A Booklet of Uncommon Prayer: Collects for the Black Lives Matter Movement—and Beyond

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Our worship and our prayers and our way of living are all intimately intertwined: what we do in our prayer affects our beliefs, which in turn affect our very way of being in the world. Praying shapes believing shapes living as faithful Christians in a world torn apart by social ills.

Ours is a context of awful memory. In my country, the United States, people are constantly mis-named, mis-gendered, and mis-remembered, our salvation histories glossed over or forgotten. Enslaved persons are re-named “migrant workers” by history textbooks, concentration camps are euphemistically re-branded as “internment,” millions of divine image-bearers are labeled “illegal” simply because they lack documents.

There is something potent and subversive about the power of prayer to broach and carry these conversations—and to train us to believe differently. Prayer has the potential to not only remember the power of God born in our midst, but also to faithfully orient ourselves towards incarnating another kind of world.

What People Are Saying About A Booklet of Uncommon Prayer

“If there was ever a time when these prayers are needed, it is now. Kenji’s work speaks to the crises of the present moment, while also echoing the ancient, biblical vision of God’s liberation. I will carry these words on my person and in my heart as I minister and serve in my community, and I hope that they find their way into the hands of all those who work for justice in the name of Jesus.” ~Matthew David Morris

“Kenji has laid out a liturgical space for lament, pain, suffering, love, and hope for a movement that is shaping our current time. Kenji’s work is ecclesial and creates a space for post-civil rights theology rooted in justice and equality. Take this in page by page and allow the work of the spirit to do its process in you.”  ~Daniel White Hodge, PhD

“As a follower of the Word made flesh, words have both incredible vulnerability and power; these prayers are grounding in a whirlwind. Taking in the words of Kenji’s prayers is to not only embrace the complexities of the broken world that surrounds us, but it is also a clarion call to respond to such complexities through prayer and contemplative action.” ~The Reverend Tuhina Verma Rasche

“We are in a moment where we require the tools of radical prayerfulness, potent lament, and healing liturgy that speaks out of and into the margins of our deepest pain and greatest hope. This collection of prayers by Kenji Kuramitsu offers us this gift.” ~Teresa Pasquale Mateus

About the Author

Kenji Kuramitsu is an educator, liturgist, and graduate student at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL. He writes and speaks regularly on the intersections of Bible, diaspora, mixed race identity, social media, and non-traditional family structures, and he is passionate about decolonizing work in the church and society.

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I often fail to come even close to the submission and faithfulness prayed for here, but these words represent my desire. I hope you can make these words your sincere longing as well.