By Leah Marieann Klett, The Gospel Herald.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a powerful prayer asking God to bring peace and healing to the United States amid the pain, anger, and uncertainty seen nationwide following the shooting deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and five police officers who were gunned down in Dallas, Texas.
Over the weekend, Rice, a longtime member of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Calif., led the congregation in prayer during a special service held to commemorate those recently slain.
“Oh dear, Father, we come to you with heavy hearts,” she began. “We come to you with confused minds, we come to you with sinking spirits. But we come to you, too, knowing that we can always count on you. We are so grateful, as a people and as a church, to have a friend in you to whom we can bring all of our concerns, all of our trials and tribulations. And we do that now.”
Rice prayed for the victims of violence in Minnesota, Baton Rouge, Dallas, and in cities and countries around the world. She also asked God to protect those in law enforcement and various branches of the military who “defend us on the frontlines of freedom.”
Transcript of the prayer:
Oh, dear Heavenly Father,
We come to You with heavy hearts. We come to you with confused minds. We come to you with sinking spirits, but we come to you, too, knowing that we can always count on You. We are so grateful as a people and as a church to have a friend in You, to whom we can bring all of our concerns, all of our trials and tribulations, and we do that now.
Dear Heavenly Father, we pray for the victims of the violence of last week — in Minnesota, in Baton Rouge, in Dallas — and the victims of violence in weeks past, in years past, in our cities and our country and our world. We ask you to protect, dear Heavenly Father, those who protect us and protect our rights — our men and women of law enforcement and those amazing men and women in uniform, who protect us on the front lines of freedom — who volunteer to defend us at the front lines of freedom across the world.
Dear Heavenly Father, we acknowledge as the American people our dark past, our history of oppression coming from our birth defect of slavery, of prejudice. We recognize that the wounds and the stain, that the pain still lingers today, and that it shadows our relationships with one another and sows division.
But dear Heavenly Father, that is not the future we want for our country. We do not want that division to continue to shadow our future, or the future of our children or our grandchildren, and so we turn to You. We know that there are no easy answers, but the answers will come through You.
Dear Heavenly Father, as a nation and as a people we need to race again toward you, into the embrace of your loving arms. Dear Heavenly Father, we pray for guidance, we pray for wisdom for our leaders, and we pray that each and every one of us will leave this place justified by faith and secure and confident in your deep, deep love for us. And that from that confidence and security of our relationship with You, we will go out into the world as instruments of your peace, as instruments of the reconciliation that you seek from us, and as instruments of your love. That each and every day, dear Heavenly Father, we will search and ask that we can be a blessing to one another, as you have been a blessing to us. These things we ask in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.