Weekly Prayers

Pray with Puerto Rico, Sunday, July 5, 2020

Lectionary Selection:  Matt.11:16-19, 25-30

Prayers for Puerto Rico:  

God, Creator of what we see and what we cannot see, we praise your name and give all glory to you. As we serve your calling in Puerto Rico, many only see what is missing, and are blind to your mercy and grace. Thank you for your call to serve in ministry and mission partnership at the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico. The call was made based on what you have prepared us to do and not on what we or others wanted to be done.

Today, we serve a community recovering from hurricanes, earthquakes, financial distress, and the COVID-19 pandemic. We acknowledge that the strength, willingness, and eagerness to provide comfort, shelter, and food and to share your loving gospel was not ours but only yours. And through them, you made us a living testimony of your mercy, your love, and your blessing to all people in Puerto Rico.

We ask for the steady stream of your overflowing grace to be poured over “The Enchanted Island.” As we continue to serve this portion of your kingdom, may our words be light to condemn but strong and heavy to comfort. Amen.

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Pray with the Philippines Sunday, June 28, 2020

Philippines_prayer.jpgLectionary Selection:  Matthew 10:40-42

Prayers for the Philippines:  

Wellspring of Life and Love, we come to you with hearts grieving, tears flowing, voices trembling, and hands shaking. We are overwhelmed by torrents of life’s challenges: natural (and not so natural) disasters compounded by human actions that destroy our life support system as a whole and by those who feed on the flesh of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Of the many challenges that we as a people in the Philippines are facing and in solidarity with others around the world, we are raising our laments and questions. Help us, dear Spirit of Wisdom, to find some answers to our anguished questions:

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Pray with Israel/Palestine, Sunday, June 21, 2020

Palestine_IMG_1402_copy.jpegLectionary Selection:  Matthew 10:24-39

Prayers for Israel/Palestine:  

Jesus, when you spoke of times of trial to come, you didn’t mince words: hatred, betrayal, persecution, hidden secrets revealed, sparrows falling, hairs counted, a sword, and family division. During this time of trial—pandemic threat, political divide, created chaos and violence around the world—calm our hearts and clear our minds as you open our ears to hear you say again, “Be not afraid.” 

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Pray with the Dominican Republic, Sunday, June 14, 2020

Lectionary Selection:  Genesis 18:1-15
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Prayers for the Dominican Republic:  

Dear Heavenly Parent,

In this time of fear and uncertainty, please hear our prayers. In this time of the pandemic, where we feel separated both physically and emotionally, let us handle your presence. Remind us also of the importance of loving and caring for our neighbors. In times of social distancing, enlighten us with new ways to pull our neighbors in and break with them our finest bread. Teach us new ways to wash our neighbors' feet when we are focused on washing our own hands. 

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Most of all, Lord, we pray for strength. Give us the power to live in your plans for us. When we laugh in the face of dreams, teach us to see ourselves in the manner in which you see us. Remind us that we are created in your image, and there is no task too big for us to accomplish with Your divine counsel. As we long for a return to normalcy, allow us to envision a new normal that better cares Your kingdom on Earth and all of your children who inhabit it.

Be with us in all we do in Your Heavenly name,

Amen

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Pray with Jamaica, Sunday, June 7, 2020

Jamaica_Rachel_Pellet_churchinjamaicacovid19.jpgLectionary Selection:  Genesis 1:1-2, 4a

Prayers for Jamaica:  

Creator God, Light and Love, we acknowledge your goodness – as simply part of the essence of your very being, and the goodness of your inexhaustible loving-kindness towards us, your creation, your children, your beloved. Lord of Light and Love, we return love to you. Spirit, we thank you for your abiding companionship. Hover over us. We reach back out to you for comfort and encouragement. Lead us and guide us. We acknowledge your presence in all places, with all people, in all things, and ask for wisdom. We lift up those who are in a process of discernment, those planning and organizing for the “re-opening” of churches, and congregations that have already started to physically meet together again, in the eeriness of COVID-19. Today, we join in prayer with our brothers and sisters in this work in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. As pastors, lay leaders, elders, volunteers, etc., serving you through the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI), and staff at the UCJCI head office together with them, respond to put into place all of the government’s advisement for precautions to assemble in-person safely, we ask for your provision: in addition to wisdom, for courage where needed and caution as needed; for the excitement that brings a breath of new life for those who have grown weary, and for sobered sensitivity and compassion for those who will greet and support others still grieving; for the financial and material resources to make safety for all possible; for Your Spirit that transforms a worship service into a Holy encounter with you. Empower your people, oh God our Creator, Lord of Love and inextinguishable Light in any darkness. You know exactly what is needed, so our prayer is simple and short. Creator God, Comforter and Christ, even as you are all that we need, would you be ever-present in a powerful and palpable way for our siblings in Jamaica and Cayman, now (as many make plans and gather together again) and always. And for those yet unable – for whom the risk of COVID-19 is still too great – we ask that you would make them ever-present on our hearts and minds, so that we can be part of your plan to provide emotionally, physically, and spiritually to them as well. One with you, may we be in tune with your Spirit to partner with you in care for all of creation, to be Light and Love to our siblings in Christ by your goodness and strength. Amen.

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Pray with Thailand, Sunday, May 31, 2020

thailand_anne_gregory_IMG_1380.jpgLectionary Selection:  Acts 2:1-21

Prayers for Thailand:  

Why is it, O God of the Breath, that your Spirit blows where it will, and we never know what is coming next? Thank you for the living power of your Spirit, because when we are filled, we are free to follow and adapt, and even give thanks, when everything seems to be blowing and changing so quickly.

thailand_anne_gregory_IMG_1377.jpgWe pray with thanksgiving for the people of Thailand, who have long had the gift of adapting and thriving in a world of constant change.  Let their redoubled commitment to mutual encouragement and to “a cool heart” be a beacon to the world in this time of trouble. Let their concern for the larger world be a gift of hope, and let that hope be part of your work to draw all the people of the world together to be stewards of life and love and healing—throughout the whole wide earth. We pray through the Risen Christ, Amen.

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Pray with Mexico, Sunday, May 24, 2020

mexico_carlos_sediles_real_Taller_iglesia_en_Ciudad_de_México.jpgen Español

Lectionary Selection:  John 17:1-11

Prayers for Mexico: 

God, source of love and protection who tenderly comforts and encourages us in the most difficult of hours, in this time of global anguish we turn to you, our Father and Mother, with the confidence that we are your daughters and sons. From Mexico, we join in prayer with sisters and brothers around the world, to glorify your name through our mission of service and dedication. We are sent as your son, Jesus, to manifest and sanctify your name, giving you glory in fulfilling your will. Thank you for the gifts you share with your community, and for the new and abundant life through Jesus Christ. United as one body in diversity, we take on the mission of witnessing to your presence in the world. May the world know you through our testimonies, and by knowing you, they may enjoy the life that comes from you (John 17:3).

Although Jesus' most famous prayer is probably The Lord's Prayer, in this chapter of the Gospel of John, we find one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible. After a long speech in which Jesus bids farewell to his own, we have the "Priestly Prayer." Jesus "raises his eyes to heaven" to address the Father as a beloved son. It is in the trust of this caring and loving relationship of Father and Son that Jesus can fulfill his mission and put his future and that of his community in God's hands. It is faith that can give us the confidence to collaborate in God's purpose for the world, and trust to be able to rest and have peace, for it is the Father who takes care of his own (John 17:11).

Through this prayer, Christian communities in Mexico continue to proclaim their faith in Jesus as the envoy of God, who now sends communities into the world to continue the mission. Although they are deprived of Jesus' physical presence, they will be encouraged by his Spirit to continue his living presence, to bear witness to the light that has come into the world to give us full and abundant life. The eternal life that comes from God (the only eternal one) consists of knowing God through his envoy, Jesus Christ (John 17:3). It is the community of believers who, with their works of compassion and solidarity, reveal the God of Jesus. The world will finally believe and live through the testimony of Jesus' disciples (John 17:21).

In times of anguish, pain, and death throughout the world, churches in Mexico have come together in prayer and action for the most vulnerable sectors of their communities. Inspired by the gospel of Jesus, we have witnessed the unity and mobilization of Christians in Mexico, to respond to the different needs that arise from the COVID19 pandemic. Once again, Jesus' prayer in John 17 takes meaning and is ever-present; it embodies the life and witness experiences of many churches in Mexico and around the world.

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Pray with Lebanon, Sunday, May 17, 2020

Lectionary Selection:  John 14:15-21

Prayers for Lebanon:  

Abundant and abiding God,

We often think of Easter as a culmination – of the season of Lent, of Jesus’ life. Yet you remind us that our work is not complete. In this time of uncertainty and global crisis, it is even more evident that the good news of Easter is not that something is ending, but that something even greater is just beginning.

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Pray with Kenya, Sunday, May 10, 2020

kenya.jpgLectionary Selection:  John 14:1-14

Prayers for Kenya:  

Lord, you told us to keep heart and not be troubled knowing that you go to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house. We live in this world as pilgrims, as the nation of Kenya goes through a lot of challenges, economically, socially, and financially, we pray Lord that you help your people put their trust in you and you alone.

God, let the leadership of the nation of Kenya be godly and caring the way Jesus cares for His disciples. Let them give hope and encouragement to their people the way our Lord Jesus did to the disciples in times of despair.

Lord, we pray for the nation of Kenya as it now lives in a very difficult moment with the appearance of COVID-19. The future becomes more and more uncertain. Those who trusted in their secured jobs live now in despair, those who accumulated wealth as a way of securing the future are hopeless. Lord, remind us in such situations that you are the solution for all our problems and we have to believe in you.

Lord, Kenya operates in a growing entrepreneurial middle class and steady growth. Its economic development has been impaired unfortunately by weak governance and corruption. We pray God that you illuminate the mind of those in power to seek the welfare of all Kenyans. Corruption is a gangrene that kills the economy, so Father, in the name of Jesus, we pray that you help the leadership of Kenya to appoint leaders of integrity who can work for societal transformation. 

O God, we lift the nation of Kenya to you for the issue of unemployment and under-employment which are extremely high. People normally live day-to-day. With the issue of lockdown because of COVID-19, it becomes very difficult for common people to get daily bread. Lord, you are the provider for the needy, we pray that you provide daily bread for families who cannot afford it.

Because of the tough economy of the country and the lockdown for COVID-19, insecurity has become a serious issue. People who go out for shopping are being attacked by bandits. Lord, we pray for the protection of your people.

Lord, you said if we ask anything in your name you will do it. Hear our prayers, O God, and respond according to you will.

We pray and believe that you have heard our prayers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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Pray with Germany, Sunday, May 3, 2020

germany_1.jpgLectionary Selection:  Luke 4:14-21

Prayers for Germany:  

God of Mercy, Ground of Being,
when your child Jesus was afraid, knowing the horror that lay in store for him;
when he was humiliated and tortured;
when his friends deserted him;
when he writhed in anguish on a cross designed for a criminal;
when, no longer able to hold himself up, he suffocated and died –
I believe you were with him – you suffered his fear, his loneliness, his agonizing hours.

I believe you are suffering with your children on this frail planet earth today.
Jesus died at the hands of Rome for proclaiming the kingdom of heaven on earth.
Ignoring the kingdom of heaven, we have built tiny kingdoms of our own with little
regard for your creation.

In this time of isolation, illness, and fear for the future, help us to remember our brother Jesus and his time of trial and 40 days of fasting and isolation in the wilderness; how he had to confront moral choices not unlike our own – the desire for comfort, power and recognition plague us. When slowly we come out of our isolation, our fast of human contact, help us to not forget we are just one of your unnumbered creations. Let us not forget this wilderness time. Help us to be more worthy citizens of our mother earth.

AMEN

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