Prayer: your manifesto

Lord, teach us how to pray, and help us to pray now.

We pray for Sri Lanka. With food and fuel prices unaffordable and rising, and shortages of medicine, people are angry and afraid. We ask for relief for ordinary people who need to travel to work, and need food and medicine. We pray for peace and safety for everyone. We ask that the protests would avoid violence, and that they would not be met with violence from the authorities.

We pray for the vote on Wednesday to choose a president, and we ask that whoever wins that vote will be able to organise fair elections that put leaders in place who are acceptable to the people and able to bring economic stability. We pray for good decisions by Sri Lankan leaders now and after those elections, and we pray for decision-makers in the IMF and the rich countries: make them able and willing to free the country from crippling debt in, a sustainable way.

Here, we pray for the Conservative party as its MPs and members choose our country’s prime minister. We pray that our next leader will take up your manifesto:

“Bringing good news to the poor” – real life good news for those who are deciding right now whether to spend what’s left of this week’s money at the supermarket or on the electicity meter.

“Proclaiming liberty to the captives” – working for peace and safety in Ukraine, in Northern Ireland, in Palestine and Israel, in Syria, in so many other places, freeing those who are imprisoned by enemies and by insecurity; prioritising helping people who are running to us away from war and violence.

“Bringing sight to the blind” – discarding the dishonesty and the bubbles of political journalism, being truthful about the difficult decisions they make whether it’s about taxes, or COVID, or the energy crisis; sparking constructive debate instead of bullying and corrupt influence: on climate, on gender, on the next culture war.

“Setting free the oppressed” – we are excited to see a group of people standing for leadership many of whose race or gender might have been a barrier not long ago. We pray for a leader who stands up for the marginalised, who stands beside the powerless, even those despised by respectable religious folks, as Jesus did time after time.

“Announcing the time when the Lord will save his people” – dare we ask for a leader who has answers for the climate crisis? We know we need saving, and this is too big for any leader to overcome. We pray for your help, and we ask for a leader who is in tune with what you are doing.

We ask for a good leader: with integrity, vision and compassion beyond what many of us, in all honesty, expect or even hope for.

We pray for ourselves. Many of us feel uncertain: maybe about the future, about how to escape loneliness, maybe about who you really are or whether you are there, maybe about illness or how to live with grief. We don’t know what to expect from life or from you, but we choose to believe that you are love, and that you are with us.

If you are love, and you are with us, then take us by the hand. We need to know you accept us as we are, and you continue to accept us even as we change into different people day by day. You walk with us.

We need the courage you can give us. Help us take up your manifesto, just as we prayed for our next prime minister. Give us integrity, vision and compassion beyond what many of us, in all honesty, expect or even hope for.

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