Prayers for the people

19 November 2007

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 28 October, 2007

Bruce Van Voorhis

We pray this morning, Lord, for the world’s leaders. We especially pray for those who are corrupt, consumed by greed and who lust for power, those leaders who seek to serve themselves instead of their people. We pray that they will come to be touched by your love, your compassion, your justice—a transformation that will lead to new policies.

We particularly remember this morning, Lord, the victims and their families of the recent bombings at the shopping mall in the Philippines and the political rally in Pakistan. We lift up to you too the people of Burma whose recent struggles for freedom from oppression, poverty and hunger have been crushed for the moment. We continue to remember as well the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and their daily encounters with death and destruction. May these peoples soon be liberated, Lord, from the violence that surrounds them, may the inhumanity of the past and present be soon replaced with respect for life, a reverence for peace and an awe for justice.

We give thanks today, Lord, for the abundance of food, resources and wealth with which you have blessed our world. We ask why though are so many people hungry and poor in the midst of such wealth? We thus pray for your wisdom to guide us to more equally distribute what you have provided for us. Teach us again, Lord, the joy of sharing and how it creates and nurtures relationships and gives meaning to life.

We thank you too, Lord, for the magnificent beauty of the Garden you have given us to till and enjoy. We confess though that in developing the world we are destroying it. We pray not just for technological solutions to address the air and water pollution and global warming that are afflicting our planet, but we also pray for the time to stop and reflect on our values and what is precious to us.

With others around the world, we pray for our sisters and brothers in the Indian Ocean nations of Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Comoros and Maldives as they face similar political, economic and environmental issues as well as others. We remember with particular concern the people of the Maldives as they wrestle with the aftermath of the recent bomb attack and pray for the tourists who were injured and their families.

Many of these problems, Lord, are not out there somewhere but are here too in Hong Kong. We thus lift up today the poor in our midst, especially those whose hardships have become greater with the large increase in food prices in the past few months. We also remember the elderly members in our society who do not receive the respect and support they need and deserve. We also pray for the passage of a minimum wage so that Hong Kong’s wealth can be more equally shared. We ask that candidates in next month’s district council election will hear their voices and respond to their needs, that successful candidates will seek to serve the people and not merely score points on an imaginary political scoreboard.

Lastly, we pray for our church community at KUC. We give thanks that Benjamin Bondoc has been discharged from the hospital and ask for you to be with our longtime friend and member Tan Chi Kiong and his wife. We also ask, Lord, that you be with our church family and guide us as we deliberate next month on our budget for next year and as we begin to think about our mission and other plans for 2008.

Let us now take a moment of silence to share our joys and anxieties with our Creator (silence). Amen.

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bruce Van Voorhis

This morning, Lord, we bring before you the troubles of the world and our own concerns.

We lift up to you our planet whose air and water we have mindlessly polluted, whose climate we have relentlessly altered, all for money and for what we call development and progress. We ask for your wisdom, Lord, so that we may be better stewards of our small part of the globe in Hong Kong and southern China. Guide us to live a more healthy way of life in which we no longer poison the air, water and ourselves.

We lift up to you China’s flood victims. We pray for your comforting hand to touch those who have been affected by weeks of deep and raging water, those who have lost their loved ones, their homes, their livelihood. We ask for your wisdom, Lord, so that we may be even better prepared for these calamities in the future. Guide us to respond with love and compassion to those who have lost so much.

We lift up to you the people of Iraq and Afghanistan whose daily experience of death and destruction continues. We pray that the same violence and disintegration of society will not afflict Pakistan. We ask for your wisdom, Lord, so that we may live together in peace. Guide us to follow the path of love, compassion, justice and peace that all religions proclaim in order to tear down the walls of misunderstanding and hate that are being erected.

We lift up to you the anti-terrorism law in the Philippines that takes effect today. We pray that this new law will not be used as a legal weapon in a country that has witnessed hundreds of unsolved extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the past few years. We ask for your wisdom, Lord, so that we may use our laws to promote justice and not injustice. Guide us to abandon our desire for power to dominate others and instead lead us to embrace the power to serve others.

We lift up to you families who are living with violence among themselves. We especially pray for the woman in Hong Kong who recently lost her daughter and husband to violence. We ask for your wisdom, Lord, so that we may better resolve the tensions of our lives and create homes that are places of love and rest. Guide us to find non-violent ways to express ourselves and resolve our conflicts and frustrations.

We lift up to you Hong Kong’s aspirations for democracy. We pray that the consultation document released by the Hong Kong government this past week will result in a model of governance that permits the equal participation of each person in Hong Kong to elect all of the city’s political leaders. We ask for your wisdom, Lord, so that we may create a political system that reflects the values of love, compassion justice and tolerance for others that you have taught us. Guide us to participate in this process in a manner that sets aside our self-interests and works for the common interests of our community.

We lift up to you the people and churches of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama today as part of the global ecumenical prayer cycle. We ask for your wisdom for them, Lord, so that they may respond with sensitivity to the issues that confront their societies. Guide them to know that anything is possible when you are part of the process of finding a solution.

We lift up to you the concerns and joys of our church family at Kowloon Union. We pray for those coping with illnesses—Abraham, Kingphet and the Leung, Yau and Davidson families. We remember Louise Scott and her family in Australia as she teaches us how to live in the face of her uncertain future with cancer. We give thanks for our senior members, Carl Smith and Helen Tan, and we pray for a safe and refreshing trip for our pastor and his wife as they leave for the United States today to be with their daughter. We ask for your wisdom, Lord, so that we may be faithful witnesses of your love in the world. Guide us to be the disciples that you call and challenge us to be.

We lift up to you now our own concerns and joys. (silence) We ask for your wisdom, Lord, so that we may resolve and overcome the issues that we find difficult. Guide us to find a place of peace in our lives.

We lift up our prayers to you, Lord, in your Son’s name. Amen.

Prayer of Intercession
Father’s Day, 17 June, 2007

Bruce Van Voorhis

Lord, we look outside the walls of our church this morning, and we see a world where there is too much violence and war, hatred and discrimination, a world where it is difficult to find you. From the headlines of our newspapers, it is apparent that we have abandoned you, that we have neglected to make you the center of our lives. Thus, our prayer this morning, Lord, is about restoring the relationship that links us, that connects us to you and to each other and to the natural world that nourishes us. Bless us with quiet time and quiet space, Lord, in this hectic place called Hong Kong to discern who we are, our place in the world and the meaning of our life. In these quiet moments, Lord, guide us to you in us. Help us to set aside our egos and the voice that wants to be in control. Grant us the wisdom, Lord, to know that peace in our world begins with us but does not end with us. Give us the courage and strength, Lord, to step outside ourselves and move the world with our smile, with our touch, with our love, with our compassion. We stand before you, Lord, ready to be a candle in a darkened world.

We especially pray for peace this morning, Lord, in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Darfur. We pray that political issues will be solved through political processes, not military might. In our part of the world in Asia, we pray for an end to violence in southern Thailand and an end to extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the Philippines that have taken hundreds of lives. We remember in our prayers the anguish of those working in China’s brick kilns in slave-like conditions, including children, and ask for the restoration of their freedom and dignity. We pray too for those who are suffering from flooding in China, those who have lost their loved ones, their homes and do not know what their future will hold. Give them food, warmth and peace of mind, Lord.

We also lift up in prayer today as part of the ecumenical prayer cycle our sisters and brothers in Brazil. Walk with them, Lord, as they confront poverty, corruption and environmental degradation.

On this Father’s Day, we give thanks for the gift of our fathers in our lives. We especially give thanks for the many ways they have nourished us. Bless our fathers, Lord, with wisdom so that they can continue to guide their children and future generations and to instill in them the values that are needed to make this a more loving, compassionate and just world.

Lord, as we look inside the walls of our church, we remember our present and past members who are dear to us. We give thanks for the life of Donald Hutabarat, his warm smile and his gift of music that he enthusiastically shared with us. We remember his grieving family and ask for your comforting hand to console them. We pray too for Louise Scott as she faces cancer again in the hospital. Bless her and her family with strength, Lord, as they deal with this disease a second time. We also pray for those nearby and far away in the KUC family who are recovering from an illness or injury—Kingphet and the Leung, Yau and Davidson families. We also give thanks for our senior members, Carl Smith and Helen Tan, and the joy and wisdom they have given us for so many years.

We conclude our prayer this morning, Lord, by praying for the lives of the asylum-seekers and refugees in our midst and around the world as we approach World Refugee Day this week. We ask that the days, months and years of uncertainty will soon be replaced with a new future for which they have prayed for so long. May the endless patience they have had to find within themselves become joy. We especially pray for our brother Roy in detention. We ask that he will soon enjoy his freedom and be with us once again with his huge smile.

Let us now take a moment to pray silently or aloud what is in our hearts and minds. (silence) We lift up our prayers to you, Lord, in your Son’s name. Amen.

Prayer of Intercession
Easter, 8 April, 2007
Bruce Van Voorhis

We come before you today, Lord, full of joy and praise for you on this Easter morning. We give thanks for the blessing of new life that you have given each of us through the gift of your Son’s resurrection. We cannot understand the mystery of your ways nor comprehend your love, but we treasure the spiritual nourishment that you offer us.

As much as we cherish the new life you give us, we cannot fully enjoy this gift, however, as we witness the suffering of far too many of our sisters and brothers—those whose dignity is denied by poverty, those who pray to escape the violence of war, those whose rights are abused by exploitation, those who are dehumanized by discrimination. While you have sacrificed your only Son for us, we are busy denying that others are God’s children too. We pray, Lord, for an end to the violence and injustices that our brothers and sisters face daily. We pray for just an ounce of your love that the insanity that occurs in our societies every day can cease.

The Resurrection has shown us that the power of love can overcome death, that the power of love can resolve the contradictions of this world. Let it be an example to us, Lord, that love is much more useful to solving our problems today than military might, for the perception of military victory only plants the seeds of hatred and revenge that lead to a future orgy of death and violence.

It is appropriate that on this Easter morning we join other members of the world’s ecumenical family in praying for the children of God in East Timor, Indonesia and the Philippines—lands that have suffered for many, many years from the misuse of misguided power. We pray for peace in their lives, for food in their stomachs. May their days of suffering and violence be behind them.

At Kowloon Union Church, we give thanks once again on this Easter morning for the many blessings you have given us. We continue to pray for our senior members Carl Smith and Helen Tan and for the recovery of Alex Smith, Hannah Tang and members of the Leung, Yau, Wah and Davidson families from their illnesses and injuries. Let us take a moment now to pray in silence or aloud for the joys and struggles in our own lives and for those in the lives of our loved ones. (silence)

As we end our Easter prayer, Lord, we ask that you will continue to guide us with your wisdom and love that we may be more faithful witnesses in your world. May the love of this Resurrection morning touch the lives of everyone. May the new life that we celebrate today be the foundation for a new world. Amen.

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 11 February, 2007

Bruce Van Voorhis

In our prayers to you today, Lord, we pray for healing—healing for our broken world, healing for our polluted environment, healing for our disoriented selves. We also pray today for healing for members of our church community—for the renewed health of the mothers of Peter Leung and Calli Yau, for Yuk-sum Davidson and John Hilton and for Doris and Kristina who have recently lost loved ones. Restore the health of those with illnesses, Lord, and grant comfort to those who miss their family members.

As we survey the world, Lord, too many of our sisters and brothers live every day in fear and with violence. We have sought to resolve our political and economic differences with military might. We have justified violence with religion. We have abused power in the name of freedom, human rights and democracy. Bring clarity and peace, Lord, to the confusion and violence we have embraced so that those who suffer in Darfur, Iraq and Afghanistan, Palestine and Israel, and other lands may enjoy a new experience of life without daily encounters of killing and death.

As we assess the environment, Lord, your Creation is daily desecrated and defiled with toxic substances that pollute the air we breath and the water that you have provided us to drink. We know that our attempts at progress and development have already begun to alter our climate, resulting in rising sea levels, drought and other extreme weather patterns that threaten our sisters and brothers in coastal areas and affect our supply of water now and in the future. We especially pray today for the flood victims in Jakarta. Bless us with wisdom, Lord, that we may know how to improve our lives without destroying them.

As we examine ourselves and our society, Lord, consumption is consuming us. We have sought joy in things rather than in you. Guide us, Lord, away from the worship of the distractions of our modern world and recenter our hearts and minds on you and your message. May we reflect on our faith and recommit ourselves to you on this Stewardship Sunday.

Through the ecumenical prayer cycle, we join others around the world to remember our fellow churches in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. May they be blessed with your love, compassion and wisdom to respond to the needs of their societies.

We pause now to pray silently or aloud for those concerns and family and friends who are close to us.

We conclude our prayer today with the prayer your Son taught us, saying . . .

08 November 2007

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 12 November, 2006

John Strong

O God, creator of heaven and earth; O Christ, redeemer of the world; O Holy Spirit, advocate and guide, Have mercy on us, and receive our prayers.

We pray for the church.

Govern and direct your holy church; fill it with love and truth;
and grant it that unity which is your will.

Bless and keep your people, that all may find and follow their true vocation and ministry.

Raise up those who fall; encourage the fainthearted; strengthen those who stand firm in the faith.

We pray for leaders, governments and countries in the world.

Rule the hearts of your servants, those in authority, that they may do justice, and love mercy, and walk in the ways of your truth.

We pray for peace in the world, especially this day, which is Remembrance Sunday, when we commemorate the anniversary of when hostilities in the First World War officially ended at the signing of the Armistice in 1918, and we remember those who lost their lives in war.

We know now all too well that it was not the "war to end all wars."

We will take a few moments of silence to lift up all families who are grieving the loss of a loved one from times of war.

- silent prayer -

Eternal God,
Empower those who strive toward peace.
In your perfect realm no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness,
and there is no strength but the strength of love.
And so we pray for you to mightily spread abroad your Spirit,
that all peoples may be gathered
under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as your children;
to you be dominion and glory, now and forever.
Hear us, good Lord, and
enlighten with your Spirit all who teach and all who learn.

Strengthen and preserve all women who are in childbirth,
and all young children,
and comfort the aged. [We remember our own John Sung and Carl Smith.]

Defend and provide for the widowed and the orphaned,
the refugees and the homeless,
the unemployed,
and all who are desolate and oppressed.

Heal those who are sick in body or mind, and give skill and compassion to all who care for them. [We particularly remember Peter Leung's mother, recovering in the hospital.]

[We lift up those of our own KUC family who are grieving the loss of family members: Kinfe, whose mother and uncle have suddenly become ill and passed away; Roy, who has recently lost his younger sister; and the Bautista family, who mourn the death of Kumiko (sister-in-law).]

We will use another moment of silence to lift up individuals who are in need, either in the silence of our hearts, or by calling their names aloud to offer them into your loving care and guidance.

- silent prayer - [The Davidson family...]

Almighty God, you have promised through your beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his name
you will be in the midst of them.
Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us.

Grant us, in this world, knowledge of truth,
and in the age to come, life everlasting. Amen.

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 5 November, 2006

Adam Gardner-Rush

Dear Lord

As we feel the weather cooling, we remember that you are the creator of the seasons. We give you thanks that you constantly renew your world, bringing freshness and new life. We thank you that your love for us is like the seasons, constant and yet ever-changing.

Help us to see your love for all things, and may we in our daily lives have the grace and strength to share this love with those around us.

We pray for our world, acknowledging that we have not cared for it in the way you had intended. Grant us wisdom and courage to be good stewards of the earth and your creation.

We acknowledge too that we live in a world where violence destroys the lives of individuals and whole communities. We pray for strength and patience for the peacemakers in our world, especially those in Iraq, Sudan, the Korean Peninsula, and other tense and war-ravaged lands.

We remember also today the people of the Burundi, Rwanda and Congo. We ask that you give strength to those seeking to heal the wounds of genocide in Rwanda and the seeking to end ongoing conflict in Congo and the Great Lakes region of Africa.

We thank you that we are privileged to live and a place that is generally peaceful. We are mindful though that for some in Hong Kong violence is a daily reality. We pray especially today for people who are victims of domestic violence. Give them understanding and power to know how to overcome their situation. We pray also for those in the community, in government and in the churches who work with victims of domestic violence. Give them empathy and strength in their work.

We thank you for this church, and the commitment and faithfulness of the many people who serve you in different ways here. We thank you especially for the work of our new pastor Kwok Nai Wang and ask that you will continue to work through him in this church and this community.

We pray also for ourselves, and those close to us, asking for your special blessings on those who we name now loud, or in the silence of our heart.

And now we join to pray in our languages the prayer which Jesus taught to his followers.

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 29 October, 2006

Max Ediger

Loving Creator, we come to You this morning with our words of thanks and petition, knowing that You have promised to hear us and to answer our prayers in the way You know is best for us.

We give thanks for this church and all those who serve it and participate in it. We pray that we will be more than just Sunday Christians, but that we take the message and challenges we receive here each week out into the community and into our work and participation in society.

We thank You for the message we have heard this morning and for the one who brought it.

We pray for those of our church who are traveling. Be with them in their journeys. We give thanks for those of our friends who have returned from their journeys and we welcome them back among us and look forward to their sharing. We pray also for those who are visiting in our church this morning. May they experience Your love in this fellowship and find the energy they need to continue on their own journeys.

We pray, with a heavy heart, this morning for our world which is in such turmoil and conflict. May the leaders who have authority and power turn to You for guidance rather than believe in their own wisdom and strength to calm the seas and conquer the enemy. May all people in leadership learn to rely on dialogue rather than saber rattling to settle the tensions that are tearing us all apart.

We pray for those in our fellowship who are living in exile here in Hong Kong. They are far from their homes, their families and their friends and live in constant fear. Grant them a calmness of heart and a feeling of Your presence and peace. We especially pray for those who have lost loved ones back in their home countries. It is most difficult for them during this time as they can not go home to be with family and grieve with them. May they feel Your presence and our support and caring.

We pray for forgiveness when we find it too hard to forgive others who have done us wrong. Help us to bring clean words from our mouths so that true forgiveness can be a reality.

Forgive us when we are blind but think we can see. Help us to have the courage to open our eyes to see the truth and to see You at work in our communities and our world.

Help us to live up to the challenge we have heard this morning to cross the borders. Too often we are content to stay within our small comfort zones where we do not have to face challenges and to change. We repent of this weakness and ask for the strength to cross the borders and find You in new and strange places.

We also pray for Your help to hear Your wisdom through the voices of the small people – those who struggle to survive yet have hope and a sense of Your Kingdom. May we stand with them and learn from them.

And finally we pray for the churches and people of the Indian Ocean Islands of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives. Strengthen them and help them to live out Your mission.

O God, We thank you for the power of your light and that the darkness cannot overcome it, for all who bear witness to your light we give you thanks. Help us to speak the truth, to show acts of love, to have understanding as we relate to others, to be kind and gracious in our homes and to be seekers for justice in our society. Make us more like Jesus Christ, our Lord, and may his light illumine our own darkness.


Prayer of Intercession
World-wide Communion Sunday
1 October, 2006
Bruce Van Voorhis

Our spirits our focused today, Lord, on communion—communion with you, communion with each other, communion with our larger world and environment.

It is our communion though with you, Lord, that is the true focal point of our attention this Sunday and every Sunday. We will celebrate our communion with you again in a moment, an act of communion that is at the center of our faith, but let us now take a moment to be in communion with you through prayer, to share with you our joys and anxieties, to listen to you in the silence. [silence]

We also pray for communion today with the poor, Lord, with those who are hungry and homeless. May our hearts be moved to respond to their needs and to be their advocates. We especially remember today those in our community who ask for a minimum wage for their labor. May the wide disparity of wealth in Hong Kong be narrowed. May we also learn from the poor, Lord, the value of sharing and cooperation, from the simplicity of their lives the meaning of what is important in all of our lives. In our communion with the poor, Lord, may our spirituality be nourished.

We pray as well for communion today with those suffering from injustice, Lord, with those who are unjustly imprisoned and tortured, with those whose rights have been denied, with those who are exploited. May those holding power over them be touched by the power of your love, Lord, and may acts of injustice thus be transformed into deeds of justice.

We likewise pray for communion today with those tormented by poor physical and mental health, Lord, with those who are sick, depressed and alone. May your healing hand reach out to them and lift them from their pain and despair.

We pray for communion today with the environment too, Lord, with the Garden with which you have blessed us. May our spirits be refreshed by our communion with nature; may we feel the presence of your spirit, Lord, in the stillness, peace and beauty of the natural world you created. May we take the necessary steps to restore the pristine world you made and we have abused.

We pray for communion today with our sisters and brothers at Kowloon Union Church, Lord, with our neighbors in the pews. May the faith and lives of each of us be enriched by the communion among us within our Christian community. We especially give thanks today, Lord, for the presence of our new pastor in our midst, the Rev. Kwok Nai-wang. May our time of communion with him be a period of mutual learning, growth and joy. We welcome too today the Rev. Tso Man-king and his World Communion Sunday message of church unity that he has given us.

Lastly, Lord, we especially celebrate today our communion with other Christians around the world, both Catholics and Protestants. As part of the weekly ecumenical prayer cycle, we are especially linked today with Christians in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. In our present world, we also feel moved to seek communion with those of other faiths—Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus.

We recognize though that all our relationships of communion, Lord, are very fragile and are in need of constant repair. We pray for your wisdom and love to guide us toward rebuilding those bonds of communion that have become weak and fractured and to give us the courage to reach out to those who are different to create new bonds of communion and understanding. We confess that our broken oneness is the cause of much suffering in our world today. May our oneness, however, overcome our brokenness, Lord, so that we can know the true joy of communion with each other and with you. Amen.

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 10 September, 2006

Bruce Van Voorhis

In our violent world, Lord, we pray for peace. We pray that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan will soon know your peace. We pray too for a peaceful resolution of the disputes in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and Iran. In Asia, we pray for an end to the extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the Philippines and for the political disputes in Nepal, Burma, Kashmir and East Timor to be decided without further violence. We especially remember today the families and friends of those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 and in all of the other tragedies since then. May your peace replace the insanity of jihad and the “war on terrorism.”

In our unjust world, Lord, we pray for justice. We pray that justice will be done for those who have been illegally detained, who have been tortured, who have been denied their rights. We pray that there will be justice for those forced out of their homes and off their land in the name of development. We pray that justice will prevail in the workplace for workers who have been exploited.

In our divided world, Lord, we pray for tolerance, understanding and love. We pray that religion is no longer used to justify violence. We pray that we can learn to bridge our different identities with our common humanity, that we can learn to include others who are different rather than exclude them.

In our busy world, Lord, we pray for time to reflect and be quiet. We pray that our busy lives will slow down so that we can discern you in our lives and reflect on what is truly important.

With others around the world, we remember today too our sisters and brothers in the Balkans in the countries of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Yugoslavia. Help the people of these lands rebuild their lives and heal the ethnic and religious divisions that have caused so much suffering.

We also ask for your blessing on our church family at Kowloon Union Church. May you guide our spiritual development and our witness in society. We especially remember Maggie at this time of mourning for her mother and pray for her safe journey back to us.

Silently or aloud, we now offer our prayers to you about what joys and concerns are in our hearts.

We offer our prayers to you in your Son’s name. Amen.