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Prayer of Intercession October 18, 2009

October 20, 2009

We pray today, Lord, for the victims of recent natural disasters. Be with those still suffering from the natural forces of strong winds and strong rains in the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan and India and from the sudden trembling of the earth in Indonesia and the Pacific islands of Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. We mourn with those who have lost loved ones and friends. We remember too those who have lost their homes, their jobs, their sense of security, the roots of their life. We pray for the urgent delivery of food, shelter and medicine that is needed for those in need of the basics of life.

We pray today, Lord, for the victims of recent manmade disasters. Be with those still suffering from the unnatural forces of war and violence in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur and the Middle East. We especially pray today, Lord, for those affected by the series of bombings that have recently shaken Pakistan. We again mourn with those who no longer can enjoy the life and support of their family members. We ask for healing and a rapid recovery for those who have been injured.

In addition to Pakistan, we also pray as part of the ecumenical prayer cycle today for the people and churches of their South Asian neighbors of India and Sri Lanka—lands that have also known violence, fear and despair. We especially lift up to you, Lord, the Tamil people living for months in concentration camp-like conditions in the North of Sri Lanka who can only wonder if their future will be any different. We pray that you will give them hope where they see none, that they will soon be removed from their lives of confinement and uncertainty and be able to begin rebuilding their lives again.

In this time of tension, of violence and of little trust in the world today, Lord, we pray for your love and wisdom to guide us to see ourselves in the other, to resolve our disagreements, misunderstandings and conflicts through discussions and negotiations with mutual respect. We know that violence and destruction does not really resolve any dispute but only plants the seeds for future disputes. Today's victors merely become tomorrow's victims.

We also pray today, Lord, for the victims of other manmade disasters, for those excluded by discrimination and hate, for those abused by exploitation, for those demeaned by poverty. We especially remember the poor today, Lord, as we commemorated yesterday the International Day for Poverty Eradication. May those who wield economic and political power use their power wisely to take this day seriously, Lord, to give meaning to this day, so that this day will not just be another day on the calendar in which yearly the international community holds activities to remember what it should do but then does very little. Among those who have been forgotten are the more than one billion undernourished people in the world today. When will they be remembered, Lord? When will we spend as much time, energy and money on feeding people as we do on killing them with our defense funding? Lord, our priorities have become confused. Lead us back to the reverence for life that you have created and that you call us to honor.

We pray today, Lord, for the victims of our future manmade disasters, for those to come because we are unwilling today to heed the warnings of our changing climate and what that will mean for the production of food, the provision of water, for the way we live and sustain ourselves. We do not need to add to the burdens of our children and grandchildren, Lord.

Closer to home and our present reality in Hong Kong, we pray that our government will serve the needs of those who can barely support themselves in our expensive city. We remember our youth who find it difficult to find a job and begin their lives and careers. We remember our elderly who we find daily on the streets collecting items in our trash bins to recycle. We remember our middle-aged workers without jobs. We ask that our government will hear their voices, will meet their needs, and not just listen to the voices and meet the needs of those who are already abundantly wealthy.

Within our church community at Kowloon Union Church, we rejoice today, Lord, at becoming a Fair Trade Church that connects us with farmers and producers in developing countries around the world. May this link unite us as members of the human family and remind us that we all are one. Lastly, we pray for your wise guidance for the redevelopment and maintenance of our church that we may use the facilities with which you've blessed us to better serve our members and the community in which we live, work and spend our lives.

We lift all these prayers up 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 justpeace 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.)


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