Weekly Prayers

Pray with Hong Kong May 6, 2018

Lectionary Selection: John 15:9-17

Prayers for Hong Kong:

O God, your Son gave a new commandment to his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion: “Love one another as I have loved you.” The disciples already knew the great commandments to love God and neighbor. Now Jesus makes crystal clear what more that love requires courage, passion, and the willingness to sacrifice our very lives to bring about Your reign of justice and peace. In Hong Kong, we thank You for the freedoms that others have sacrificed and even died for so that we may enjoy them today – freedom of the press, assembly, association, expression and religion. We know how these freedoms are easily taken for granted or can slowly erode through external and internal forces. May the people and the Church of Hong Kong continue to guard these precious human rights for the city and the nation as they bear fruit that will last for many generations to come. Amen.

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Pray with Hungary on Sunday, April 29, 2018

Hungary_2004_Evan_Golder_11.JPGLectionary Selection: 1 John 4:7-21

Prayers for Hungary:

Loving God,

Thank you for the gift of love. Thank you for your indiscriminate acceptance of all people. Sometimes it is hard to understand, accept, and love those who are different, and sometimes there is fear because of the differences. Fill our hearts with your love. Open our hearts and minds to the new perspectives and help us to see the similarities that bind us together. Give us the courage to connect with those who are different, and allow us to find you in surprising ways.

Today we pray for the Refugee Ministry and the Roma Mission of the Reformed Church in Hungary. As our world changes, there is increasing fear of those who are different from us. In this time, we must remember that every person we encounter is someone who is loved and treasured. In the Refugee Ministry, I lift up the wonderful staff of Kalunba Social Services Ltd. Please provide the staff with the wisdom and strength to carry on in their mission in providing the necessities for refugees to find a safe home and a caring community. In the Roma Mission, we pray for the Gypsy (Roma) youth and children. There are more and more children turning to drugs, alcohol and prostitution. Please surround the children with people to love and guide them. Wrap your arms of grace around them, and fill our hearts with the same compassion and love to be a pillar of strength in their lives. Empower us to meet each person as one who is worthy and deeply loved.

In the loving name of Jesus, Amen.

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Pray with Mexico on Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lectionary Selection: John 10:11-18

Prayers for Mexico:

Today we pray for Mexico, caught in the shadow between light and darkness.

In the womb where nativity waits,
In the grey fog before dawn,
In the curve of the tunnel hiding the exit,
In time suspended, half-way, no longer there, not yet beyond.
Between despair and hope shared,
            but not yet fulfilled.
Between fear and courage opening its wings
            but not yet alight.
Between sadness and joy bubbling up from the depths
            but not yet overflowing.
Between suffering and justice opening its hands
            but not yet embracing.
Between hate and the seed of love planted
            but not yet germinating.
In Mexico,
The shadows incubate dignity to be born.
The shadows solemnly announce the joy of new day.
The shadows excitedly predict a new breath of freedom.
The shadows stretch us irresistibly towards the light.
As the shadows point the path to the sun,
So our faith leads us on the path of peace.
Here, in the land of the eagle and the jaguar,
The cactus and the chocolate tree,
Where the sun hides behind the mountains
and beyond shimmering seas,
shalom is forged in these shadowlands.

(Prayer originally in Spanish. Written and translated by Elena Huegel.)

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Pray with Hong Kong on Sunday, April 15, 2018

Lectionary Selection: Luke 24:36b-48

Interfaith Cooperation Forum fosters understanding and respect for other faiths and cultures in Asia as part of its School of Peace and other programs.

Interfaith Cooperation Forum fosters understanding and respect for other faiths and cultures in Asia as part of its School of Peace and other programs.

Prayers for Hong Kong:

Lord, when you appeared to the disciples after your resurrection, they saw you, they heard you, but they did not believe that the person in front of them was you.

Similarly, we too today, Lord, have heard your message in the Scriptures, but we, your modern-day disciples, likewise fail to believe, for we prefer to follow our own ways and not the teachings you gave us to respect life, to love everyone unconditionally regardless of their identity, to comfort and care for the poor and marginalized, to uphold peace grounded in justice.

The result of our disbelief, of our “blindness” and “deafness” to your message, is the world that we have created. In Asia, profits and power are put before people; development is put before the environment. In Hong Kong, unaffordable housing has pushed people into ever smaller spaces to call home; the elderly collecting cardboard and other items are the backbone of the city’s recycling industry. In short, money matters most, and life in all its manifestations is disrespected and sacrificed.

To transform this world, Lord, we pray for eyes to truly see, ears to truly hear and a heart to truly feel. With new eyes, new ears and a new heart, we pray that we can finally and fully trust you and believe in your message; and within this trust and rekindled belief, we will find the peace that you offer to each one of us that is what we all are really seeking. The decision we know, Lord, is ours. We pray for the wisdom and courage to let go of our egos and believe. Amen.

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Pray with Nicaragua on Sunday, April 8, 2018

Fixed_Roof_copy.jpgLectionary Selection: John 20:19-31

Prayers for Nicaragua:

Oh Lord, we thank you for your love, grace, and mercy that comes to us through the resurrection story. Whether we recognize it or not, we live with your love, grace and mercy in our daily lives. Although sometimes on this journey of life we, like our biblical brother Thomas, experience moments of doubt and unbelief. However, like Thomas, you always provide a way for us to put our finger where the nails were and to put our hand in your side. Causing our heart and our mind to deliver the words to our mouth to say, “My Lord and my God!"

Now Lord we ask that you keep us mindful of the power of your resurrection that gives us the strength needed to face the challenges of life—challenges that make us feel that there is no way out. Yet, we lift our hands with praise and thanksgiving in your presence as we become witnesses of how You, oh Lord, can “make a way out of no way.” Amen

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Pray with Lesotho on Sunday, April 1, 2018

Lesotho_Mark_Behle_IMG_6025.JPGLectionary Selection: John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

Prayers for Lesotho:

Gracious and merciful God,

We praise your name and give you thanks this day as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ! We thank you for sending Jesus into the world to show us the fullness of your love for us. We thank you for the hope which we have in Jesus, the Risen One. Like those who discovered the empty tomb and encountered the resurrected Christ, let us share the Good News with others! May the joy and the excitement of that first Easter morning be ours as we rejoice with our brothers and sisters and proclaim, “He is risen!”

Lesotho_Mark_Behle_IMG_6003.JPGWe give thanks for our partnership in the Good News with the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa. May you guide and empower them with courage and wisdom as they continue working for justice and peace, particularly as they seek to reconcile the various political factions in the country. May their efforts bear fruit which will bring healing and encouragement to the people of Lesotho.

We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen!

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Pray with Israel/Palestine on Sunday, March 25, 2018

IMG_1156.jpegLectionary Selection: Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16

Prayers for Israel/Palestine:

O Lord, we often do not understand why injustice continues to prevail in our world, or why your Divine purpose remains hidden from our eyes while we witness political oppression and hear the human cry for freedom. We witness your mighty acts in history: You look with favor on the lowly, and your mercy is for those who fear you from generation to generation; you show strength with your arm and scatter the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; you bring down the powerful from their thrones and lift up the lowly. We bear witness to your love for the world you created and, with those who await your mercy and justice, we pray: “hosanna,” “save us.” Amen.

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Pray with East Timor on Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lectionary Selection: John 12:20-33

Prayers for East Timor:

For the women and girls in East Timor, who are subject to the desires of husbands, fathers, uncles, and brothers, dear God, we pray. When unwanted pregnancies occur, leaving a mother to bear the physical and emotional work of caring for babies and children, or sometimes leaving her in danger for her own life or safety, dear God, we pray. When violence against women and girls happens, particularly in the home, whether it be physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, dear God, bring righteousness to the women and open the eyes of men.

Jesus came to teach a way of justice for all people. In East Timor, we pray today for this indigenous, young, Asian nation as it faces challenges of modernization and as it comes to terms with deeply entrenched cultural norms that too often disempower women. May women and men recognize that to glorify God is to walk humbly as servants of Jesus, following a path which honors the dignity of all people, women and men alike.  Amen.

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Pray for Guatemala on Sunday, March 11, 2018

Lectionary Selection: John 3:14-21

Prayers for Guatemala:

Dear God,

Together, we will join our ideas and dreams, we will make visible the other world that is possible; a world of peace with justice, where "good living" is for everyone, without exception. We know that a world of peace requires many hands, hearts, and voices. Aware that the violence that strikes each country is on the every continent, we are joining together to generate a culture of evangelical peace that illuminates our dark reality.

In the face of our pain, we dream, we determine, we walk, and we love. As Deborah (Judges 4-5) acted in determination, indignation, and compassion, we act and we walk, because we are the guardians of well-being and security for all people.

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Pray with Indonesia on Sunday, March 4, 2018

A hearse picks up the coffin of a migrant worker at the Kupang airport cargo terminal. Courtesy of Infokom GMIT

Lectionary Selection: John 2:13-22

Prayers for Indonesia:

O guardian of sacred space—of our fellowships of intent, our bodies and souls, we pray for the migrant workers of Indonesia whose poverty makes them vulnerable to trafficking and abuse in foreign lands, and whose families accept their absence as the new normal. May your mission of redemption touch the lives of those far from home, trapped as indentured laborers, some maimed for life. We pray for the Evangelical Christian Church of Timor that its new ministry, House of Hope, reflect its name in action. Guide its staff and board members as they seek to provide safe shelter, and care of body and spirit to victims of human trafficking. Strengthen us to accept this as our mission as well. Grant us courage to overturn the tables of those who exploit naiveté; and drive from our temples those who forfeit integrity for profit. We pray especially for 21-year-old Adelina who returned home from Malaysia in a coffin at the beginning of Lent. May your comfort touch the lives of her family so they too can join your mission of redeeming and renewing hope. In the name of Jesus, whose anger we remember, Amen.

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