Lectionary Selection: Psalm 126
Prayers for Lebanon:
Almighty God, creator of all, giver of life, we come to you with hearts that are overwhelmed with many thoughts and feelings.
We stand before you, raising our voices to you, trying to understand all that is happening in our personal lives, communities, country, and world.
Although overwhelmed, yet we come to you with the confidence that you are a loving God. We thank you for loving us unconditionally.
Remind us that nothing can take that love away from us, even when we are surrounded by sickness, economic hardship, disastrous explosions, wars, and death.
During this time of Advent, especially on this particular Sunday, we are reminded to rejoice. We find it difficult to rejoice when surrounded by so much uncertainty in our everyday lives. Yet we are grateful to have you as the source of life and hope. During the darkest moments of our life, you are the true source of light, guiding us.
You who have seen us through the upheavals and difficulties, we pray that once again you remind us of your presence and help us to remember the great things you have done for us. We pray that as we remember, we will be “like dreamers,” filled with laughter.
And as we come to you with our tears, help us to believe that we will reap with songs of joy. In our sorrow, as we weep and are in anguish, may we continue to sow seeds of hope and faith, and receive blessings of joy from you.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Lebanon:
Under all kinds of circumstances, including suffering, the scripture commands us to rejoice: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) The past year has been full of hardships and crises here in Lebanon. Some of these challenges have devastated the country and especially its people, more so than those they have had to face before. The protests, political uprising, the decades-long economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic with ongoing lockdown periods, the shutting down of businesses, interruption of the academic year, drop in the value of the Lebanese currency to a fifth or sixth of its value, and on top of all of this the Beirut port explosion on August 4th. So many are without homes or jobs, seeking assistance from NGOs for the first time ever, unable to pay rent, heat their homes, or buy medicines, while those medicines are becoming increasingly scarce.
The people of Lebanon are known for “rising from the ashes” each time they have faced hardship or destruction. But the crises of the past year have tested even the proverbial Lebanese “resilience.” How can they pick up and continue with fresh determination and stamina?
Global Ministries’ partners here are just some of those organizations doing their utmost to reach people in a variety of ways. Nishan’s and my work (Haigazian University and the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East) involves things such as offering immediate help as well as providing means for students to continue their education. Considerable resources as well as far-sighted planning are needed to accomplish this multifaceted work. But the most significant resource is something believers can supply: Hope in the one who is able to deliver a nation from darkness into light, and from sorrow into joy.
Pray with us that the church in Lebanon continues this vital ministry for the good of the nation.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Maria Bakalian
Mission Partners in Lebanon:
More information on Lebanon: https://www.globalministries.org/lebanon
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Lebanon:
Maria Bakalian serves with the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in Lebanon. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.