As happens every couple of months or so, this week I was scheduled to write the prayers for World In Prayer. This happened to coincide with the feast of Teresa of Avila, which didn't work too well for me, actually. These prayers left me feeling slightly uncomfortable--disturbed, even--which I suppose is good, in a troubling way. I mean, my goodness, Teresa didn't exactly live in peaceful times herself; she got hauled up before the Inquisition personally, after all. Nevertheless, these prayers only partially represent the conflict I feel between Teresa's words to "let nothing disturb you" and the very disturbing things I hear going on in the world.
Prayers on the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila
Teresa of Avila wrote, “Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All things pass; God never changes.” It is hard not to be disturbed when we hear
•Attacks in Lahore, Pakistan have left about 40 people dead;
•Somali pirates have taken a Singaporean ship with 21 crew members, in addition to holding at least five other ships for ransom;
•The United Kingdom has deported 39 Iraqis seeking asylum back to Baghdad;
•The number of people suffering from hunger is at its highest rate in four decades.
When we hear this bad news, what can we do? How should we respond? Like Job, we want an answer; like Job, we do not understand.
In the face of great suffering, give us faith and courage, wisdom and love. Let us be moved by compassion to understand and to take action. Keep our hearts and minds from fear and despair. In the midst of the maelstrom, answer us.
God hear our prayer.
Teresa goes on to say: “Patience attains all that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” We pray for all who strive:
•For the U.S. legislature and all who are working towards health care reform;
•For those working to prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu and other infectious diseases;
•For those who marched on Washington, D.C. last week in support of equal rights for gays and lesbians;
•For President Obama and his advisors as they try to determine the best course of action in Afghanistan;
•For the Secretary General of the World Council of Churches who will be paying a pastoral visit to churches in North Korea this week;
•For the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia that has started microgardens in its churches so that people with HIV/AIDS can grow their own vegetables.
We pray that we may do your work in the world. We pray that we may have the endurance to carry on. We pray that we may rest in your changelessness. We pray that we may find our needs met in you.
Let nothing disturb us; let nothing dismay us; all things pass; you are unchanging.
God, hear our prayer.