Prayers for the people

20 May 2010

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 16 May 2010

Jim Seymour

Oh Lord, on this Asia Sunday, we give thanks to You for the rich diversities and resources You have provided the people here. We pray for peace in the many Asian countries where there is strife. We lament that, even long after the end of alien rule, many people still suffer from human rights abuses, dictatorial rule, poverty, armed conflict, religious tensions and poor health. May God's love and justice prevail, and the Holy Spirit unite people together in hope.

In this phase of the ecumenical prayer cycle, we join in solidarity with our fellow churches and pay respect to our brothers and sisters in two southern African countries, Malawi and Zambia.

We thank God for the decline in tribal conflict in Malawi, and pray for an improvement in the problems AIDS, of low life expectancy, high infant mortality, and homophobia. May there be a special place in our hearts for the loving Malawian couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, who face up to 14 years in prison because of their sexual orientation.

Regarding Zambia, we pray that the rising price of copper (the country's main export) will benefit the vast majority of Zambians who are very poor.

Noting the marking of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) tomorrow, we pray for sexual minorities around the globe, especially in Africa, who have been marginalized and persecuted because of their sexual orientations, and for an equal society free from sexual discrimination.

We pray for China, where rapid economic growth has exacerbated many social problems such as wealth disparity, especially the problem of farmers' lands being confiscated for redevelopment. May good governance with impartial rule of law free from corruption prevail. We pray especially for the civil society activists imprisoned there who are ill, such as: Hu Jia 胡佳. May he be provided medical care, and shown the mercy he deserves.

And we pray for the refugees from North Korea, now hiding in China. If any are able to come to Hong Kong, we pledge to help them start new lives.

We pray for the world's prisoners, from Guantànamo to Tibet. May they be treated humanely and justly, and find eventual freedom, especially those whose so-called crimes were only in the realm of thought. We give thanks for the release of some of the Guantànamo prisoners, such as those who were resettled last week in Spain and Bulgaria; may joy now return to their lives, and may they soon be followed by others.

Oh Lord, we are determined to become better stewards of God's creation on this planet, and treat our environment as a limited resource, to be guarded in Your name for the benefit of future generations. We realize that solving the world's environmental problems requires not that the poorer nations forego development, but that the rich do with less.

We pledge that the one in seven humans on this planet who suffer from hunger will remain in our thoughts until there is sufficient food for all. Especially we pray for the 850,000 Hong Kongers living in poverty, an increase of 19% over last year. We are truly shamed that, in this affluent community, more than one person in nine lives below the official poverty line.

Lord, we pray for Hong Kong sisters and brothers who are ill or live under stress due to such pressures as derive from work and family. We ask for Your mercy and kindness for them, and the gifts of rest and peace.

We pray for the success of today's Legislative Council by-election. May there be constitutional reform that includes the abolition of the corrupt functional constituency system, which sustains the power of the privileged while the interest of the general public and especially the poor are ill protected.

We thank God for the success of the Annual General Meeting last week. May newly elected trustee Lucia, and Council members Roy, Bruce, Sunita and Paul Wong be given strength, wisdom and creativity in their new roles.

And now let us, each in our own language, join together in prayer as Jesus taught us… [The Lord's Prayer].

03 May 2010

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 2 May 2010

Jim Seymour

Dear Lord, we give thanks for the bounty with which You have provided us, and accept our responsibilities to respond by generously addressing the needs of society.

April 28 having been designated “International Workers Memorial Day,” we pray for the souls of the 2.1 million laborers around the world who die each year as the result of work-related accidents and illness. Lord, may You give strength to their loved ones. We pray that the governments of the world will institute strong safety and health standards, and that employers adhere to them.

In this phase of the ecumenical prayer cycle, we join in solidarity with our fellow churches around the world for the people and churches of Sudan and Uganda. We thank God for the relatively peaceful election in Sudan, and for the extension of the UN's peacekeeping role. May we have seen the end of the decades-long three-way civil war. We look forward to next year's referendum on self-determination in the south of the country; may it be without incident, and may the results truly reflect and realize the will of the people there. We mourn the continued loss of life in the west, and pray for the advent of peace which the Darfur people so deserve.

We pray for greater progress and human development in the landlocked multi-ethnic east African country of Uganda, the motto of this largely Christian country being “For God and My Country.” We pray for Ugandans' health; may the shocking infant mortality rate of almost 8% be reduced. We thank God for the great success the country has had in combating AIDS. We rejoice at the end to the ban on political parties, and in the country's recent economic growth, and pray that the poorer sectors of the population will receive their share of God’s bounty. We pray that the harsh anti-gay bill will be rescinded. May the Anglican community in Africa and the western world, so divided over the issue of homosexuality, hold together in the spirit of tolerance and “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Finally, we pray for the 200,000 refugees in Uganda.

We pray for the peoples of the Middle East. May their often misguided leaders revisit the tenets of the founders of their various religions, and find therein the messages of peace, love, and forbearance.

We pray for unity and peace in Thailand, where the community is deeply divided, and unrest and violence has been escalating.

We pray for the United States, and that you, oh God, will provide guidance to the Supreme Court, which has recently overturned the sacred constitutional principle of separation of church and state.

We pray for the world's prisoners. In China, we pray for an end to the labour-reeducation regime. May all of China’s prisoners, including those in mental institutions be treated humanely and justly.

We note with sadness the revival of the death penalty in Taiwan.

We thank God for the revocation of the ban on people with HIV/Aids entering China, and look forward to a total end to discrimination against people with HIV/Aids and hepatitis.

Here in Hong Kong, we are concerned about the legislation of minimum wages. and the upcoming Legislative Council by-election. We pray for a democratic culture and genuine democratic political system here, and for the livelihood of the poorest who have fewr resources with which to face life, and for a fairer system in which power and resources are shared more equally amongst people from all sectors of society.

For our congregation:

We bear in mind our forthcoming AGM and all of the logistic arrangements that are required. May God prepare leaders to fill the council and trustee vacancies. We pray that members and leaders are prepared to join the meeting with enthusiasm to review various church ministries. May we all be prepared to serve God’s mission, and to grow in faith as individuals and as a church in the next year.

We pray for those who are sick, and for those who travel to work outside Hong Kong.

Finally, we pray that we may become better stewards of God's creation on this planet, and pledge to treat our environment as a limited resource, to be guarded for the benefit of future generations.