Prayer: not joining the pile-ons

Lord, you are good. We resist any lie that tells us otherwise, or that tells us there is no way back to you. And because you are good, we are able to bring these prayers to you.

We pray for the survivors of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey. Please comfort everyone who is grieving and heal those who are injured. We pray for more help, in Northern Syria especially, and ask that the help that is available would be able to get through borders and be effective. We pray for justice over poor building construction, and for safer buildings to be built everywhere that is at risk. We pray for the Disasters Emergency Committee as they provide shelter and food – please help them get to where they need to, and give them the money and resources they need.

We ask for an end to the wars that are destroying so many lives. We pray for Ethiopia. We ask that the deal signed in November would lead to a fair and lasting peace. We ask that the Eritrean forces would withdraw, and that the Tigrayan people would be safe and free. We pray for justice, truth and reconciliation over the atrocities committed during the war. It’s impossible to imagine the grieving process for half a million people. We ask for your help, for healing.
We pray for an end to the war in Syria, which led to so much avoidable tragedy after the earthquake, and we continue to pray for peace in Ukraine. We don’t have any answers: we are just asking you for help.

Please help the Scottish National Party as it chooses a new leader. We thank you for Nicola Sturgeon’s service, and we pray for all of politics in the UK: please bring leaders with integrity and vision to help us deal with the huge challenges of our time: global inequality and climate emergency, medical and social care, borders and trade especially in Northern Ireland, and so many others.

Lord, help us to learn from Jesus how to live out morality: standing next to those considered beneath contempt by the respectable people, and asking who is without sin. Give us courage to resist the pile-ons of social media and newspapers, refusing to throw stones with the crowd. Give us compassion for the sinner, knowing we’re all in the same boat.

We want to learn how to be like you, but so often in the church a sense of setting ourselves apart has become distorted into bullying and rejection of others. Help us to welcome and love everyone, especially those who don’t fit our sense of proper behaviour. Give us the humility to learn with and from those people, never imposing a blinkered formula for right living, but listening to their story.

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