Lord, teach us how to pray, and help us to pray now.
We pray for the war in Ukraine. Please end the violence and allow people to return to their homes in safety, and soldiers to return home unharmed. We ask for a way out that all the leaders can accept, and makes a lasting peace. We ask for an end to this war, and the wars going on in Ethiopia, Yemen and Myanmar, and many other places.
We pray for the people living at the sharp end of the climate crisis like farmers in Kenya who are dealing with flooding, lost crops and food shortages. Please provide food and safety. Please help the human race to find a way to resist this disaster.
So much of what’s going on at the moment seems to be about whether you are rich or poor.
Those of us who are rich at this moment turn to you and acknowledge that our safety and comfort depend on you, not our privileges. We confront the lie that we have a right to be safer or more comfortable than someone else. We thank you for sustaining this world moment by moment and we acknowledge that every thing belongs to you. We ask you to teach us generosity. We know that we are not safe while our neighbours are not safe. We ask you to work with us to tear down systems that hurt and oppress our fellow-people, especially where those systems have made us rich for now at the expense of others.
Those of us who are poor at this moment turn to you and ask for safety and peace. Where we’re wondering what our options are, please give us a way through. Provide solutions and set-ups that allow us to live at peace with ourselves and others, not scrabbling month by month for a new bad answer. We confront the lie that our value as people is calculated by our bank balance. We ask you to give us grace to accept the help of our friends and fellow-citizens, acknowledging that next month our roles could be reversed. We too want to tear down unfair systems, but never tear down people, not even our enemies.
Those of us who are finding it easy to hear you at this moment, who can pray and feel comfort or challenge, and those who are walking with a decent level of confidence that we’re heading where you want us, we turn to you and thank you for your mercy. We confront the lie that we earned this. We know that we are not rich while our neighbours are poor. We ask you to teach us generosity and empathy. We ask you to help us find ways to share your peace and your guidance that nourish our fellow-travellers rather than our own egos. We know these times have seasons, and we thank you for this one, and for the rhythm of change.
Those of us who turn to you and hear nothing, feel nothing at this moment, refuse to walk away from you. We turn to you too and acknowledge your authority. Nothing has changed: no matter how empty some of the words sound, we still choose to act with love, and to wait for you. We confront the lie that our value as people is calculated by the strength of our belief. Sometimes we long for your voice or your touch, and sometimes we feel embarrassed at the naivety of that longing. Give us grace to accept the help of our friends and fellow-travellers, acknowledging that next month our roles could be reversed.
All things come from you, and of your own do we give you. Please guide our political leaders towards good decisions based on compassion and wisdom.