Monday, 13 March 2017

Praying for peace in the midst of pain

Prayers of Intercession inspired by Lamentations 2
2017 03 12

Loving God whose embrace enfolds all pain, suffering, loss, and grief; we come to you today with hearts heavy at the state of the world. From the local and personalised traumas of our own lives and those whom we love, to the national and international scandals of inequality, injustice, and political violence. From terrorism to ‘just warfare’, we assert that whenever one human takes physical action against another, we are very far from your kingdom of justice and peace.

So forgive us when we cry ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace. Forgive us when we turn away, turn off, and ignore the suffering of others whether it is on our own doorstep, in our own community, or on the other side of the world. Give us a renewed commitment to the humanity we hold in common with others, and a renewed insight into the darkness that lurks in our own souls also. May we never be complacent enough to think that it could never happen here, that it could never happen to me, that I could never do that to another.

Rather, may we be ever alert to the evil that prowls our world seeking agency to act, whispering lies into human hearts, and setting one against another. May sin be exposed to the light of truth, not painted over or hidden from view.

So we pray now for our city: the beautiful, joyful, prosperous, compelling city of London. We express before you our love for and commitment to this diverse conglomeration of humanity, and because of this we turn our thoughts to those who suffer in our midst. We pray for those who do not have enough money to make ends meet – those on benefits or working multiple low-paid jobs. We think of those who have to choose between heating and food, because they cannot afford both; and of those who are indebted to lenders who threaten and extort to get their interest. We pray for those who cannot afford housing, and who live in overcrowded conditions, or in hostels, or on the streets; and we pray for those who have come here as refugees, seeking a new life in a strange new city and finding that it is neither easy nor straightforward to do so. And so we commit to you the efforts of those who are seeking to make this city a better place, and we think particularly of those schools, universities, synagogues, mosques, and churches which make up the London Citizens movement. May we, together, be able to achieve what none of us could do on our own.

But we also lift our prayers beyond the horizon of our own city, and we pray for countries torn apart by war and decimated by oppression. We think of Syria, Iran, Palestine, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria. We hear the words of the United Nations Humanitarian Chief, that ‘we stand at a critical point in history’, and we commit ourselves and our resources to the service of your kingdom of justice and peace. We pray for all those seeking a resolution to war, and alleviation of famine.

And in all this, as with so much else that is on our hearts, we ask for your peace, courage, and love. May peace prevail, may we have courage to act, and in all things may love triumph. In the name of Jesus Christ, who endured the cross for the sake of the whole world. Amen.

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