This week’s prayers are adapted, with permission, from a prayer written for U.S. Independence Day 2018 by Leslie Barnes Scoopmire.
(Inspired by the Preamble to the United States Constitution)
In peace, we pray to You, Lord, God:
from our rising to our resting
we give You thanks and praise for all your blessings.
- We give you thanks for the 12 boys and their coach found alive after being trapped in a cave in Thailand by rising waters, for the divers who reached them with food and supplies, for all who are working to rescue them, and for the millions throughout the world who have held them in prayer during the search.
- We give you thanks for the breakthrough in-vitro fertilization technique that may save the Northern White Rhino species – now down to two surviving females and no living males– from extinction; for all the gifts of this Earth, and all who work to protect and preserve them.
May we seek to form a more perfect union
with You and with each other,
loving our neighbors as ourselves,
sharing each other’s burdens,
seeking to relieve each other’s wants.
- We pray for an end to the posturing and tit-for-tatting in the tariff wars started by U.S. President Donald Trump against Mexico, Canada, China and the European Union. We pray for sanity, caution, compassion and courage among U.S. leaders as Trump threatens to pull out of the World Trade Organization and violate its rules with impunity. We pray for all whose livelihoods are at stake.
- We give thanks that all 329 municipalities in Bangladesh have agreed to join the United Nation’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign. Low-lying, densely populated Bangladesh is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, hit every year by cyclones that are becoming more frequent and more intense due to climate change. The UN Campaign will develop local action plans and improve infrastructures to prepare for disasters.
May we establish true justice as our foundation,
justice that builds and creates
rather than subjugates and destroys,
and work for an end to oppression, poverty, and prejudice,
remembering always the many mercies
we ourselves have received.
- We pray for those who would want to make national criticism illegal. We pray for Poland, which has reduced the penalties in its controversial law against accusing the Polish nation of complicity in the Holocaust. In response to international pressures, jail time is no longer among the penalties.
- We pray for the five people killed in a shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Md. (U.S.), and for the courage and commitment of the remaining staff in getting out that day’s newspaper anyway. We pray for the countries where a free press is banned, for those who spread fake news and inflame the public against the media, and for all truth-seekers and truth-tellers everywhere.
- We pray for the day when ethics will outweigh profit-making in every business venture. We give thanks that Kenya’s public prosecutor has ordered the arrest of two farm managers and several government officials over a dam which collapsed and killed more than 47 people in May. The dam had been constructed by unqualified staff and also broke environmental laws.
- We pray for the day when compassion will universally be valued more highly than conformity. We pray for North Korea, where a high-ranking military officer was executed for giving out extra rice and corn rations to his troops.
May we ensure tranquility
by defending and protecting each other
in compassion and mercy,
that true liberty may be a blessing for all
grounded in our common life together.
- We pray for the success of the peace agreement signed this week between South Sudan and rebels, where the past five years of fighting have displaced one in three South Sudanese from their homes. We pray that the promised ceasefire holds, that safe passage is indeed provided through which food, water and medicines can reach those in desperate need.
- We pray that Russia, the U.S., and Jordan will use their influence to broker an immediate end to the fighting in southwest Syria – as they did last in persuading the Syrian government and rebels to create a de-escalation zone along the Jordanian border.
- We pray for the eventual safe home-coming for the Rohingya people, still trapped in exile in the no-man’s-land between Myanmar and Bangladesh. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited the camps earlier this week, hearing “unimaginable” accounts of atrocities.
May we work for the welfare of all
by giving of ourselves in unity, gentleness, and sacrifice,
rooted in God’s love,
grounded in the call to welcome and protect
those who turn to us for help or refuge,
and protecting the least among us always.
- We pray for those whose homelands are no longer a place of safety. We pray for those from Africa trying to reach Europe, for those from South and Central America trying to reach the United States, for the many refugees trying to find someplace – anyplace – where they will be welcome.
- We pray for the countries in the European Union that have reached a deal in principle on how to handle African refugees and migrants, but differ sharply on the implementation details, with no country yet willing to set up the “secure migrant processing centers” called for in the agreement.
- We pray for the families separated by the U.S. “zero-tolerance” policies against would-be immigrants and asylum seekers. We pray for the children – some as young as toddlers – expected to represent themselves in immigration court.
- We pray for all who have settled into new countries, only to find that those, too, are not places of safety. We pray for the 3-year-old refugee in Boise, Idaho (U.S.) who died after a man with an extensive criminal background stabbed her, five other children and three adults at her birthday party. We pray for all migrants who face distrust and anger, and all who harbor suspicion and hatred towards them. We pray for all who want to live together in peace.
May we secure the blessings of life, liberty, and happiness
and free ourselves
from all that chains us-
and fully embrace and celebrate each other
in all our diversity.
Bless us and keep us, O God,
that we may dwell in peace, equality, and security all our days. AMEN