Friday, November 30, 2012

World in Prayer prayers

It was my week to write the prayers for World In Prayer, and of course Advent set the tone. Two other things colored these prayers: first, I did a service at a rehab facility -- 7 elderly women in wheelchairs and one aide -- and I realized how often in church I hear us urging people to go out and do when there are times when it is appropriate simply to sit and receive. And to follow that up, Internet Monk had a great post this week entitled Tis Easier to Give than Receive that I thought was lovely and so true. I was also reminded of T.S. Eliot's poem Ash Wednesday in which he writes "Teach us to care and not to care/teach us to sit still".

So that's where these prayers came from.

Here you go.

Perhaps we do not need to do any more. Perhaps we need to learn to wait. Perhaps we need to sit in silence, listening, without an answer at the ready, without the need to spring into action.

Perhaps we need to welcome Advent once again, O Lord, as the antidote for all our striving, as a time when we leave the world to your care.

O God, if you want us to act, we will act. But if in this season, you want us to wait, to watch, to listen, then we will wait, we will watch, we will listen.

As we pray for the world, may we sit still in your presence, waiting for your guidance, and watching for your return.

We pray for those who cannot worship in quiet and safety:

  • for Iraq where a string of bombings, including one at the Imam Abbas Shrine in Karbala, have killed 45 and left another 155 wounded. 
  • for Nigeria where at least 11 people were killed when a car bomb was detonated at a Protestant Church inside a military barracks and where continued fighting between Nigerian security forces and the Islamist group Boko Haram have forced thousands to flee their homes. 
  • for Zimbabwe where some Anglicans trying to enter the cathedral in Harare have been chased by thugs and beaten with chains. We give thanks that the worshipers were able to enter and hold services there. 
We pray for those living in areas of conflict or struggles for power:

  • for Syria where internet access has been shut down and battles between Syrian rebel forces and government troops have closed the main road leading to the Damascus Airport. 
  • for the Democratic Republic of Congo where rebels have started withdrawing from territory they captured from government troops. 
  • for Mali and for those seeking a peaceful solution to the end of months of fighting there. 
  • for Egypt where the National Assembly is voting on a draft constitution, and where people are protesting the actions of President Morsi who claimed extra powers for his office. 
We pray for those who are sick.

  • As we mark World AIDS Day on December 1st, we pray for all those who are affected by AIDS.
  • We pray for Russia where there has been a 12 percent rise in the rate of AIDS this year. 
We pray for those working for peace: 
  • for the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs and the Latin American Council of Churches as they meet this weekend in Antigua, Guatemala to address issues of peace and security in Latin America. 
We pray for our communities and neighbors, for our families and friends, for those who are near to us. 

May we wait and watch and listen with them, and with all the world, rejoicing in your return and in your never-ending love for all of your creation. Amen.

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