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Lectionary Selection: Mark 9: 38-50
Prayers for Zambia:
Lord of all,
In your great mercy, forgive us our many failures. Some of us enjoy such bounty - comfort, leisure, wealth, education and more - but we neglect to look, see and assist those ‘little ones’ who struggle in want, perched precariously on the precipice of despair.
Bless your servants in Zambia and in the United Church of Zambia.
Bless our farmers waiting through the dry season for the rains so they can plant crops to feed themselves and hungry children.
Bless our poor who scarcely find enough work to support their families, obtain medical care, or pay school fees.
Bless our churches, clinics, and educational institutions, especially the UCZ University, where hardworking students scrape together their tuition fees so they can learn skills needed for healthcare, education, social work, agriculture, and for ministry in your church.
Bless our teachers, administrators, and staff who make do with meager resources yet produce competent and morally excellent professionals.
Bless Zambia’s leaders in government, education and commerce so that they may be inspired to eradicate corruption and serve people honestly, with humility and enthusiasm.
Have mercy on us who are sometimes blind, even with two eyes, who are lame, even with two feet and who are ineffective, even with two hands.
Thank you for showing us the right way. Lead us ahead, we ask, in Jesus’ blessed name.
Lectionary Selection: Mark 9:30-37
Prayers for East Timor:
Gracious God, you have taught us. You have shown us. You have been among us. And yet it seems we have learned little. Children are still marginalized and victimized. They are the targets of traffickers. They are exploited in pornography. They are enslaved. They are malnourished and lack opportunities for education. We know that there are reasons for this O God. We have made choices that do not prioritize children. We have not welcomed them.
And so we pray: Bless, O God, the children of the world. Bless those who live in the slums. Bless those who live in war zones and refugee camps. Bless those who live in rural areas, laboring long hours to survive. Bless those who are victims of traffickers and those who live in captivity. Bless those in the suburbs and those in the neighborhoods. And bless us big people that we will get our priorities straight and invest our time, energy and resources in children. In the name of the one who welcomes children, we pray, Amen.
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Lectionary Selection: Mark 8:27-38
Prayers for Morocco:
Precious, Loving, and Caring God, we are here before you with our hearts filled with gratitude, for you are our Everything! We bless your Holy Name, our Mighty Savior and our Omnipresent Help in times of need. We are grateful for your gentle hands that are always offering to touch, heal and guide us on our paths!
Thank You Lord for being this Present Help to the Evangelical Church of Morocco, deciding daily to stand for those in trouble!
We pray that, as you are our Messiah and Savior, the one who saved us from ourselves, may you also be the Messiah for all the migrants who are seeking help, seeking a better future for their families and themselves! As they are walking with their hands held high, crying for a Savior, someone to relieve them from their burdens, we pray that you show up in their lives, through us, to rescue them from their pain and sorrow.
We pray for all the ministers of the Church who have decided to take their cross and sacrifice their own comfort so that their sisters and brothers could get closer to their own “Canaan.” May your overwhelming peace and love fill their hearts till they overflow on the lives they are serving! Give them the strength and courage to go on. Lord, when they feel fragile and frail, please show yourself strong in their weaknesses!
For we know that after the cross, resurrection and restoration surely come!
In Jesus name. Amen!
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Lectionary Selection: Mark 7 :24-37
Prayers for Japan:
Life giving God, we pray for your healing grace for people in Japan, where severe heat, torrential rains and landslides have taken precious lives and left people in despair.
For those who have lost loved ones, we ask for your comfort.
For those who have lost their homes and means of livelihood, we ask for your guidance. May they be given the assistance needed to restore their lives.
We pray also for the people in Fukushima, who suffer from health problems caused by the nuclear disaster and are still anxious about their future.
May the leaders of Japan make wise policy choices that are safe for the environment and future generations.
We pray for the people of Okinawa, who mourn the passing of Governor Onaga, a tireless leader standing up against the Japanese government in the pursuit of peace and justice for the people of those islands. We ask for your blessings on the upcoming elections and on the continued work for peace.
We pray for the Bazaar Café Ministry in Kyoto. May it continue to be a healing community grounded in your love.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who brought healing to those he touched, and continues to be our inspiration for healing and peace.
Lectionary Selection: Mark 7 :1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Prayers for Nicaragua:
Our God full of love, grace and mercy we thank You. Not only did You create humanity but You also prepared a place for us to live in harmony so that we can usher in the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. You formed us magnificently with eyes to see in our own way the evidence of your presence with us; ears to hear your voice of guidance; a mouth to share the Good News of Jesus and a way to transport—by feet, cane, walker or wheel chair, the Good News to others. In that we are not presently living harmoniously, Lord we pray for courage to see, hear, speak and stand for justice—when it is challenged, peace—-in the midst of violence and equality—-for all creation when it is violated. We pray for the parents whose sons and daughters were murdered as they took a stand for justice. We pray for spiritual transformation on the inside of our government leaders. We pray for strength to stay steadfast on the journey. We pray that our country will soon live in harmony. We pray that The Kingdom of God on earth will prevail. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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Lectionary Selection: John 6:56-69
Prayers for Lebanon:
We come to you, O living Father, the supplier of the bread that feeds and leads to eternal life, asking you once again to help us seek that which is true nourishment. We live in a place where the few enrich themselves with the bread of pride and the spirit of greed. And the many, the Lebanese people, simply want to live in a land of justice, respect and a hopeful future for their children, but are instead given the bread of bitterness and discouragement. Will these things around us ever change, O Lord? Will our hearts ever change? Will we, all of us, ever desire to live by your Spirit, and not according to our appetites and opinions?
Help us to see that we have no one on earth but you, and no one we desire in heaven besides you. Help us to hear the words of life and to follow them above all else. We ask the same for this struggling country; from its politicians to its wealthy to its struggling families to its refugees, all the way to those among us who seek to harm and control others.
Humble our hearts to seek your ways, not to wander off into meaningless journeys, but to walk with you now and into eternity. Amen.
Lectionary Selection: John 6:51-58
Prayers for Venezuela:
Oh, God our creator and giver of life, we pray for the people and the churches of Venezuela. They are passing through critical times. As they face a serious economic, social, and political situation, we call upon your mercy and kindness to provide a vision of peace and justice, to create a national consensus, and to construct a real process of reconciliation.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, your son, incarnated in our history, as a giver of life. Amen.
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Lectionary Selection: John 6:35, 41-51
Prayers for Israel/Palestine:
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
The incarnate word of God is bread, bread that is harvested and baked by human hands. We participate in the life of Christ not only at the communion table but when we become the bread of life for others, when we stand up for those who are lacking the most essential goods and services to live.
In mid July, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom Crossing, the communal crossing that allows goods in and out of the besieged Gaza Strip. The closure has led to a shortage of cooking gas and fuel leading to a crisis for essential services like sewage and waste management to medical care. Blocked medical supplies and equipment has put many lives in danger. No clean water to drink and a polluted sea has made many more dangerously ill. At present nearly two million Palestinian residents of Gaza, over half of whom are children, receive electricity for no more than four hours each day. Things were are so bad that the patients at the Gaza City Hospital staged a sit in to raise awareness of these shortages facing medical facilities as the result of the 11 year old blockade and sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority.
The Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and the YWCA of Palestine, two of Global Ministries partners, supported the Great March of Return that began in mid May calling the world’s attention to the dire situation of Gazan refugees who asserted with dignity their right to return to their homes just across the fence, and to live in freedom. The YWCA asks that you stand with them now as they demand that Israel rescind these severe restrictions and the Palestinian Authority its collective punishment against the Gazan people.
If Jesus is indeed the bread of life and we partake in that life then we too must do all we can to stand against all policies or actions that deny life for others. We, who believe in the resurrection, must stand for life. We must become bread for others to live.
A Communion Liturgy for this special day
God of hope
open the doors of heaven
and rain down manna.
Feed us with your Son
whose life was broken open for us
God of hope
in such dark times as these
give us enough
love and outrage
to put out the fires
of hatred and injustice around us
give us enough
to fill our baskets with food for all
even left overs.
Jesus, we come to this table
broken and beautiful
just as we are----
young and older.
We come to drink from the cup of blessing
to eat from the bread of life.
Spirit of the living God
bless this bread
so that it may nourish us
to be your hands and feet.
Bless this wine
so that it may fill us
with your compassion.
Words of Institution
The table is set.
All is prepared.
Come as you are.
All are welcome to the banquet of life.
God of today and tomorrow
we live between memory and hope
for your kin-dom come
on earth as it is in heaven.
We go forth now
full and ready
to do your work
in faith and love.
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Lectionary Selection: John 6:24-35
Prayers for Kenya:
Father, in the Mighty name of Jesus I thank You. I thank You because all power belongs to You. I thank You because You always answer our prayers. I ask for forgiveness on behalf of our land and nation, Kenya. Forgive us, for we have not walked in your ways. Remember your people, Lord, those tossed about, oppressed, and trampled upon by political situations, hunger, and thirst. O Lord, remember mercy and heal this land.
Dear God, guide the country of Kenya; may the people and the leaders place all their faith, hope, trust, and love in you to nurture the ideals of equality and brotherhood, to provide the opportunities of life for all, to value and protect the rights of individuals, to build up a sturdy and industrious generation, to grant justice to all regardless of caste or creed, to be strong in battle for the right, magnanimous in victory, and honorable in the establishment of a just and charitable peace, and to follow after righteousness and godliness that alone exalts a nation.
I decree peace, prosperity, and blessing to this land. Let peace be upon Nairobi, let peace be upon the four corners of this great land. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen
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Lectionary Selection: John 6:1-21
Prayers for Mexico:
God Father and Mother,
Thank you for your word that comforts us and encourages us in the middle of the road. Through Jesus Christ, your incarnate word, that identified with our realities and announces the arrival of your kingdom of justice, peace, and truth.
Strengthen us in the presence of your Holy Spirit, divine breath that brings us health and well-being in the midst of pain and suffering. Let your light shine on our footsteps and your warmth light up our love.
We implore your piety, oh good Lord, for those who suffer because of illness, hunger and injustice. May your ears be inclined to the cry of the oppressed, may your eyes see the pain of those who suffer and hurry, oh good Lord, your salvation.
Hug us with your love and bless us in your mercy. The example of Jesus and the strength of your Spirit sustain our witness and service in the midst of your people. Thank you for giving us the privilege of humbly announcing the good news of the arrival of your kingdom. Amen.