Weekly Prayers

Pray with Sri Lanka on Sunday, January 14, 2018

Lectionary Selection: John 1:43-51

Prayers for Sri Lanka:

sri-lanka-1.jpgGod of all people and of all hope, we give thanks that you created us to be love, hope and peace for and with each other. 

You trust us all with mighty work in a world of mighty needs. 

Were we to trust only ourselves, we would fail.  We would invite the future we fear most – war and injustice, destruction of resource, possibility and beauty, slaughter of God-created life for our amusement. When we place our faith in you and your presence in us and each other, we become hands, heads, eyes, ears and the possibilities you created us to be.

Open our senses and thoughts to the wonders of being human and of being in this world, our home. Give us courage to dare to be our best when we fear what others will think or say. Inspire our imagination to dare to live a vision of a world when we will all celebrate each other’s gifts and possibilities.

Fill us with a peace that resists angry words, cruel jokes, threats of punishment and pain, violence as entertainment ...  and grant us a sense of justice that seeks not to punish, but to calm, to educate, to understand gentleness as strength.

May these be our weapons against war, hatred, prejudice, our protection against the violence of ignorance and fear. May you be the shield and armor that leads us all to respond with love and hope.

As Jesus taught and lived, so may we ... Amen

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Pray with Lebanon on Sunday, January 7, 2018

Lectionary Selection: Mark 1:4-11

Prayers for Lebanon:

lebanon-weekly-prayer.jpgGracious and loving God, 

In this holy season of renewal and rebirth, may we be made new through reflection and repentance. 

In this holy season of hope for a better tomorrow, may we be charged with the fire of the Holy Spirit and resolved to be active participants in building a peaceful world.  

In this holy season of your love made real in our world through the birth of a tiny babe in Bethlehem, may we too engage in the difficult practice of loving each other, putting aside our regard for creed, nationality, politics, race, class or gender. 

May we have the wisdom needed to make difficult choices and the courage to risk our own comfort or interests for the sake of realizing God’s vision for our world. May we always remember that we are one body in Christ. May we relish the role that you call us to play. 

We begin this new year knowing that with it will come trials and obstacles, sadness and disappointments. As we move through it, day by day, help us recognize and celebrate the joys that will come as well. Give us the strength to carry on with the work you have called us to do. To love fiercely, to hope undauntedly, to act for peace always, and demand justice for all your people.

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Pray with Lebanon on Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lebanon_2017_Maria_Bakalian_01.jpegLectionary Selection: Luke 2:22-40

Prayers for Lebanon:

Praise the Lord (Hallelujah!).

We come before you, joining all of creation, and praise your name. Praise to you, the Creator of all in the universe, the Giver of life, the Provider and Sustainer of us all.

We at times are not aware of your unending love for us, and yet you continue to love us with unconditional love. At times we are impatient in our waiting for peace, security, better living conditions, better finances, and yet you patiently gather us in your arms and bless us to the fullness of your glory, mercy, and grace.

Lebanon_2017_Maria_Bakalian_02.jpegHelp the people of Lebanon to have eyes to see your presence in the darkest and most uncertain moments of their lives.

We thank you for blessing us with the precious gift of the promised One. Through the Holy Spirit help us all to recognize and praise the sovereign Lord, and know that the divine, newborn Gift will raise those who believe in him.

God of hope, fill us all with joy and peace as we trust in Christ, and so overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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Pray with Mexico on Sunday, December 24, 2017

Lectionary Selection: Luke 1:26-38

Prayers for Mexico:

There I was:          small, defenseless, alone    
                            without any understanding of the magnitude of the damage.

There You were:    powerful, loving, and in a strange, incomprehensible way,
                            full of compassion.

 You saw me, You loved me, years went by...     and,  today, You keep loving me.

There I was:          growing in pain, in sadness, in anger;
                            clinging to You, to your mercy, to your grace.

There You were:    gently tending to me, healing me, restoring me.

I ran away, terrified.

You kept close, chasing me, wrapping me in love.

Me, unknowing. You, knowing all.

Me, without understanding. You giving me purpose.

There I was:          with my story...
                            my trampled dignity, my loneliness, my absurd existence.

There You were:    with your story...
                            your dignity, your company,  your true being.

You gave me life, a new story, a dream, a hope, a vision.

You changed my existence, readjusted my world.

Here I am and here you are, present.

I am always yours, and You, You infinite You, oh joy! You will always be mine!

(Prayer by Pastora Noemí Santiago Anzueto, México, 2017)

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Pray with Colombia on Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lectionary Selection: Luke 23:33-43

Prayers for Colombia:

colombia1.jpgLoving God,

Today we pray for the country of Colombia and our partners in mission there. Over the past year they have been actively engaged with the implementation of the peace accords between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas that brought an end to fifty years of war. We pray that their calls for peace and justice may be heard.

We also pray for the ongoing peace negotiations with the ELN guerrillas and for an end to the continued violence that has claimed the lives of dozens of human rights workers and community leaders over the past year. We pray for the safety of our colleagues and for the protection of all Colombians.

At times we all feel like voices crying out in the wilderness. Again this Advent season we long for the cleansing waters of baptism and for winding paths to be made straight. Help us to walk your paths with eager anticipation of the coming kingdom at each turn in the road, from Colombia to the United States and around the world. Amen.

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Pray with Kenya on Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lectionary Selection: Mark 1:1-8

Prayers for Kenya:

weekly_prayer_1.jpgGod of hope, you raised up John the Baptist as a herald who calls us to conversion. As we joyfully await the glorious coming of Christ, I pray to you for the needs of the Church and the nation of Kenya. We thank God for the peaceful ceremony of the inauguration of the President of Kenya. .  Show the people of Kenya how to love one another the way you love them. We resist against the spirit of division and ethnic factionalism in the land of Kenya. Guide your people in the way of your mercy, forgiveness and peace.  Hear our humble prayers and let the people of Kenya serve you in holiness and faithfulness. Lord, in this time of struggle give your people boldness to live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life, while we wait for the blessed hope, the glorious coming of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ who lives and reigns for ever and ever, Amen

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Pray with Hong Kong on Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hong_Kong_Bruce_Van_Voorhis_01.jpegLectionary Selection: Mark 13: 24-37

Prayers for Hong Kong:

On this first day of Advent, Lord, we are watching and waiting to celebrate your birth and your life among us. We are in much need for your presence and your teachings in our world today. We already feel like the days of tribulation in Mark 13:24 have arrived, that the sun and moon are already dark and lifeless, that the stars in Mark’s next verse have already tumbled from heaven. As we survey our world today, we are witnesses to wars in the Middle East, to divisiveness and intolerance in the United States and Europe and to corrupt leaders everywhere. In Asia, we sadly watch the persecution of the predominantly Muslim Rohingyas in Burma and violence in the name of faith in India, Indonesia and other parts of the region. As for here in Hong Kong, we feel nervous about our future, that our rule of law, our rights and freedoms, our political autonomy, are slowly eroding and are being defined by the Chinese government.

It is in this environment that we yearn for the leaves of the fig tree in Mark 13:28 to sprout and to feel the warmth of summer again. We thus wait, watch and welcome the return of the Master to our slumbering world. You are the Hope, the Love, the Joy, for which we are waiting. Amen.

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Pray with Sri Lanka on Sunday, November 26, 2017

sri_lanka_lindley_kinerk_01.jpegLectionary Selection: Matthew 25:31-46

Prayers for Sri Lanka:

Gracious God, we thank and praise you for the many ways you offer us to be your people – hands and feet, listening hearts and inventive minds - to bring your love and creative spirit of help and healing to your people. In a world that seems increasingly to find reasons to solve problems with threats and anger and violence, we cherish your gift of quiet hope of undoing our most complicated reasons to disagree.

We pray for your soothing touch in our hearts and heads when differences begin to define our relationships. Help us with your love and view of each of us, the possibilities of all of us, and your vision of a world of peace and appreciation, love and sharing for all.  Lead us to live as Jesus taught us to do. May we live for you, for each other, for all your people and all our possibilities. May all come together in your love to shape the world as home and hope for all. We offer our prayer in the name of Jesus, Messiah, teacher, bringer of good news. Amen

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Pray with Thailand on Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thailand_Anne_Gregory_Wattana_Church_outdoor_mourning_banners_-_King_Rama_IX.jpegLectionary Selection: Matthew 25:14-30

Prayers for Thailand:

We give thanks, O God, for the late king of Thailand, who practiced mercy and inspired the love and respect of millions, of every religion. In a day when so many use their power for abuse and corruption, we thank you for a true human example of kindness and compassion. And now, we pray for the gifts of wisdom and stability in a nation thrown into uncertainty in the present moment. Let us turn to you and to your mercy, we pray through Jesus Christ. Amen. 


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Pray with Lebanon on Sunday, November 12, 2017

Lebanon_Nishan_Bakalian_Childrens_summer_camp_IMG_1454.jpegLectionary Selection: Matthew 25:1-13

Prayers for Lebanon:

O God who calls us to be ready at all times to meet you, help us to be good stewards of the lives, resources and institutions you entrust to us, so that we would not be counted among the thoughtless, the haphazard, or the foolish.

Yet we indeed fool ourselves into thinking that we have everything under control, that we are clever enough to handle life’s twists and turns, that we deserve our personal pleasures and pastimes. We forget how crucial it is in these days to focus on what we must do, with your help, in order to be counted among the wise. Forgive us, dear Lord.

Lebanon_Nishan_Bakalian_Ashrafieh_Sunday_School_program_IMG_3263.jpegYou have entrusted your work to us, and although it seems as if our resources are running out, leaving us unable to continue being your witnesses and your joyful servants in this place, yet somehow you enable us to go on, even if only for a step or two.

Help us to trust you, filled with the joy of those at the wedding feast, knowing that your presence and your grace is sufficient to help us continue to joyfully minister to the least; in your precious name we pray. Amen.






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