Prayers for the people

25 August 2009

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 23 August, 2009

Bruce Van Voorhis

Our hearts are heavy today, Lord.

Our hearts are heavy today, Lord, because there is too much poverty in the world. We are saddened, Lord, by the degrading life that millions, if not billions, of people live, by the way in which poverty steals their humanity.

Our hearts are heavy today, Lord, because there is too much corruption in the world. We are saddened, Lord, by the greed that dwells in the hearts of too many powerful people, by the way in which corruption steals their humanity.

Our hearts are heavy today, Lord, because our human family has lost its spiritual direction. We covet and work for the material things of life that do not really matter while at the same time neglecting and disregarding the spiritual things of life that really do matter. In this process, our lives have become shallow without depth and meaning. We thrash around wondering where we have gone wrong without turning toward you for the nutritious spiritual food that you offer us.

Today, Lord, we come before you to seek your guidance, your wisdom, your love, for we know that without turning to you we will continue to have poverty, corruption and empty lives.

It is in this light, Lord, that our hearts today are especially saddened for the thousands of children in the Chinese provinces of Shaanxi and Hunan whose young lives have been poisoned with lead by companies that race after profits while they ignore the damage to people’s health caused by the toxic wastes produced by their factories. You have blessed us with a beautiful Garden, Lord, but we have been poor custodians of it. Redirect our spiritual compass, Lord, so that our priorities may be reoriented toward actions and activities that bring life and not death.

Our hearts are heavy as well today, Lord, for our sisters and brothers in Taiwan whose lives have been devastated by the recent typhoon. We especially pray for those who have lost their family members and friends, their homes and their businesses. May you bring them healing and comfort in this tragic time of their life and guide them and give them strength as they seek to rebuild their lives again.

Similarly, we pray today, Lord, for the people of the vast land of India where some people, like those in Taiwan, are struggling with floods and have too much water while others are struggling with the depletion of their water supply by drought and the operations of multinational factories and have too little.

We also remember today, Lord, the aid workers who have come to assist the people of Taiwan and India and others around the world. Give them the strength and energy to continue to serve those who have lost so much.

We also lift up to you today, Lord, our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan as they seek to build a democratic government and a democratic society where all voices are heard and respected. We especially remember those who have given their lives for the cause of democracy in their country or who have faced threats to achieve this goal. We give thanks for the courage of Afghanistan’s women who at times face grave risks to participate in the democratic process. We give thanks too for the country’s largely peaceful election last week and pray that the outcome will reflect the wishes of the majority of those who voted.

In Hong Kong, we offer our thanks for the employers of domestic workers who are willing to show their support for the desire of their helpers to be treated like other workers in the community and be entitled to the city’s minimum wage that is now being discussed.

As part of the ecumenical prayer cycle, we pray today, Lord, for the people in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We especially remember them today, Lord, as they work to overcome the hardships of the global financial crisis that have affected their economies that were growing rapidly only several years ago.

In our own church community, we pray for renewed health and strength for Jenny Alegre, Tan Chi Kiong and Yodi. We also pray for a safe journey for Phyllis and her family as they soon return home to Hong Kong and for others in our congregation who are, or soon will be, traveling. Lastly, we want to express our joy for those in our midst who have heard your call and have said, “Here I am, Lord.” We especially lift up a prayer of thanksgiving for Thadius and Roy as they soon begin their theological studies in South Korea and Hong Kong. May your spirit guide and strengthen them in this new chapter of their journey of faith. We offer all these prayers to you, Lord, in your Son’s name. Amen.