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Kowloon Union Church, Father's Day

June 20, 2007

Bruce Van Voorhis - Hong Kong

Lord, we look outside the walls of our church this morning, and we see a world where there is too much violence and war, hatred and discrimination, a world where it is difficult to find you. From the headlines of our newspapers, it is apparent that we have abandoned you and that we have neglected to make you the center of our lives. Thus, our prayer this morning, Lord, is about restoring the relationship that links us, that connects us to you and to each other and to the natural world that nourishes us.

Bless us with quiet time and quiet space, Lord, to discern who we are, our place in the world and the meaning of our life. In these quiet moments, Lord, guide us to you in us. Help us to set aside our egos and the voice that wants to be in control. Grant us the wisdom, Lord, to know that peace in our world begins with us but does not end with us. Give us the courage and strength, Lord, to step outside ourselves and move the world with our smile, with our touch, with our love, with our compassion. We stand before you, Lord, ready to be a candle in a darkened world.

We especially pray for peace this morning, Lord, in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Darfur. We pray that political issues will be solved through political processes, not military might. In our part of the world in Asia, we pray for an end to violence in southern Thailand and an end to extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the Philippines that have taken hundreds of lives. We remember in our prayers the anguish of those working in China's brick kilns in slave-like conditions, including children, and ask for the restoration of their freedom and dignity. We pray too for those who are suffering from flooding in China, those who have lost their loved ones, their homes and do not know what their future will hold. Give them food, warmth and peace of mind, Lord.

We also lift up in prayer today, as part of the ecumenical prayer cycle, our sisters and brothers in Brazil. Walk with them, Lord, as they confront poverty, corruption and environmental degradation.

On this Father's Day, we give thanks for the gift of our fathers in our lives. We especially give thanks for the many ways they have nourished us. Bless our fathers, Lord, with wisdom so that they can continue to guide their children and future generations and to instill in them the values that are needed to make this a more loving, compassionate and just world.

We conclude our prayer this morning, Lord, by praying for the lives of the asylum-seekers and refugees in our midst and around the world as we approach World Refugee Day this week on June 20. We ask that the days, months and years of uncertainty will soon be replaced with a new future for which they have prayed for so long. May the endless patience they have had to find within themselves become joy.

Let us now take a moment to pray silently or aloud what is in our hearts and minds. (silence) We lift up our prayers to you, Lord, in your Son's name. Amen.

Bruce Van Voorhis
Bruce Van Voorhis serves as missionary with the Asian Human Rights Commission located in Hong KongHe serves as a writer and editor with the Commission.

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