Prayer: good things can grow

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

We thank you for the hope of new life. We see the natural world all around us bursting into life and it teaches us that good things can grow.

We see your life, how it was cut off in an attempt to erase you, and we see that you were not erased. We refuse to accept that the 13,000 children killed in Gaza since October are erased. We know that you know every single one of them, and love them. Their lives mattered, and they still matter.

We see the devastation of how you were tortured to death. How no revolution came, and the Roman empire continued to crush the people. How the religious authorities continued to condemn the people, dividing them into sinners and saints. And we see that despite appearances, their violence did not win. Love won.

We see the weaponised sexual violence in Sudan, horror in Palestine and Israel, devastation in Ukraine. We don’t see what’s happening in Yemen or Ethiopia or so many other places because we’ve forgotten or turned our faces away. We remind ourselves today that violence does not win. The story does not end with death. The story starts and ends with you, creating and loving us.

We pray for new hope, not just in our hearts, and not just here. We pray for new hope of peace in Israel and Palestine. For the “inevitable” slaughter to be stopped. We pray for a shared understanding that enough is enough. We pray for you to burst into life. We pray for good things to grow. Wherever this situation is discussed, we pray that love for our enemies will be on our lips.

For all the other violence in the world we pray the same. Rescue the survivors of sexual violence near and far. Make the awful things they have experienced not be the end. Our story starts and ends with you, creating and loving us.

When you were thrown away like your life was nothing, you refused. We refuse to throw people away. We take your perspective. When some people talk of people “poisoning the blood of our country”, we hear our siblings’ blood crying out from the soil.

Help us to see like this in our lives. We might be lonely, we might be considered a “sinner”, or be “damaged”. We might be sick. We might be far from home. We might be erased. Give us the love to see and to be friends with each other as we are.

I’ve just read a book by Julian of Norwich. She saw a vision of a little hazel nut-sized thing in the palm of her hand and understood that it was the whole universe. She asked how it could survive and was told that it lasts and it will last because God loves it.

God, if you really do hold our universe in this love, then, with you, we can face down evil. We ask you to change us. We ask to burst into new life, for good things to grow. We ask for the faith to say with Julian “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”


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