Prayer: we look to Jesus

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

We pray for the people of Sudan as the bombing and fighting in Khartoum and elsewhere continue. We pray that there will be a ceasefire, and an end to violence. We pray for peace and a stable civilian government. We look to Jesus to understand how to resist violence. He chose not to lead an armed revolution against the empire oppressing his people but to remain non-violent in the face of oppression, torture and death. It’s hard to wrestle with what that means in every situation, and we ask for your help to understand. Please help everyone in Sudan who is resisting violence and killing. Please help us to support them.

We pray for the people of Northern Ireland. We thank you for the Good Friday agreement, and the peace it has brought us. We pray that our leaders and communities can find a way forward for power sharing, so we can continue the road to peace and safety for everyone. We look to Jesus to show us how to forgive. He prayed for forgiveness for the people mocking him even while we was being tortured to death. Let us learn what it means to forgive, and to love our enemies.

We pray for the church around the world. We look to Jesus for our example of how to live, and we see him having dinner with people rejected by society because of their moral corruption. Help us learn from him what this means for us. As the church takes positions on what is right and wrong help us see clearly the power structures at work, and side with the the poor, captives, the blind and the oppressed. Make us a voice for people considered unacceptable, corrupt or beneath contempt. Every time we’re tempted to throw the first stone, remind us of our own mistakes as a church. Free us from a false sense of moral superiority, so we are ready to get our hands dirty living in true friendship with the oppressed.

We pray for ourselves. We look to Jesus and see his trust in you: teach us to call you Abba when we are desperate, and know your gentle love. We see in Jesus an excitement that heaven is here now: help us to understand that this really is good news, and to share that excitement around. When it feels like our lives are not successful or meaningful, help us to know your acceptance as your children right now, and to trust, like Jesus did, that your Spirit in us can take care of the plan for our lives while we get on with acting with love to our fellow-people.

We pray for everyone among us who is unwell, and for all of us who are grieving for people we have lost. We pray for our world as it cries out in sickness because of the damage we are doing to it. We ask for a rescue, knowing that Jesus is with us, and rescuing is what he does, and we take hope from that.

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