Pray for Poland on Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Poland:  Mark 10:13-16

Jesus said: "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:15

God of all nations, we lift up our partners in Poland and around the world this day, World Communion Sunday. We thank you for the faithfulness of believers in the face of challenges we can only dimly imagine. Nurture the faith of your children; increase their hope; and make your living presence especially known to them. We lift up to God their joys and their concerns—those specific details that only they can articulate and that are already known to you.

(Pause.)  Turning towards our brothers and sisters in Poland today, we pray especially for:

**our global partner—the Evangelical-Reformed Church—as it struggles to overcome the oppressive realities of its 450-year history, and to survive and thrive in spite of its status as a minority, marginalized and diaspora church;

Hear our prayers for Poland and for the world.

We pray for:

**the pastors and church leaders who struggle to weave the ancient and revered traditions of their historic church into the warp and the woof of a new theology of servanthood, acceptance, and sharing. Help them to meet the spiritual needs of 21st century congregations and their communities.

Pour your blessings on pastors and their families as they tirelessly travel to serve small farflung congregations, ever seeking ways to restore hope, to renew vision and energy--to feed God's sheep;

 Hear our prayers for Poland and for the world.

We pray today especially for:

**youth--the post-communist generation that remembers nothing of the scarcities and horrors of the past that have so wounded their parents and grandparents.

Help young people to maintain their faith even when they are derided by their peers, or told that they cannot be reformed Christians and still be true Poles.

Guide the children and youth of Poland as they seek compass and direction in a world that too often preaches fear before hope, tribalism before trust, commercialism before caring, and fortressing before fighting against the forces of oppression and inequality;

Hear our prayers for Poland and for the world.

Bless your Church in every place and space as it seeks to share the Good News, to extend welcome, and to serve. Help congregations to engage their communities in new and courageous ways. Grant pastors and people the strength to persevere, and the wisdom faithfully to invest time and resources, even when these are scarce and the workers are few.

Lastly, we pray that this month's observances of John Calvin's 500th anniversary will bring a renewed sense of ecumenical unity and mission to historic protestant communities, especially in Poland, long fragmented by the harsh realities of history and politics.

Hear our prayers for Poland, gracious God, and hear our prayers for healing in every corner of your world.

In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.

Global Ministries International Partner in Poland:

Founded in 1551, Kosciol Ewangelicko-Reformowany—the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland--is a small and marginalized minority denomination in a country where over 95% profess membership in a Catholic Church.

Evangelical-Reformed Church of Poland: http://www.reformowani.pl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11&Itemid=8

It is a diaspora church of 4000 members spread over a score of churches and meeting places. The forced "repatriations" and ethnic cleansings that followed the World Wars of the 20th century, and the many occupations and divisions of Poland before and after these wars, decimated the ancient and traditional reformed church which, at one time, had hundreds of thriving congregations.

Global Ministries Missionaries in Poland:

Elizabeth and Douglas Searles are Global Ministries mission workers with Kosciol Ewangelicko-Reformowany, a new partnership in Central Europe. Theirs is a joint sending, shared between Global Ministries and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Based in Lodz, Poland, Liz and Doug have a weekly circuit ministry of teaching ESL, English language Bible Study, youth programs, pulpit supply, and music development that takes them to many small communities beyond Lodz.

The Searles are commissioned to support in whatever ways they can efforts towards church health, growth and outreach of the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland.