A Prayer of Invocation based on King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

From a jail cell in Birmingham in 1963, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that “whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly” and that we all must repent not merely for the hateful words and actions of some, but for our own silence.

The preacher wrote that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; but comes through the tireless efforts of those of us willing to be co-workers with God, and that without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of stagnation and hate.

Lord God, this morning we gather to dedicate ourselves to walking with those who find themselves in the abyss of despair.  We will support each other, and our brothers and sisters and neighbors, who have found that the trials of this world and the sorrows created by the choices of others can no longer be endured, alone.

Beloved Creator, help us rekindle the light of faith and hope and love in all those who join with us this morning, and all whom we meet and minister-to in the days and weeks ahead.  Help us to remember that in helping them walk, they are helping us run.  By helping us run, they themselves are becoming agents of change and hope– as we are all called to be.

God, we honor your presence here today, and rejoice in the many ways you walk with us, and are a constant companion in our journey through life.  We ask for your grace, inspiration and strength as we seek to do the same for our fellow human beings, and so enable them to see you working through us.


Source: “Letter From Birmingham Jail”

Delivered at Memorial Congregational Church UCC in Sudbury MA, February 16, 2022 (streaming video worship service)

Copyright 2022, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Author: Allen

A would-be historian turned IT Professional who responded to the call to the Ministry, and is now focused on social justice and community service. He is the proud father of a daughter and son, and enjoys life with his wife near Boston. You can follow Pastor Allen on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PastorAllenV/.

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