sent prophets like Jeremiah, Amos, and Isaiah to stand up for Your children who had been pushed to the margins of society.
Your son Christ Jesus proclaimed He came to bring freedom to captives and liberty to the oppressed. In these moments when down is up, up is down and foolishness makes sense, with every fiber of our being we beg You, Almighty God, to help us not to fail nor falter.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that “the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:25 NIV)
Help us to know that You are still in control, that you are eternally strong and mighty! Help us to know that Your love is stronger than any form of bias that comes against those You call Your own.
Enable us to understand that you are still turning things around; making crooked places straight, rugged places plain, working for the good of those that love You. Set all of our hearts on fire with your love and truth, most merciful Master.
Create within us clean hearts and renew in us steadfast spirits as we remain vigilant in the fight against discrimination and intolerance.
Help us to glorify you in all things!
Be with us in this [coming year] as we embrace our mission to carry on in the struggles against injustice and in the assurance of equality for all our brothers and sisters throughout this nation and the world.
May there be an end to division, strife and war.
All these things and more we ask in Christ Jesus our Redeemer’s name.




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