Prayer for Our Muslim Friends
President Obama made an historic visit to a mosque in Baltimore this week. In the face of so much anti-Muslim rhetoric these days—especially among presidential candidates—he reminded all of us that ours is a country built on a strong commitment to religious freedom. Sounding every bit the UCCer he used to be, Mr. Obama said: “If we’re serious about freedom of religion — and I’m speaking now to my fellow Christians who remain the majority in this country — we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.”
Yes! When our Muslim brothers and sisters are threatened, discriminated against, attacked, we too are threatened, discriminated against, and attacked. We have in our respective traditions found different paths to God…but we all are seeking God. We all are seeking the common good. We all are trying to the best of our ability to act the world into well-being.
And so today, it seems important—as people of Christian faith—to pray for our Muslim friends. They have experienced much discrimination, they have been the victims of hate crimes, they have been ridiculed—especially the women wearing hijabs—for their dress. And all they’re trying to do is practice their faith.
Certain that the one God loves us all fiercely and hopes for the wholeness of ALL God’s children, let us join our hearts together in prayer:
Holy One, we call you Holy One, because it’s a phrase that all of us can speak to you. By whatever name we call you in our private devotion, for each of us, You are the One who is holy, the One who makes us whole, the One who makes us one. We thank you that you receive us into your love and care no matter the path we take. As Christians, we come to you most easily through the person and life of Jesus. Our Muslim friends come to you through their prophet Mohammad and their caliphs. We all come to you in the context of our religious traditions, our cultural settings, our desire to help you create the world as you hope it to be. Thank you for making us one.
As Christians, we pray today for our Muslim friends. Many of us in this room have experienced exclusion, humiliation because of our appearance, even threats to our lives. That kind of hatred is dehumanizing, Holy One. That kind of hatred is not from you. And so today, we pray for our friends who are experiencing frightening things at the hands—and voices—of their fellow country people. We pray that they might know just how precious they are in your sight…and in ours.
We pray for ourselves, too, Holy One. We haven’t always had open minds when it comes to adherents of other faiths. We’ve believed some of the hurtful things that have been said about Muslims. Forgive us, Holy One. Give us wisdom and courage to keep our minds and our hearts open to these, your beloved children.
And give us the creativity and the strength we need to be active allies with our Muslim friends. May we never be “bystanders to bigotry.” Help us know best how to support our friends publicly, and in conversations with friends and with family. Our prayer is that these Muslim friends will know without a shadow of a doubt that at least one group of Christians in Cobb County, Georgia, have their back.
Holy One, we are so grateful for your love, which sustains us through every hardship and challenges us to live our best lives so that the world can become the place you always have imagined it could be. Help us at all times, in all places, in all ways to reflect your love to others.
In the name of Jesus–and all names—we offer this prayer, Amen.