Christian Iosso and Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, two Presbyterian ministers, challenge readers "to speak out and act in hope of realizing God's promises for a new heaven and a new earth." It is inspired by For God and the People: Prayers of the Social Awakening by Walter Rauschenbusch, considered a pioneer of the social gospel movement. It is published in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Social Creed of the Churches of 1908, described as "an effective consensus statement of social ideals that helped build support for the social protections of the New Deal and later legislation." The authors include here the text of a new Social Creed for the Twenty-first Century, "designed to bild support in our churches for nothing less than the redemptive redirection of United States society." These sources provide the context for the nearly 100 prayers gathered here from people of all denominations. The thematic modules are:
• Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving
• Prayers of Protest and Solidarity
• Prayers for Peace and Healing
• Prayers for Communities and Institutions
• Prayers for People in Various Vocations and Circumstances
• Prayers for the Earth
• Prayers for Repentance and Transformation
• Poems, Songs and Litanies
The Social Creed for the Twenty-First Century includes these lines:
"We individual Christians and churches commit ourselves to a culture of peace and freedom that embraces non-violence, nurtures character, treasures the environment, and builds community, rooted in a spirituality of inner growth with outward action."
Here is a sample prayer by Sister Helen Prejean, "To Abolish the Death Penalty"
"God of compassion,
You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust. Expand and deepen our hearts so that we may love as you love, even those among us who have caused the greatest pain by taking life. For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance as we fill up death rows and kill the killers in the name of justice, in the name of peace. Jesus, our brother, you suffered execution at the hands of that state, but you did not let hatred overcome you.
"Help us reach out to victims of violence so that our enduring love may help them heal. Holy Spirit of God, you strengthen us in the struggle for justice. Help us to work tirelessly for the abolition of state-sanctioned death and to renew our society in its very heart so that violence will be no more. Amen."