As we come before you today, Lord, our problems in the world are many, and our solutions seem to be few. In our world of violence, discrimination and exploitation, you have become the Forgotten One. We search for answers to the problems we have created, but we forget to turn to you and the wisdom of your teachings. If we would only remember your lessons of love, humility and respect for life, our world and its problems would be much different.
However, we are a forgetful people, Lord, and we thus come before you today to remember all of those who are hungry, homeless, unemployed, lonely, frustrated, angry, broken. We pray that they may soon find food, shelter, work, joy and peace.
In countries where frustration and anger over a lack of work and opportunities and meaning in life become sources of violence in the name of religion or ideologies, we again pray for jobs, for hope, for peace. May one’s faith or set of ideas or beliefs no longer be the source of violence. We ask for peace for the people of Syria and Iraq, of Yemen and Ukraine and all other countries where war and violence are the norms of daily life.
We especially lift up to you in prayer today the boat people in Southeast Asia and in the Mediterranean. May government leaders meeting in Bangkok and those in Europe remember the humanity of the people who are at sea. We pray that the problems that push the Rohingya people in Burma and those in Bangladesh to risk their lives will be addressed so that others will not feel compelled to follow them. As for those seeking refuge and a new life in Europe, we give thanks for the decision of leaders in that continent to accept 40,000 asylum-seekers from Syria and Eritrea over the next two years, but we ask, what about those from other countries who are fleeing similar forms of violence, and is this quota large enough?
We remember today as well the more than 1,000 people who have lost their lives in India due to extreme heat. It is not surprising that many of these people are the poor who must continue to work outside in temperatures above 100 F. We pray that these extreme temperatures will soon subside and adequate sources of water will be found and distributed. May our world leaders also find the courage to end their addiction to fossil fuels to power their nations and instead begin to invest in renewable sources of energy that do not disrupt the climate and people’s lives.
In our prayers today, we cannot forget the people of Nepal as they begin to rebuild their lives and their homes after two massive earthquakes in the past few weeks. Please give them hope in this time filled with doubt.
With other Christians around the world today, we offer our prayers for our brothers and sisters in Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. We pray that the churches of these nations will be active agents in addressing the problems of poverty, HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation and corruption that create immense suffering for the children of God in these lands. May the leaders of these countries remove the seed of greed in their hearts and instead use the great gift of natural resources of their nations to improve the lives of their people.
Among our Christian community at Kowloon Union Church, we pray for our former pastor, the Rev. Kwok Nai-wang, who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. We pray that his treatment that begins this week will be successful. We pray for strength for himself and his wife Dorothy as they face this challenge together.
We also pray today for our former member the Rev. Dr. Henriette Hutabarat who lost her mother this past week. Just as she was finishing her term as general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, she learned of this tragic news. We ask that you comfort her and her family during these times of sadness and emptiness.
We lift these prayers up to you, Lord, in the name of the Creator, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.