This week, Dear Lord, has been one where the contrast between what is right and what is convenient or what we choose to do has been held up to scrutiny. We give thanks for the example that change is possible through the life journey and work of Nelson Mandela. We pray for honesty, humility, and integrity to become building blocks of all public office holders. We pray that peace and reconciliation, as shown by Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, can break out between feuding groups to replace the merciless cruelty and indifference shown to other human beings. We continue to pray for the people and politicians of South Africa, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Peru and so many other countries. We pray:
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
We remember the suffering of all refugees and especially those from the Syrian conflict, where children are going barefoot in the middle of blizzards, hunger, lack of housing, clothing and medical care is acute. Soften our hearts to be able to respond with daring love to go beyond our comfort zone to bring comfort to your suffering children of all ages. We pray:
In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow thee.
You call us by name. We are yours. You hold us in the palm of your hand. Yet we act as though we are deaf. We put our circle and ourselves first and foremost. Too often we are the “me” generation. Yet all of us , despite our wealth or poverty, our skills or intelligence, long for that almost unspeakable, deep, enlivening flame of love. Remind us again and again that “all things come from You and of Your own do we give You.” Help us to dare to pause, and rest and breathe and listen with our whole being to You who are Love. We pray:
O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with the
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!
Still us, Lord, during this time of Advent, a time of preparation and the longed-for coming of the Christ, who was in the beginning with You, and through Him all things and all beings were made and are continuing to be made. Prepare us so that we can be ready to welcome truly the “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing” at Christmas and each moment of each day. So we pray:
Drop thy still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease:
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.
We pray for the children as young as 8 years old sold into the slavery of forced marriage. We also pray for the worldwide crowds of children and the many women trafficked against their will for perverted sexual desires. We give thanks for so many people now working to rescue these victims, and once rescued, helping them to heal and recover. We continue to pray for the protection of young people who feel marginalized and worthless and seeking to find their identity in the crime of extremist groups. Help us to dare to put aside our egos so that your Holy Spirit may transform us, empowering us to transform the corners of the world in which we live. Help us be still, and know that You are God. We cry our prayer:
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
still, small voice of calm.
*John Greenleaf Whittier 1872