As we continue to ground ourselves in the new year, we celebrate(d) Epiphany on January 6. We remember the legacy of the Magi, who disobeyed the unethical and immoral orders of King Herod and pray that they may show us a way forward with more justice. We celebrate the day Jesus’ physical manifestation was made known to these Magi, Gentiles, and remember that our faith calls us to honor all people. So, as we set our new year’s intentions, we remember all of God’s children in our own communities and all over the globe.
Holy God, you make all things new. We pray that you would renew our faith and, in so doing, lead us in your paths of equity, compassion, and hope.
We lift our prayers of hope for less unrest and more peace:
- We pray for the United States as we lament the Capitol riots that happened one year ago. As the country remains as divided as ever, we pray for your righteousness to be revealed.
- We pray for Kazakhstan, where the rising price of fuel has been the catalyst that led to protests, which are being met by a President that threatens to act “as toughly as possible,” and pray for your compassion to be made known.
- We pray for areas all over our world where more peace is needed.
We lift our prayers of hope for the areas of our world that are affected by fire:
- We pray for South Africa, where the Parliament Chamber was “completely gutted” by fire on Sunday and pray that the hands, hearts, and minds that rebuild it will be guided by love.
- We pray for the people of Philadelphia, USA where a large house fire killed 13 people, including 7 children on Wednesday, and pray for your comfort to touch all who were affected.
- We pray for Colorado, USA where wildfires continue to spread, and pray for protection of all people in the area.
We lift our prayers of hope for your good creation that is suffering right now:
- We pray for the Chaco forest of Paraguay and its indigenous peoples, as a bridge and highway are being built through the Chaco to connect Paraguay to Brazil, threatening South America’s second largest ecosystem after the Amazon. May we be led to respect your good creation more and more in the days and years ahead.
- We pray for the Philippines, where typhoons get ever more destructive, even though the area adds little to global emissions. May we realize that what we do impacts your world and your people everywhere.
We lift our prayers of hope for all of us who are still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic two years after it began its spread:
- We pray for all those in the USA and around the world who return to school after winter break and all the challenges that have arisen this week, including teachers strikes, expired test kits being given to school children, and pray that caring for humanity is held as the highest goal as decisions are made.
- We pray for all places where more restrictions are being put in place for safety, even as it affects economies, and for all people who are being held up on cruise ships and in airports as this omicron surge affects so many areas of our world. May our leaders’ decision-making be empathetic during this time and always.
- We pray for all hospitals and medical care facilities that are overwhelmed and short on supplies due to the pandemic, and shed a light particularly on Ethiopia’s Tigray region where air strikes are occurring and there is a government aid blockade causing even more death. May we one day see a reordering of resources where everyone has enough.
Holy One, transform our vision of the world, and make us see it in light of your hope. May we know deeply within ourselves that we are one, and may our hearts be open to the possibilities of the new year. Fill us with the hope of new beginnings, and the divine spark to make them so. Amen.