The United Nations’ World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year on June 17. This year’s observance will be hosted in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them,
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
so that all may see and know,
all may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:17-20)
God of all order and meaning, you created all that exists from the chaos of the primordial waters. From majestic waterfalls to limitless oceans, the waters of our world reveal your glory. And yet, in many places, the presence of too much water or the absence of enough water can cause deep suffering and pain for millions of your children. As the world joins together to combat desertification and drought, we lean on your promise to bring water to the dry places in our world and in our lives.
God of Life: hear our prayer.
- Give us a deep thirst for a world where all people are treated with dignity and humanity. We rejoice with human rights advocates in Africa as Burkina Faso joins 20 other African nations to abolish the death penalty. At the same time, we mourn with the families of seven people who have been murdered in India by mobs fueled by rumors that are being spread on the social media site WhatsApp.
- Give us a deep thirst for a world where all people are safe. We cry out for the refuge that only you can provide in the wake of a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan. We weep at the injustices occurring at the United States border, where children are being taken from their parents and where asylum seekers who have suffered from domestic and gang violence are being turned away.
- Give us a deep thirst for a world of justice for all people. Raise up people who care for the powerless in their own contexts, like Tang Shuai, a lawyer in China who works to assist members of the deaf community through court proceedings.
God of Justice: hear our cries.
God of all good gifts, your world thirsts for the living water of your presence. Bring the water of life to those who thirst for love, for justice, for peace, and for belonging. Bring relief to countries around the world that have experienced severe droughts this year, especially Afghanistan, Argentina, Uruguay, Mongolia, and South Africa. Bring healing to countries around the world that have experienced extreme flooding this year, especially Argentina, Belarus, Rwanda, Mexico, New Zealand, and France.
God of the Living Water: help us to be channels of your grace.
God of truth and peace, we pray for all in leadership positions in our communities that their egos may diminish and they and we learn to follow the living example of your Son, Jesus, the Servant and Suffering King.
God of Truth: lead us from lies and deception to truth and integrity in our lives and actions.
As you have promised to transform our world and our lives, refresh us in the name of the One who was, who is, and who is to come. Amen.