Guest post: Praying for OUR Memphis…

Rev. Dr. David O. Weatherly, Interim Metro District Superintendent, sent this message to clergy and lay leaders in the Metro District earlier today.

What comes to mind when you think of Memphis?

Barbeque, the Blues, southern soul food, Rock ‘n Roll, a Pyramid, the NBA’s Grizzlies, the University’s Tigers, the fabulous Zoo, Beale Street, a city on the bluff of the mighty Mississippi River, the unique bridges that cross over that muddy, mega-waterway…

Those are all great things to consider about what makes Memphis truly a one-of-a-kind city. Those are also the things that we are proud to put on a postcard.

Those specifics listed above cannot be experienced in any other place on the planet like you can in Memphis.

For me, as one born and raised here, I think of only one thing when I think of Memphis…people. The human beings that live here and call this city home.

Which means we must make another list of what it means, and has meant, to live in Memphis. A list of things about what it has been like, past and present, to be a person who resides in Memphis.

Blacks and Whites (primarily), the struggle for civil/human rights, poverty, economic imbalance, racism, redlining, maligned public schools, and often corrupt/ineffective/divided government systems and leadership.

These elements also are present in many cities in our country and around the world.

There are also many miraculous things that can be found in Memphis that fill the lives of people who live here with hope…St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Metropolitan Inter-faith Association, The Church Health Center, and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of churches who offer effective ministries of care, concern, and compassion.

What makes today feel different is that we will see one of our own, a citizen of Memphis, a brother in the family of humanity, suffer great pain – and ultimately – life-ending injury. That it will come at the hands of police officers is even more troubling. We still do not know everything about what caused these five officers to react the way they did and completely overpower and assault an unarmed individual. They deserve to be considered innocent until proven guilty…but that will not matter today.

We know that the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of those who wear the badge of law enforcement do so with a full commitment to protect and to serve. I am thankful for them and support their willingness to put themselves and their lives on the line when any of us calls for help. I know some personally, and likely so do you. They are overworked, underpaid, and drive out of the precinct on their shifts with an anxiety we civilians cannot understand. May God protect them and may they always have the strength to protect and serve courageously and appropriately.

Today is normally my day off, so I have been in several parts of Memphis running errands. The looming release of the video of this event was clearly on the minds of many people.

I went to return an item at a department store. The two clerks at the customer service desk were talking about it as I approached the counter. One said to the other, “I don’t want to watch the video because I don’t want to hear someone crying out for their mom like that.”

I was in the grocery store and two employees were placing items on shelves. One noted to the other, “It sure is slow for a Friday.” The other remarked, “You know the video of the police incident is coming out. People are probably scared and staying home.”

I was driving near Poplar and I-240 and saw several vehicles clearly marked “Homeland Security” pulling off the interstate and merging in front of me. I have no idea if their presence was because of the dynamics around the release of the video, but that’s where my mind went.

The local sports talk show I normally listen to on the radio had put aside their usual topical conversation to reflect on how they thought the weekend would go after the video is seen.

It’s everywhere…and it should be. We all need to learn something from this.

Tyre Nichols was a Memphian. He was one of us. You cannot separate yourself from him – or his humanity. Today we need to pray for his family and OUR Memphis. It matters not where you live or serve in the Metro area. This is not a day you can separate yourself by urban, suburban, or rural – by Black, White, or another race – by rich or poor – by conservative or progressive – by clergy or lay. If one of us hurts, we all hurt.

No matter where you live or serve, we are people of faith, and we need to pray for OUR Memphis.

So, with the release of the video later today of the reported beating that took the life of Tyre Nichols, I am asking you as your Interim Metro District Superintendent to pray and engage your congregations in some capacity this Sunday in a manner that you feel is appropriate for your ministry setting. I trust that you know the best way in the context of your ministry settings to offer opportunities in whatever fashion is best for prayer, dialogue, and community response that promotes peace, understanding, and consideration for how such an act can and will ripple through our communities.

I ask that you pray for Tyre’s family and for strength in their unimaginable pain.

I ask that you pray for peace, patience, and the mighty power of God to descend upon our citizens and leaders.

I ask that you pray for these five former officers, that they will receive a fair and just process in being held accountable for their actions.

I ask that you pray that the media will not inflame an already volatile situation by sensationalizing this tragic event.

I ask that you pray for the Memphis Police Department that they may look within themselves and do all they can to ensure something like this never happens again.

I ask that you pray that no politician or political action group will use this tragedy to simply promote their agenda or suggest that all police are bad. We know they are not.

I ask that you pray that the response to seeing the video will not cause people to bring violence and destruction.

Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

May God bless the City of Memphis.

Daily Prayers for Lent | 4-09-22

God, there’s a lot of water out there! There’s water that you call us from, nurtured us in, fed us through, wrapped us up in, and water that when the time was just right released us to newness, released us to life, released us to know the experience of pain. We wait on you, God who controls the water. We wait! We wait for the rivers to become calm again. We wait for the streams of peace to drench our feet, our feet as we go forward knowing our steps are ordered by you. God, the water is wide, but your grace to handle it is so much wider! Be with us, God, in the water, be with us, we pray. In the Only name worthy of such praise, we pray. Amen!

(MICHAEL PARKER, Lenten Liturgical Resources from Africana Writers, edited by Safiya Fosua, 2020 at

Daily Prayers for Lent | 4-08-22


Your church needs You. Help Christians everywhere seize with one accord the mission to go out into all the world to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

Your church needs You. Wake us from our slumber and equip us to be the hands and feet of Christ in our communities. Like Christ healed the hurting, fed the hungry, preached good news to the poor, touched the lepers, and ate and dined with sinners, rouse Your church so that we may do the same.

This world needs You. College students struggle with depression. This world is not what they hoped for. Older adults didn’t plan for inflation eating their savings. Wars and rumors of wars speak to the hopelessness of this world. Lord, this world needs the church to be the church, to be salt and to offer the light of Christ. This world hungers for Christians to be Christians. They hunger to see people who forgive wholeheartedly, who love sacrificially, and who put their trust in God alone. Help the church to be like that.

For the world’s sake, for the witness to Christ we bear, help us, O Lord, to be the church You have called us to be at this time. It is in Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 4-07-22

Everlasting God,

     because of your tender mercy toward all people,

     you sent your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ,

     to take upon himself our flesh,

     and to suffer death upon the cross,

     that all should follow the example of his great humility.

Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of his patience

     and also be made partakers of his resurrection;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, U.S.A., 1979, p. 166., ALT.)

Daily Prayers for Lent | 4-06-22

Amen! In the name of Jesus we pray! Lent has come in a season when things seem backwards. We are divided, not united; we are walking away from each other, not towards one another; we are trying to talk over our neighbor, not listening to them. So let us recognize our backward state and begin our prayer with an “Amen!” and immediately offer it the name of Christ. Perhaps it will help us realize that faith is the work of going against the grain of society. Faith is the work of turning things right-side-up in an upside-down world. Faith is offering acceptance before knowing if there is agreement. Faith is listening before speaking. Faith is loving before judging. Faith is worshiping you, oh God, and not fretting if we don’t sing our favorite hymn, hear an easy-going sermon, or quickly averting our gaze from you as soon as we leave the sanctuary. Lord, may our Lenten journey be a time of right-sizing our faith. May our self-evaluations come against the example of Christ, and not in how well we are winning the war to be right. Keep our attitudes humble, our hearts open, our hands and feet active, and our minds flexible in the midst of your Holy mystery, oh God of Grace and Glory.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 4-05-22

Loving God, may we reach out with joy to grasp your hand.

If we are honest, we realize that we have been seeking other sources of life.

We recognize our weakness and turn to God for help.

Though our hearts are being opened up to their depths,

though we cry out to God for help, we are not discouraged.

The Lord is near to broken hearts.

When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,

and from all their distress God rescues them.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;

and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 4-04-22

Oh Lord, Please help me this day. Give me eyes to see how you are at work in every one of my circumstances. Lord, give me perseverance to increase my understanding of you. Give me a hunger to read your Word and to seek to know you more each day. Just as the dawn comes with its exact precision, help me to trust that You will also move in my life, in your perfect timing and in your beautiful way. In your name I pray, amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 4-02-22

God of the incarnation, you have sacrificed to identify yourself with us; so, inspire us to identify with those victims in our world who need a sense of solidarity.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 4-01-22

Gracious and Loving God,

We pause and bow in our spirits before your great and awesome presence.

We thank you for the gift of this day where we experience the wonders of your glory.

We praise you for a love that won’t let us go, won’t turn us loose, and won’t give up on us.

We thank you for Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

We thank you for the One who is Healer, Refuge, Deliverer, Strength, and Comfort.

We thirst for your presence! Our souls are parched and dry without the anointing that flows from your throne room of grace!

We will bless you as long as there is breath in our bodies, blood coursing through our veins, marrow in our bones and we are clothed in our right minds.

Help us to cling to the hem of your garment for refreshing, restoration, and resurrection that can only come from you.

We remember….and we repent…help us to be reconciled to our brothers and sisters and love them unconditionally.

Fix us and forgive us. Heal us and help us.

We rest our souls in the very palm of your hands…

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen


Announcement Regarding Appointments

There will be a change of date for the upcoming 2022 announcement of clergy appointments.

Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-31-22

O God, your glory is always to have mercy.

Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways,

     and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith

          to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word,

Jesus Christ your Son,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, U.S.A., 1979, p. 166., ALT.)

Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-30-22

God of grim and glory roads, guide us along a holy path during Lent. There are many grim scenes to witness. There are words of judgment and hate being spoken and shouted; victims of neglect, oppression, and prejudice to be cared for and defended. There are the powerful who need to be humbled and the powerless who need lifting up. There are moments of joy and renewal in acts of healing and grace; moments of injustice in the recurring echoes of the ancient cry, “Crucify him!” Help us to be intentional in our Lenten walk so that we are not tempted to join the angry mob. Help us to have eyes to see and ears to hear the Good News. Guide us to the cross of Christ. Let us weep with Mary. Let us say “Amen” to the centurion’s Holy Witness that Jesus, our Messiah, was and is truly Your Son. By Christ, in Christ, and through Christ, we pray. Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-29-22

God of Sorrows,

We cry holy for a God who is moved to tears when met with the conditions of this world. We are grateful that You are not a God who drags us out of our pain before we are ready— one who is not threatened by our tears but beholds them as holy. This Lent, help us to make space for a faithful examination of injustice, death, and decay in this world. We confess that we so often reduce salvation to the personal; let ours be a salvation tethered to the liberation of the world. And so form us into people who truly see the world, in all of its beauty and depravity. And when we find ourselves tempted to look away, steady us, that we may see with clarity our most desperate need for a Christ.

As we prepare for the memory of God hung from the cross, let us bear witness to all that requires it. Oppression, famine, war, neglect, loss, exclusion, loneliness, grief— all suspended by sin itself— let us resolve to see and name it all. That we would daily apprehend the breach between what we were created for and the distortion we see in the systems and powers of this world today. Let us grieve the chasm. And as we allow ourselves to weep with you, let us hope with you in the coming restoration of all things.

Glory to the One who met the cross with tears on his face. We look to You. Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-28-22

Most holy and loving God,
when we are confused, you provide clarity
when we are lost, you are the compass
when we are in despair, you shine a light of hope and joy
when we are glad, you rejoice with us
when we are challenged, you provide us strength and guidance
when we struggle, you provide patience and grace
may we always look to you in times of joy, times of sorrow, and times of worry
for only you provide an unconditional love and unending sense of hope and peace;
if only we pause to look . . . .


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-26-22

Almighty God, we confess our difficulty in accepting the grace you offer. We desperately want to prove ourselves worthy, but it is easy to see where our striving does much to separate us from you. Cleanse us from our tendency towards pride and self-righteousness and open our hearts to seek first your kingdom; so that in seeking your reign we might find the assurance of your love for us and the rest we so desperately need. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen