Editor’s note: World In Prayer needs a few more writers and editors! Our team consists of 12-15 volunteers, from several different countries and continents. Each week, one person writes the prayers in response to international news. A second person then edits and posts the prayers online. Because we rotate who writes and edits, you would end up serving approximately once every five or six weeks.
Due to life changes, some of our team members need to cut back. So, we’re looking for people who deeply care about our world, see God’s hand at work throughout all creation and all persons, and are inspired to help write and produce these prayers. If you are interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though I may speak with bravest fire,
And have the gift to all inspire,
And have not love; my words are vain;
as sounding brass, and hopeless gain.
Though I may give all I possess,
And striving so my love profess,
But not be giv’n by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin. [i]
Our shining Child,
Out of the Nativity you call to all nations, all peoples.
Yet nations build walls, lay mines and militarize their borders. Watchtowers are built and billions in electronic surveillance deployed. O little town of Bethlehem, a beloved carol, is today a town suffering, partitioned. Help us to reconcile these injustices as land is taken, houses destroyed and people’s movement severely restricted. Walls comprise a growing Border Industrial Complex in 2021. We pray for the peoples in Israel where six walls exist; in Morocco, Iran and India each having three walls; South Africa, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Hungary and Lithuania each with two walls, and all countries who violate human rights in this new and growing apartheid.[ii] We pray mightily for the peoples of Syria nearly surrounded as five nations have put up walls for a people utterly displaced and ravaged. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.
We pray for those who seek asylum and are “neither here, nor there.” We pray for those who have traveled unbelievable distances and through unimaginable harms to be turned away, silenced, detained and imprisoned. Be with us in this complex suffering. It feels so upside down. We pray for those from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador the so called Northern Triangle where so many have fled due to record levels of violence, torture and death. Our spirits long as we hear how severe the terror must be for parents to send their children alone to flee.[iii] They cross into Mexico and the US. We pray for the Rohingya in Myanmar escaping genocide and now displaced in Bangladesh. Guard them. Sustain them. We pray for the leaders in all of these countries.
We pray for those who grow, harvest and transport food that we may take for granted in these times where shelves are stocked and gas seems plenty, … and in these same times where COVID and famine and war keep house together in Yemen[iv] and now South Sudan, Burkina Faso and northeastern Nigeria, and where 16 other countries are entering famine where children are the first to silently suffer and die. Though I may give all I possess.
We pray where reports of war, political instability, civil war, humanitarian strife and years of occupation are endured. We call out in prayer for peace in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, Somalia, Venezuela, Mali, Lebanon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Republic of Congo, the US and Iran relations, the India and Pakistan conflict, North Korea, between Israel and Palestine, the terrorizing by the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the criminal violence in Mexico, the enmity of Turkey and Kurdish troops, Egypt, and Ukraine. Lord have mercy.
The news of the world is on our radios, TV, laptops, phones, newspapers and word of mouth. We hear of protests in streets. We hear of the breaking of curfews and mass gatherings as during a rave in France. We hear of rage and violence in the US, including the shocking invasion of the US Capitol by reactionary factions, who have been goaded on for months by the words of elected officials. Help us to remember and live out the truth that, in the words of U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, “…words matter, and the power of life and death is in the tongue.” The news tolls of the police shooting of Andre Hill in Columbus, Ohio, USA as Casey Goodson, Jr. was being laid to rest after a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed him at the doorstep of his Columbus home earlier this month. We grieve and are angered, we march, we lay flowers and light candles. Help us to discern right action lest – My words are vain; as sounding brass.
The news tolls the deaths from COVID19, the overflow in hospitals, surge upon surge. We pray for the teams that know no border at the bedside, vaccine clinic, lab or as first responders. We are hopeful for the multitude of COVID vaccines coming to communities. We call for equity in vaccine distribution as developing nations manifest such a great need. May the wealthy countries dig deeper to stave off further crisis. Unify us in this time of horrendous loss of life and the devastation that has reached in some way into each of our homes and neighborhoods and circles the globe. Protect those in severe economic insecurity from further debt and eviction. Help us to universalize health care access. We pray in gratitude as increased access to women’s health care in Argentina is manifested. Comfort the grieving in every nation, in every town and village. Our spirits long.
We pray for the journalist teams that film, write and publish with risk of death as they give voice and document the injustices around the world. Help us to listen as they lift these tentative voices to the world’s stage. Help each of us to find our voice, and remind those of us with public platforms of our deep responsibility to speak the truth in love. Magnify the Good News. May it stream through all of these spaces – guide every deed.
Help us to honor the multitude of indigenous peoples[v] who keep the land and guard it’s teachings. We pray that the pressures of extraction that degrade rivers, displace tribes and communities, and cultivate institutional racism can be acknowledged for what they are – social and environmental and climate injustices – as they have been through the ages. The marginalized are among us and in the news daily. These transgressions trample our relationship to you, your kin-dom, and all of creation. Help us to hear and heed their warnings. Repair these wrongs. Reconcile us to right action. Come spirit.
Bring us to a new accounting and clarity in these opening days of 2021. Forgive us for the deeds done that cannot be undone, the sins and trespasses and willfulness that did not serve. Open our hearts to inward love, to one and other, nation-to-nation in a new way – in the Good News you gave to the world–of Christ’s birth, his baptism, journey to the cross and resurrection. Help us to forgive one another as we are sheltered and made whole by this great love. Help us to repair, restore and amend what is ours to do. Lord in your great compassion hear us.
Come, spirit, come, our hearts control,
Our spirits long to be made whole,
Let inward love guide every deed;
By this we worship and are freed.[vi]
[i] Words: Hal Hopson, based on 1 Corinthians 13. Music based on an English Folk Tune Copyright 1972 by Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, Il. 60188. All Rights Reserved.