This Juneteenth, Pray That God Will Heal the Spirit of Division

Download this prayer guide for racial healing, justice, and reconciliation

What is Juneteenth?

On June 19, 1865, African American slaves in Galveston Texas received word that their Independence Day had finally arrived. Although President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation establishing freedom for all those enslaved, emancipation did not happen overnight for those in Confederate States. It would be a full two and a half years before 250,000 enslaved people in Texas actually tasted freedom.

Upon hearing the news, celebrations broke out among newly freed black people and Juneteenth was born. Juneteenth, which is short for June Nineteenth, commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States.

Why is Juneteenth Important Today?

Juneteenth is considered the longest-running African American holiday. On this day, many gather to remember, thank God, and celebrate this historic moment that ended slavery in the United States. But even as we celebrate this day that marks freedom, we know that not all people experience the full benefits of this freedom.

The events of last year remind us that although African Americans are no longer slaves, many people and communities are still enslaved by racism. They are enslaved by oppressive attitudes, actions, and systems that deny them their dignity and equal rights. Treating others differently because of race is unjust. Racism is contrary to biblical teaching which includes this command: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Mark 12:31 GNT). As Christ-followers we are called to love those who don’t look or think like us. We are also called to grieve with those hurt by racism and to acknowledge pain and injustice. And we are called to seek justice for all humanity.

Healing from the Divisive Spirit of Racism

This Juneteenth, as we remember the events that led to the end of slavery, let us be inspired to pursue justice by praying for healing from the divisive spirit of racism. We believe that through our prayers, God can disrupt evil forces perpetuating strongholds of racism and division in people’s hearts, institutions, and systems. To help you pray, we created this prayer guide entitled, “Prayers That Heal the Spirit of Division.” Download this prayer guide and let the Holy Spirit guide you as you pray for racial healing, justice, and reconciliation in our nation.

Let’s Pray Together

Father, we acknowledge that racism is still prevalent in our world today. We acknowledge that many of our dear brothers and sisters have suffered due to this divisive spirit. Today, we repent for the harm we have caused others because of the sin of racism. We pray that you will lead our nation as we rebuild ways of thinking, being, and doing that honor and serve all people.

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Nena Podbury
Nena Podbury

Nena Podbury is a Prayer Mobilization Associate at American Bible Society. Originally from the Bronx, she served in children’s ministry for 12 years doing Sidewalk Sunday School. Nena is married with two children, Noah and Emilia.

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