Review: Rhythm of Prayer: The Prayer of a Weary Black Woman

The prayer by Chanequa Walker Barnes, Ph.D. has caused quite a stir. If you have not seen it already, it is the prayer that begins with the words “Dear God, please help me to hate White people.” Barnes’ has asked everyone to look at the context of her prayer so let us look at her additional explanation as well.

The R-word

Many people were horrified at what she wrote. Even in a time when open hate of white men or conservative Christians is considered acceptable, people are outraged. Dr. Barnes has been labeled a racist for writing a prayer that sounds more like it’s being directed to Satan rather than God….btw, she also apparently prays to dead black people. Usually, name-calling shuts down important dialogue, so it is crucial to refrain from name-calling someone even if it’s warranted. Talking about a message like this can be used as a moment of growth. Even though the author has been guilty of hurling character assassinations without care for the wellbeing of others, let us all extend her some grace. Let us genuinely pray for the author because that is what Christ would want us to do.

Poorly Written

One Twitter user brought up an important point that Dr. Barnes has not addressed as of this writing. Should Dr. Barnes have been more effective at communicating her words? She insists that she does not hate white people. Surely, she should be a more effective communicator. This was a public prayer written for mass consumption, whatever shocking point she was trying to make should have been made clear.

About the Author

From the context that she gave we know that Dr. Barnes considers herself a victim of “racial trauma” because of, in her words, “millions of reasons to hate white people.” The major reason that she listed is that she is one generation removed from sharecropping and she has heard someone use the N-word. When she encounters microaggressions (faux pas) by white people she is ‘triggered”. Those likely are not the words of an emotionally or mentally stable person. Being easily triggered is not a quality that we should emulate as Christians. If you allow a single word to have the power to tear you apart something deeper is going on. You are allowing yourself to be consumed by bitterness and unforgiveness. It is such a waste of energy and life. God wants you to be set free and at peace, whereas Satan wants you in bondage.

Forgiveness is such a powerful thing. Forgiving others sets us free from bitterness. It’s only with the power of the Holy Spirit that we can truly forgive. When you hold on to bitterness it can eat you up inside. Holding on to the hurts of the past stops us from having the fullness of our future.

Unorthodox messages throughout

At the end of the prayer instead of praying in the name of Jesus Christ, she prays in the spirit of dead black women(again, bizarre ?) Prayers to dead spirits are not in line with biblical Christianity but it is wildly used in Satanism(because you’re actually contacting demons). This prayer does not appear to be authored by a follower of Jesus Christ and should not be grouped and sold among Christian books.

Troubles with this prayer do not just lie in the first phrase. There are antibiblical messages throughout. She says that the white people that she is specifically wanting to hate are not “ardent racists.” Her message is directed at the average white person and not someone that holds strong racist feeling towards black people.

One problem here is that she is taking the painful experiences of her past and projecting them onto people that she meets in the future. “White women’s tears” are one of the triggers for the author. When people are wrongfully accused of being white supremacists or racists sometimes their response is a tearful one. This is a great moment to understand why it is better to have dialogue than try to project labels onto someone. In the bible, it teaches us to step over an offense and not to become mentally ensnared by it. When someone makes a false accusation, we can choose to step over the offense.

Here is a list of the descriptors that the author chose to describe the average white person that welcomes her into their church:

  • Misguided
  • Racist souls
  • The nice ones ( ironically)
  • Fox news loving
  • Wolves in sheep’s clothing
  • White-hooded robes
  • Standing in front of burning crosses
  • Helplessly unrepentant
  • Reprobate bigots
  • Blasphemers
  • Sinfulness
  • Monster of racism
  • Sought to devour her
  • Trampled her
  • Wounded her

Christian conservatives and white people do not have collective guilt over historical sin. Everyone deserves to be treated as a human being that is created in God’s image. See people as people. See people as individuals. She asks people to repent but repent of what? People can’t repent of something that they aren’t even guilty of doing. The list of adjectives that she uses to describe the average white person does not align with reality. The average white person is not going out to burn crosses and these are not healthy projections. White people just like black people are not mind-hive. There is no cooperate guilt when one person’s sins.

The prayer can be largely summed up as the author’s projection of past hurts onto neutral third parties. The author has allowed herself to be so consumed by faux pas (known as micro aggression) that she asked her spirits to further harden her heart towards white people.

1 Comment

  1. Sounds like this Dr. Barnes needs to spend a year or two in rehabilitation and prayer. Her inner soul needs a lot of work.

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