It was my turn to read the prayers of intercession for our church service this morning. I don't usually express political concerns in my prayers, or share the prayers I write (other than in church, of course) but after the particularly horrific events of recent weeks I thought you might like to see part of them today . . .
God of hope, in yet another week dominated by new reports of man’s inhumanity to man, we earnestly pray that our world leaders may choose to act with grace and humility instead of dogma and aggression. Inspire peace in their hearts, that they may urgently seek reconciliation with their enemies, and support a just and lasting peace for all your children. Have mercy on all those caught up in unrest in the Ukraine, in Israel, in Palestine, and in other troubled areas of our world. Grant courage to those in authority, that they may seek to establish an early and genuine end to all armed conflict, and give us hope for a peaceful future built on justice for all.
God of peace, have mercy on our Christian brothers and sisters who are still suffering ruthless persecution across our world today – both as a result of the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq, and in China where churches are being demolished to crush the spread of your gospel. Bless all who work for peace and justice there, and in the Middle East, and strengthen their resolve in the face of seemingly endless violence. May your love touch the hearts of those who engage in that violence and inspire them instead to lay down their weapons and seek peace.
God of love, we give thanks for all who are committed to loving their neighbours and living in harmony with one another. Help all your people to restore the world’s broken relationships, and give us all the patience to break down barriers of suspicion and mistrust. Grant us the ability to discern personal prejudices, and the courage to overcome fear. Teach us the spirit of justice and reconciliation, that we may respect each others integrity and human rights. And guide us to follow in Christ's footsteps, leading lives of love and service to others with a willing and joyful heart.
God of compassion, we give thanks for the comfortable lives and freedom of speech we enjoy, and ask for your blessing on our community, our homes, our families and our friends. We pray for uprooted families and all who have lost their freedom through tyranny or war. Strengthen political prisoners and those in refugee camps or seeking asylum. Comfort those whose civil liberties and human rights are violated, and those living in fear, misery, poverty and need. Console all who have been bereaved, injured and traumatized as a result of violence. Have mercy on all who suffer in mind, body or spirit, that they might know the comfort of your boundless love and compassion.
God of mercy, we give thanks for our loved ones now departed. As we turn our thoughts to the torn and divided peoples of the world, we bring to you the family of James Foley, murdered by Islamic jihadists. We commend all who have gone before us, or been martyred in your name, to your unfailing love. May they know your peace, safe in the knowledge of your great mercy, and secure in the freedom of your eternal kingdom.
Erika Price 24th August 2014