by Tracey Davenport
Great God, who made women and men in your own image, who shows no partiality, who gathers more people than we can count, people of every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, and calls us to worship:
We praise you for the women and men you have called to lead your people and serve your kingdom: for Sarah, Rahab, Deborah, Mary Magdalene, Priscilla and Lydia, as well as countless others whose names we do not know; for Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Paul and Luke, as well as countless others whose stories were not told. We beg you to help us raise up another generation of men and women who believe the Good News and are willing to lay their lives on the line to share it.
We ask that we might see as you see: the beauty of ebony and ivory, of espresso and olive, of cinnamon and peach, and skin of every color in between; the richness of gifts among young and old, rich and poor, educated and simple, rural and urban, able and differently abled; the glory of one Body of Christ, working together, in unity and diversity, building each other up as you build your kingdom through us.
We beg you to help us reach across barriers of gender and race that keep us at odds with each other, that make us suspicious of each other, that might even help us do harm to one another. Pour out your Spirit upon us so that we might be healed and made new.
We thank you for Jesus, who called women and men to follow, who blessed children, who ate with tax collectors and sinners, who loved and respected each precious life, and who gave his life for the whole world. It is in his strong name we ask for egalitarian ministry. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Tracey Davenport is the senior pastor and head of staff at Grace Presbyterian Church in Plano, TX and serves as a member of The Fellowship Community Board.