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Prayer of Intercession, August 23, 2009

October 5, 2009

Our hearts are heavy today, Lord.

Our hearts are heavy today, Lord, because there is too much poverty in the world. We are saddened, Lord, by the degrading life that millions, if not billions, of people live, by the way in which poverty steals their humanity.

Our hearts are heavy today, Lord, because there is too much corruption in the world. We are saddened, Lord, by the greed that dwells in the hearts of too many powerful people, by the way in which corruption steals their humanity.

Our hearts are heavy today, Lord, because our human family has lost its spiritual direction. We covet and work for the material things of life that do not really matter while at the same time neglecting and disregarding the spiritual things of life that really do matter. In this process, our lives have become shallow without depth and meaning. We thrash around wondering where we have gone wrong without turning toward you for the nutritious spiritual food that you offer us.

Today, Lord, we come before you to seek your guidance, your wisdom, your love, for we know that without turning to you we will continue to have poverty, corruption and empty lives.

It is in this light, Lord, that our hearts today are especially saddened for the thousands of children in the Chinese provinces of Shaanxi and Hunan whose young lives have been poisoned with lead by companies that race after profits while they ignore the damage to people's health caused by the toxic wastes produced by their factories. You have blessed us with a beautiful Garden, Lord, but we have been poor custodians of it. Redirect our spiritual compass, Lord, so that our priorities may be reoriented toward actions and activities that bring life and not death.

Our hearts are heavy as well today, Lord, for our sisters and brothers in Taiwan whose lives have been devastated by the recent typhoon, Typhoon Morakot. We especially pray for those who have lost their family members and friends, their homes and their businesses. May you bring them healing and comfort in this tragic time of their life and guide them and give them strength as they seek to rebuild their lives again.

We also remember today, Lord, the aid workers who have come to assist the people of Taiwan and others around the world. Give them the strength and energy to continue to serve those who have lost so much.

We also lift up to you today, Lord, our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan as they seek to build a democratic government and a democratic society where all voices are heard and respected. We especially remember those who have given their lives for the cause of democracy in their country or who have faced threats to achieve this goal. We give thanks for the courage of Afghanistan's women who at times face grave risks to participate in the democratic process. We give thanks too for the country's largely peaceful election last week and pray that the outcome will reflect the wishes of the majority of those who voted.

In Hong Kong, we offer our thanks for the employers of domestic workers who are willing to show their support for the desire of their helpers to be treated like other workers in the community and be entitled to the city's minimum wage that is now being discussed.

As part of the ecumenical prayer cycle, we pray today, Lord, for the people in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We especially remember them today, Lord, as they work to overcome the hardships of the global financial crisis that have affected their economies that were growing rapidly only several years ago.

In our own church community, we pray for renewed health and strength for members who are ill or frail. We also pray for a safe journey for our pastor and her family as they soon return home to Hong Kong from their vacation and for others in our congregation who are, or soon will be, traveling. Lastly, we want to express our joy for those in our midst who have heard your call and have said, "Here I am, Lord." We especially lift up a prayer of thanksgiving for our African brothers, Thadius and Roy, as they soon begin their theological studies in South Korea and Hong Kong. They have lived uncertain lives for so many years as asylum-seekers in Hong Kong, and now this door has been opened to them to follow your call and serve you. May your spirit guide and strengthen them in this new chapter of their journey of faith.

We offer all these prayers to you, Lord, in your Son's name. Amen.

Bruce Van Voorhis

(Bruce Van Voorhis works in Hong Kong for Interfaith Cooperation Forum [ICF], a regional network of young Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and indigenous activists working for just peace at the grassroots level in South and Southeast Asia. ICF is a joint program of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs [APAY] in Hong Kong where Bruce is based and the Christian Conference of Asia [CCA] located in Chiang Mai, Thailand.)

Bruce Van Voorhis serves as missionary with the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCA's in Hong Kong.  He serves as the Coordinator for Interfaith Programs.


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