As we center ourselves for prayer, remind us that you are as close to us as our very breath, even in these times when you may feel so far away to so many of us; in these times when many of us find it so hard to breathe. You are there with us.
So we begin our time of prayer with three deep breaths. As we breathe in, may we breathe in your peace. As we breathe out, may we breathe out your love.
We lift up prayers of healing for the United States, after months of civil unrest over police brutality and attacks on innocent black lives. We pray especially for Jacob Blake, a black man, who was shot multiple times by police in Wisconsin, and for his children, who witnessed the traumatic assault on their father’s life. We pray, also, for the lives of the protestors who were killed and injured by a white teen with an assault weapon during related protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. God of Justice, help each of us do our part as we seek to redeem the soul of the United States as it faces the sin of racism.
We continue to pray for the Middle East, where turmoil seems ceaseless. We especially pray for those affected by the airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip, after 11 straight days of bombing. Our hearts are still with Beirut, Lebanon, where explosion survivors are trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. God of Reconciliation, guide us into new ways of hope and peace.
During this seemingly never-ending global Coronavirus pandemic, we lift prayers for all who are affected, and pray for children who are starting a new school year, for the many stresses on families, and for wisdom for our leaders as they try to determine a way forward. We pray specifically for Spain, as the surge in cases has made it the new epicenter of the virus, and for Brazil, where new cases and deaths continue to rise. God of Grace, help each of us to do our part as we continually seek to slow the spread.
We pray for the Earth, as we face ramifications of climate change and natural disasters in so many parts of the world. We see over one million acres of California, USA, burning with wildfires; we see flash floods killing dozens in Charikar, Afghanistan as they were sleeping. We pray for those in the path of Hurricane Laura, as it has made landfall at the border of Texas and Louisiana, USA, where over 500,000 people evacuated, the storm bringing with it punishing winds and torrential rains. And all of these evacuations in each of these cases are more challenging due to the coronavirus.
Breathing in smoke from wildfires, or from explosions, makes it hard to breathe.
Seeing the lives of innocent people cut short due to prejudice makes it hard to breathe.
Experiencing the fear and loss of a global pandemic is making it hard to breathe.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit that, even now, with tensions high everywhere we turn, we may breathe in Your peace, and breathe out Your love. Help us to breathe, so that we may do the work of healing that is so desperately needed, and that we may find some joy along the way. Amen