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A Prayer of Lament for This Moment

The Witness

On May 30th, after a raw and real-time of sharing pain, strategy, and hope for change, our president, Jemar Tisby, closed out our special live event time with these words. Feel free to share them with others or pray them yourself. Thank you to Dr. Luke Stamps for transcribing the words.

Lord, Psalm 13 says, “How long, oh Lord?” How long? And that’s a question I think many of us are asking. How long, oh Lord, will we see Black unarmed women and men killed on camera?

How long will the perpetrators go free without a criminal charge?

How long will we protest in the streets and be met with a militarized police force seeking to violently repress us?

How long, Oh Lord, will we have to hear the rebuttals of people who just don’t understand, and saying that the issue is really something else when the issue is racism and injustice?

How long, oh Lord, will this COVID-19 disproportionately impact Black and Brown people and those we consider essential workers but who we don’t treat as essential on a normal and day to day basis?

How long, oh Lord, will we have to have podcasts like this where we are pouring out our hearts and grief into a microphone hoping people will listen and respond in a positive way?

How long, O Lord?

And God we don’t have the answers, and the reality is we’re not in control. And that feeling, Lord, of helplessness makes it feel like walking through a valley, a valley in the shadow of death. O, God, we pray for your presence.

We pray Lord, that in the midst of this darkness and this valley, in the midst of the pressure and the weight of that question “How Long?” That you would be right beside us, and that your rod and your staff would comfort us, not because the problems have gone away, but because you have shown up. So show up with us, please Lord.

Please bring healing, bring justice, bring comfort, O, God, in this moment.

We are your children, and you are our loving Father, and we hold up your promises to you, and beg and plead, Lord, for relief. So I pray that anyone listening to this would feel that relief, even in this moment through the power of the Holy Spirit coming to remind us,

“How long? Not long!”

And in the midst of it you are right there with us. You know exactly what it’s like. Your arm is around our shoulders. We can lean our heads on you. We can weep. We can be silent. We can speak. But you are right there. Thank you for being there, Lord.

Bring us healing, in Jesus’ name.


4 thoughts on “A Prayer of Lament for This Moment

  1. Eli Flanagan

    Amen and Amen. Emmanuel.

  2. Lauren

    Yes. Thank you for leading us in lament. Amen.

  3. Toviyah

    Hi Thomas W.,

    In answer to your request, “Yes we can!” like Obama said. But we won’t do it for you because you are being snarky. It’s also not a sign of Christian maturity. Please review the book of James regarding the tongue (or the fingers). Anyway I’ll pray that you continue to remain free from the harmful effects of this coronavirus pandemic.

    Have a great day,


  4. Leonard Dumire

    Amen….and Amen.

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