Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.
Oh Lord, there are many things that concern us and call us to prayer.
We open our hearts to you in gratitude and wonder.
We pray for those who rage and are quick to anger, for those who seem to be eaten up by intolerance. We pray for those who express their contempt and fury in violence to themselves and others. We grieve at those who have lost their lives to aggression due to fighting, war, criminal violence, and terrorism. We call out the names of nations so rife with conflict, so often in the news — Afghanistan, Mexico, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan, India, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Pakistan, and the Philippines. We call out the nations that make the weapons of war that fuel decades-long conflict and destruction: US, Russia, France, Germany, Spain, South Korea, China, the United Kingdom, Israel, Italy, and the Netherlands and many more. Help us to see beyond the headlines to stand up for the women and children, the families, the victims, those starving and displaced. We call out for your mercy. Safeguard the journalists who bring the news, relate the stories of the imprisoned, the refugee, those made invisible by war, bigotry, and hatred. Safeguard the whistleblowers. Sustain us as we examine our own hearts, shed our own contempt and learn the practice of peacemaking in our homes and communities.
This season can be a time of anxiety as well as anticipation. We can sense tension and disharmony instead of peace. Many feel depression and despair instead of wellbeing and belonging. Help us to understand and accept those who suffer in mind, body, and spirit. They may be close or far away. Help us to learn compassion and to practice generosity, consideration, kindness and mutual regard. We pray for those who are without homes, who are estranged from their families who feel alone and isolated. May we grow in our practice of charity and give beyond counting. Guide each of us to do the right thing in our own special way for the need is great.
As the past year turns into this new decade in the tumultuous millennium help us to shed despair and the sense of heaviness that the need is unending and insurmountable. Sustain us with the words of healing. May we be reminded that around the world literacy is increasing, childhood deaths are declining and people are being lifted out of deep poverty as never before known.
May the hope born in Advent light the way through the minutes, hours, days and months to come.
May your love-come-down-among-us strengthen and steady our steps, telling us that we are not alone.