It doesn’t seem enough to say we thank you for the beauty of your creation. When we think of all that happened from the growth of our planet, its place in the solar system and the most we can say is “thanks”. You know the gratitude of our hearts, the deep meaning we want to place on these words, you accept and understand. Thank you, our God.
This week Lord, the doomsayers have been out in force: the increasing loss of the icecaps and glaciers; the effect of insecticides, even those long banned, on all insects; the threat to wildlife from dogs and domestic cats turned feral. Then a sliver of good news: NASA satellite data shows an increase in leaf area on plants and trees across the amazon; India and China are planting major areas with trees.
This week, a teenager in Ohio, USA has used technology to research vaccinations and has now received them. Teenagers in Bristol, England have researched the bus boycott of 1963 and discovered their missing history. For the power of the internet for good we give thanks.
This week, emergency supplies pile up and rot in Hudayah, Yemen and on the Columbia / Venezuela border, we pray that warring politicians will see the harm they do in power struggles and the power of the internet will become good for their countries.
This week as more warnings about dams holding toxic sludge emerge and other industrial mining problems become widely known we pray for the people of Brazil and the open cast mining areas of Appalachia, USA.
This week, Lord, help us to understand what we have done to our planet and how we need to make changes in our lives. Wild fires have burned across Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand; the effects of last autumn’s fires still devastate lives across California, USA; floods across Chile and Northern Australia; from Cincinnati to California, USA we recognise the multiple environmental crisis across the world.
We give thanks for the many small steps being taken by individuals and groups across the world to highlight and tackle this. Machynlleth, Wales has become the first town in Wales to declare a “climate emergency”, following the example of others globally. It is focussing on measures to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint. Villagers in Jenjarom, Malaysia are fighting to have the government close illegal factories dealing with Western rubbish poisoning their land, water and air.
The heavens declare your glory, God. Help us rediscover the sacred in our world and environment which you have made so we “touch the earth lightly”*.
Thank you for hearing our prayer and for your answers.
*”Touch the Earth lightly” – (New Zealand), Lyrics: Shirley Erena Murray Music: Tenderness – Colin Gibson
© 1992 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved.
In the Northern Hemisphere, we expectantly “roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…”* but there is a parent and grandparent duty. We plan exciting activities for little ones in our care, for camps and vacations and community programs. In this season of school year endings we watch and wait for exam results with our teenagers and give thanks for the achievements of adult graduates. Yet we weep with parents separated from their infants and children by borders and systems for achingly interminable periods. We pray for their reunion and an end to this unnatural separation and detention in the U.S. Open the hearts of guards and administrators to their moral duties in this humanitarian crisis.
In the Southern Hemisphere, celebrating, with the PM of New Zealand, the birth of a daughter who, she says “will be brought up by the international community.” We pray for those who do not understand the idea of extended family. For those extended families of great grandparents, grandparents, godparents, foster parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters all, raising children to wonderful achievements, we give thanks.
In all corners of this world, we pray for those who live and grow in what society calls dysfunctional families, for those stressed by life’s circumstances, for those caught in the waiting and busyness, for those who cannot even see a future. We know that for as many as are well-rounded personalities there are also those for whom things go badly wrong and their suffering is great; may the Christian family extend it’s care and compassion and bring the Hope which arises from Your Great Love of each and all. We pray for those who thought life would include a better day. May the Holy Spirit bring a gentle lightheartedness and may those “lazy, hazy, … days” settle about them.
We pray for those battling the expanding wildfires on Saddleworth Moor, England, especially those for whom the area brings up memories of the horrific murders fifty years ago of children and youth. Lord have mercy.
We pray for the twelve boys and their soccer coach lost in the Tham Luang Cave, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand; for their families and the many rescue workers and divers. May we heed the words of the governor exhorting rescuers to care for them as if they were their own. Lord illumine their paths.
We pray for the Rohingya as more information emerges about the part played by Myanmar officials in their expulsion.
We pray that the ceasefire agreed in South Sudan will happen and will hold.
As the football world cup continues in Russia we pray for all who have hospitably opened their homes to visiting fans and for those who seek to use the game to bring communities together, especially in Sydney, Australia.
With three rescue ships full of migrants and one finally allowed to dock in Malta, with borders being closed and calls for automatic deportation of those who think they have reached sanctuary we pray for all who work in border control; migration and volunteer aid agencies. For those who live on the margins and those who witness and tend to them, bring Your strength.
Lord, hear these prayers.
For your world and all that we appreciate, care for and love,
We pray in your name.
* Lyricist Charles Tobias
Lord, we come before you
Prayer is communication that invites at-one-ness with You, the source of our being. We call you God, and as revealed in the flesh, Jesus. We ask for empowerment. Transform us with the life-giving force of the Holy Spirit. Make us channels of the your Eternal Love, Light, and Grace. Help us to continue this work of transformation, of ourselves and of all creation.
Lord, in your mercy hear us
As You are One, You call us to this oneness yet we are so divided by what should unite us, our religious beliefs, diverse cultures, resources and desires. You have shown us glimpses of Yourself according to what we are willing and able to receive, then, too often, we become exclusive and possessive. Thinking we own the truth, we denigrate others.
We see this in the tensions in India between Hindus and Muslims leading to the torture, rape and murder of young girls. Coptic Christians being attacked in Egypt. Conflict and sectarian violence continuing in Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Nigeria and elsewhere around the world.
Lord, hear us and forgive us
You call us to care and nurture all creation, yet so often we treat it cavalierly and out of greed, abuse our resources. The continuing deforestation of huge swathes of Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil, and even in protected ancient forests such as Poland. New gigantic off-shore platforms near Australia are drawing natural gas resources to meet our insatiable greed for energy.
Lord, teach us stewardship and how to touch the earth lightly for the benefit of all and generations to come.
Lord, hear us and forgive us.
We give thanks for the work in the United Arab Emirates by scientists from Norway who have developed a method to pump liquid clay nano-particles into sandy desert so that crops are planted in seven hours instead of seven years. Water required to grow these crops is also reduced by up to 50%. The blooming of the desert is a closer reality.
We give thanks too for the female armed rangers in southern Zimbabwe who are protecting highly endangered elephants from poachers. Unlike their male counterparts, they are not succumbing to corruption or pressure but are arresting poachers even from their own villages or families. Often having survived abusive relationships, these women can now send their children to school and support them.
Lord, continue to strengthen those taking such creative action in solving problems we humans so often have created.
Lord, we bless your holy Name: hear us and bless us.
We continue to remember all who fear. Remember those experiencing natural disasters such as in Hawaii, U.S., and dust and electrical storms in India. Guide our leaders as we watch such political posturing as between North Korea and the rest of the world. Give us discernment in the Iranian nuclear discussions and in the latest financial crisis in Argentina. Comfort those experiencing the devastating wave of knife crimes in London, England among the young. Be with those imprisoned throughout the world without trial or justice, those lonely, those who feel they have no self-worth.
Help us to reach out as need presents itself in all its forms. We have heard your Truth. Prompt us to act on it and live it in our daily choices and decisions.
Lord, hear and answer our prayers for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ who opened the way for Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art:
Thou my best thought both by day and by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light. (Irish Traditional, Tune SLANE)
O Light of the World, we stumble around in the darkness of this world which confounds us and causes us to live in fear, and through tear-filled eyes we see the pain and struggle in this world:
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my souls shelter, and thou my high tow’r.
Raise thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my power.
But you continue to shine light into the darkness, Holy One; you continue to speak in a voice both wise and true, and so we can lift our hearts and voices in gratitude and rejoicing for:
Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and thou only, the first in my heart,
Great God of heaven, my treasure thou art.
Great God of heaven, open our hearts and minds and eyes to see this world and its peoples as you see us, always through the lens of Love, incarnated in Jesus the Christ and in us, your own beloved children.
Let this be so. Amen.
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
therefore ask the overseer of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.
Harvest by Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Maybe the harvest is not bringing people to Christ
but gathering the fruits of the Spirit
God has sown in you
for the sake of the world.
Maybe it’s not an act of taking,
The harvest is plentiful
but few are the people who have gathered,
who have received the gifts, the grace,
the love growing in your heart,
and feasted on those fruits
to be strengthened to go out
and heal the wounded,
and be good news for the broken of the world.
The field stretches to the horizon.
There are more trees in this orchard
than stars in heaven.
What grace have you not yet harvested?
Go into that good harvest.
Here is a basket for your labors. Go.
Called together in the Spirit’s embrace, let us pray for the mending of God’s world.
Holy God, Loving God, Steadfast God, Compassionate God, looking at this world which You have created, this world over which You have given us stewardship, it is so easy to become discouraged and disheartened, to forget Your call to harvest Your grace, and to be good news for those who are broken. Sometimes all our tear-clouded eyes can see is the heartache and heartbreak which holds us in its thrall, making it difficult to see anything other than darkness and despair:
*Despair about an unknown blast which went off in eastern China, leaving at least seven people dead and over sixty-five others injured.
*Despair about a suicide car bombing into a hotel restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, where at least nineteen are dead and many others wounded
*Despair about the fire in the Grenfell Tower in London, England, where at least seventeen people have died and dozens of others are in hospitals, many of them in critical condition.
*Despair about the shooting in Virginia, US, at a Congressional baseball game practice, where six people were shot and the gunman was killed.
*Despair about Ohio, US student, Otto Warmbler, released by North Korea after seventeen months in captivity, who is in the hospital suffering from a severe neurological injury.
*Despair about the hundreds of civilian casualties in Raqqa, Syria, due to US-led air strikes.
*Despair about hot car deaths – deaths of children being left alone in vehicles during hot weather – occurring in the US, as three children have died in the last week.
*Despair about the road-rage shooting and killing of 2-year-old Laylah Washington of Memphis, Tennessee, US.
Holy God, Loving God, Steadfast God, Compassionate God, looking at this world which You have created, this world which You call us to co-create with You, open our eyes and our hearts to see the harvest of Your grace-filled love which is being made manifest in countless places, through countless people, children of Your own creation.
*The harvest of over one hundred and twenty migrants, who had been abandoned by traffickers without food or water in the Sahara desert, by Niger authorities.
*The harvest of the organization My Stealthy Freedom in Iran, led by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist who boldly organized #whitewednesdays to protest a law forcing Iranian women to wear head scarves.
*The harvest of the work of 26-year-old Rahmatullah Arman, who, through Teach for Afghanistan, has placed 80 graduates from Afghan universities into twenty-one schools to teach 23,000 students in the hope of reducing the country’s 60% adult illiteracy rate.
*The harvest of the election in Ireland of Leo Varadkar, of Indian descent, as the country’s youngest and first openly-gay prime minister.
Holy God, Loving God, Steadfast God, Compassionate God, looking at this world which You have created, this world which You love, we Your people reach out this day. We reach out with grief and gratitude, with worry and wonder, and with tears and triumph. We open ourselves to Your Spirit as it longs to fill us with the gifts of Your grace, to empower us with the strength and courage to speak truth, and to work for justice and the healing of wounds we encounter and cause. May it be so, today and every day.
Holy God, I am empty. I wake up to Manchester, England, I go to bed to London Bridge falling down, and I feel empty, lost. I apologize, you expect more from me.
To be in good company doesn’t let me off the hook. The terrors that pursued Elijah made him want to lie down and never give up. The widow of Zarephath saw no way out from the evils that overwhelmed her, so she was prepared to give up.
But God, You sent an angel to Elijah, You sent Elijah to the widow. You disrupted the despair, You overcame the depression, You out-loved the fear.
God, without your help we don’t see a way beyond this age of terrorism. Our leaders resort to fear. But why not? We are afraid. They count on anger because we are angry.
God, You made us in your image, just a little lower than angels. You count on great things from us. You tell us to be perfect, to be leaven in the bread, to add salt to the taste of life. I don’t think I can. Not on my own.
Yet, here I am praying to you. Whenever I am under attack, in body or mind or soul, I pray to You. In doubt, in anger, in fear I pray to You. Deep down inside I know that there is a love, a path, a salvation stronger than whatever seeks to destroy me.
So again I turn to all the pieces of my faith – to hymns and scriptures, to prayer and worship. Maybe there is a Balm in Gilead, or a Blessed Assurance, even an Amazing Grace.
“God of grace and God of glory
on thy people pour thy power…
cure thy children’s warring madness…
Grant us wisdom,
grant us courage
for the living of these days.”
Forgive me, Lord, for being so down. Can you send us an angel, or an Elijah? Amen.
(God of Grace, God of Glory, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Chalice Hymnal)
At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of the extremist. … But as I continue to think about the matter I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. Was not Jesus an extremist in love – “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice – “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ – “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist – “here I stand; I can do none other so help me God.” Was not John Bunyan an extremist – “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist – “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist – “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.” So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice – or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?
– Martin Luther King Jr, “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” (1963)
God of honor and power, mercy and grace, we give You thanks for the witness of Martin Luther King, Jr., who worked all his life to bring true justice and love to our world. He reminded us that You know our hearts, O Creator, and You know our love of extremes. We have filled this world You love with extremes and extremism: Extremism in religion, extremism in the language we use to describe and categorize Your children, and extremism in political and social positions. Yet Dr. King reminds us that we are all extremists, that we all have passions and perspectives to defend and express. Help us to be aware of our extremisms, Lord, and fill our hearts with the right kinds of extremism.
Make us extremists for love, O God. Give us the capacity for the radical kind of love displayed by Your Son and his true followers. Make our hearts overflow with love for all of Your children, and equip us to work for those who most need to see and feel Your love.
Make us extremists for justice, O God. Give us eyes to see beyond our own comfort and our own commitments. Shatter our illusions that what we are accustomed to is what ought to be, and make us Your hands, feet, and voice in the world as we work, march, and speak out on behalf of the oppressed.
Make us extremists for the good news of Your Son, O God. Remind us that this news is only good when we shed our extremism for hate and reject our extremism for the preservation of injustice. Make us Your messengers of extreme love and extreme justice in the world. Give us strength to support each other as we live Your call to action through prayer and protest, marching and meditation, and in aiding the distressed and oppressed. May our hearts, overflowing with the love You give us and committed to the justice You bring, shine Your light into all the world, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
“Father in heaven,
The day draws near when the glory of your Son
Will make radiant the night of the waiting world.
May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy
Which moves the heart of those who seek Him.
May the darkness not blind us
To the vision of wisdom
Which fills the minds of those who find Him.
~ The Roman Missal
In this Advent season, we prepare for Christmas. In the hustle and bustle of all the commercialization which now dominates this Christian holiday, let us remember the underlying truth behind it. We are preparing for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, sent by the Lord, His and our Father.
As nations mark Human Rights Day on Saturday, we pray that governments worldwide will ensure their people have adequate health care and proper provision of food, clothing, housing, and social welfare. May all the earth be captured by the will to love; may all the earth be touched to change.
We pray for the mayor and two journalists killed by a sniper in Imatra, Finland; for the two nurses killed and the doctors wounded by rebel shelling in a makeshift field hospital in Aleppo, Syria; for those wounded by a female suicide bomber who used children as decoys in a car bombing in Libya; and for the thousands killed over the past few months in the crackdown on drugs in the Philippines. Help loved ones, overcome with grief and fear, turn to you, O Lord.
Lord, in your tenderness, hold them.
We pray for the many people killed in a warehouse fire in California, US; for those killed and injured in a hotel fire in Karachi, Pakistan; for the passengers and crew members who died in a plane crash in Pakistan; for the more than 100 found dead after an earthquake struck Indonesia; for those killed and the over half a million people suffering after days of severe flooding in Thailand; and for those affected by the latest in a series of serious after-shocks following the devastating earthquake a few weeks ago in New Zealand. Lord, give recovery workers strength and perseverance as they attempt to locate survivors from these tragedies.
Lord, in your tenderness, hold them.
As hundreds of sexual abuse claims are being revealed in the world of soccer in England, we pray that victims receive the compassion and justice they deserve from living with the scarring of a crime that is so often unreported or brought to trial. We pray for courage and strength for both the victims and their families.
Lord, in your tenderness, hold them.
After more than 400,000 people had been forced to flee Aleppo, Syria we now hear that some families have returned to their homes, as government forces reclaim territories once held by rebels. We pray, O Lord, for your protection and support, so that these people may rebuild their homes and lives in safety without further fear of violence and oppression.
Lord, in your tenderness, hold them.
Help us, Lord, to open our arms and reach out our hands in support of all Your people. Give them peace in their lives, and in their hearts. Let us share the joy and spirit of Your Son’s birth with them, as well as with our own families and friends. Lastly, let us remember to give thanks above all to You, our Lord, who is with us in the best and worst of times.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices. Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret – it leads only to evil. Psalm 37:5, 7-8, NRSV
We have seen this week yet again how the “law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous – therefore judgement comes forth perverted” (Habakkuk 1:4). Despite another scathing ruling by a human rights tribunal, the Canadian government is failing to rectify funding disparities for the delivery of First Nation on-reserve child welfare services. High suicide rates and violence against women are common in First Nations and Inuit communities like those in Alaska, USA. Similar injustices appear among vulnerable communities in India, the Asian sub-continent, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Lord, have mercy. Change the hearts of the perpetrators of these injustices, and bring them to repentance. Open our eyes and hearts to cruelty so that we might fight for justice and peace.
We hear so much of the continuing disputes in politics and election processes throughout the world. We pray that truth may triumph over the slick, media-savvy noise of those with political leverage. We pray for discernment for all those who are about to exercise their hard-won right to vote. May the ears of the world be open to the message of those struggling for equity and calling for justice. Lord, hear the voiceless. May your way of truth and justice and life be available to all.
We give thanks for people like:
O God, you are our Creator, our Redeemer, our Saviour, and our Mother. Send your Spirit daily to empower us and fill us with grace. Whatever we may be facing, however overwhelmed we are, however angry and bitter over what we see as greed, injustice, hatred, fear, cruelty, and indifference, help us to commit our way to you, trust you, wait patiently for you, and know that, as we have seen repeatedly throughout history, you DO act, but in your own way and time. Lead us in YOUR way of peace, justice and love. Amen.
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