Lord, teach us how to pray, and help us to pray now.
The prayers today will be interspersed with readings from Lamentations 3.
Streams of tears flow from my eyes
because my people are destroyed.
My eyes will flow unceasingly,
until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
Lord, our enemies are gathered against us:
- injustice rules our kingdom: the statistics in every area of life show that racial prejudice stacks the odds against some people and towards others.
- we oppress the peoples of the world: we exploit low-paid and unsafe labour to make our food and goods.
- the extinction of our species crouches at the door: many people think it’s already too late to prevent the destruction of a habitat capable of supporting human life.
To crush underfoot
all prisoners in the land,
to deny people their rights
before the Most High,
to deprive them of justice—
would not the Lord see such things?
We are sorry for our collective stupidity:
- “I don’t see colour”
- “I’m not rich: just able to get by”
- “My contribution to the climate crisis can’t make a difference”
You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
you have slain without pity.
You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.
You have made us scum and refuse
among the nations.
We are sorry for our deliberate blindness.
- “I can’t give up my career for some kind of political correctness”
- “If wages were fairer would I have less?”
- “I’m just too busy to think about the environment all the time”
He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, “My splendour is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”
We are sorry for our self-centredness and individualism.
- Thinking if I’m not racist there can’t be a problem.
- Thinking that I don’t oppress people so it’s not my responsibility.
- Thinking the solution is me doing some recycling and refusing to think about the whole system.
We have refused to acknowledge our collective destiny and our need to act together.
I called on your name, Lord,
from the depths of the pit.
You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief.”
You came near when I called you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”
We pray for racial justice.
We pray for wealth justice.
We pray for climate rescue.
We pray that you will save us from a destruction that we are bringing on ourselves.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”