Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16

In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
   do not let me ever be put to shame;
   in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me;
   rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
   a strong fortress to save me.

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
   for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
   for you are my refuge.
My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
   save me in your steadfast love.

Dear God of Inclusion, God of Love, God of Justice and God of all,

We pray that you listen to the cries of our hearts, Oh Lord. We cry out for justice in our communities and acceptance in our homes and churches.

We pray that you change the judgmental hearts of your people. Grant those who are hurting the strength to carry on. Allow your love to mend and heal the precious hearts that have been broken, torn and abused.

Allow your sweet peace to rest among the lives in turmoil caused by a lack of acceptance and understanding. Transform your churches, Dear God, and let them not be buildings of condemnation but sanctuaries of love and of acceptance of your children.

Bless the hearts of those who are yearning to belong in your Kindom. Teach us all to love without discrimination and without judgment. Let our lights shine brightly in the dark places. Teach us to live and exist in unity as you have created us.

Guide us to speak up for the voiceless and to stand up for those who are facing injustices. As we push towards inclusion and justice we pray that your love breaks down every barrier that pushes back against us. We pray these things with pure hearts of love and gratitude for the blessings, inclusion and justice that is to come.

Amen.

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Rhys Xavier Caraway

Rhys Xavier Caraway is a native Houstonian and social justice advocate in the LGBT & African American communities. Rhys attends St. Johns United Methodist Church under the leadership of Pastors Rudy & Juanita Rasmus. He also currently works with The Shout, which promotes solidarity and inclusive community using spoken word, art and music while mobilizing positive community involvement, under the direction of Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner. Rhys is currently organizing a program entitled Young Black Voices which provide young African-Americans with platforms to express their views on issues that are affecting the black community.

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