Days after the horrifying murder of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest that swept through the Twin Cities—home to the Venture US offices and many of the Venture community—our team gathered together. Exhausted and grieving, we did what we have done every week for years as part of our rhythm of work on behalf of those in need. We called for a day of fasting and prayer.
We would pray for justice.
We would pray for healing.
And as we have often prayed over the countries where we serve, we would pray for oppressive systems to be broken as the Kingdom revealed itself.
As we gathered for an organized hour of prayer, we walked through a powerful, 4-part prayer journey. One month removed from these events, we’re still finding the journey to be both revealing and healing. As you pray for the justice of oppressed people groups both here and around the world, we invite you to consider taking this journey with us.
Over ⅓ of the Psalms are songs of lament—expressions of deep and sometimes unexplainable, sorrow. Lament, though difficult, is a necessary invitation when praying for the oppressed. It is the process of entering into suffering; carrying burden to its fullest measure. We lament for what has happened, for what our brothers and sisters have experienced, for what many of us are experiencing, and for the brokenness that exists in our world.
Moving from the invitation of lament, we enter into a time of repentance. Repentance is the recognition of wrongdoing (both inwardly and outwardly) and the intentional turning away from wrong to pursue what is right—that is, what we know as the Kingdom. As we enter into this space, it’s important to note that perhaps one of the more difficult things we’ll find is that in either subtle or overt ways, we’ve often played a role in the oppression. Repentance creates space for us to recognize where and how we’ve added to the pain. Once we see it, we confess it and then we can properly address it.
Moving from a time of repentance, we enter into a time of intercession. Intercession is an invitation to present requests on behalf of others; to stand in the middle of what is fractured and broken and ask for a new and better way. Intercession is the act of making peace between humanity and heaven.
The final invitation of this prayer journey is declaration. This is the invitation to say the things that God has already said until we see the things that He has said. It is the “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven” moment. It is the act of agreeing with, and releasing God’s intended order of things back over the world.
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17