Prayers for the people

20 March 2012

Prayer of Intercession
Sunday, 18 March, 2012

Jim Seymour

Oh Lord, we give thanks to You for the rich diversities and resources You have provided the world’s peoples. Give us reverence for the earth, that we may use its bounty rightly in the service of others, and to Your honor and glory. We are determined to become better stewards of 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 rich societies like Hong Kong’s do with less.

Guide the people here and in all nations in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honour one another and serve the common good. In particular, 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 Indo-China. Regarding Cambodia, we note with a mixture sadness and relief the conviction and life sentence recently given to Kain Guek Eav, or "Comrade Duch", for his role in the Khmer Rouge massacres. May Cambodians now be able to find true peace. We pray for an improvement in human rights standards in Laos, particularly in the areas of freedom of expression, prison conditions, religious freedoms, and the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers. For Vietnam, we pray for better treatment for the Hmong, especially the imprisoned Christians among them.

We pray for peace in the many other countries around the world where there is strife. We lament that, even long after the end of Western and Japanese imperialism, 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.

May we recognize a moral responsibility to condemn and combat the murderous spread of homophobic hatred in various parts of Africa, particularly Uganda, and honor the memory of slain gay rights activist David Kato. May Ugandan leaders and their international Christian supporters take their cue from liberal South Africa and rethink the appropriateness of the anti-homosexuality law that criminalizes any advocacy of, or support for, gay and transgender Ugandans.

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, and the architectural heritage especially in ethnic minority areas being destroyed. 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 and Liu Xiaobo刘晓波. May they be provided proper medical care, and shown the mercy they deserve.

We thank you, God, for the apparent progress in limiting North Koreas nuclear ambitions, and pray that the results of negotiations will be better than they have been in the past. And we pray for the refugees from North Korea now hiding in China.

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.

Oh Lord, we pledge that the one in seven humans on this planet who suffer from hunger will remain in our thoughts until all have sufficient food. Especially we pray for the 850,000 Hong Kongers living in poverty, a figure that appears to be increasing. 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. Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, give them courage and hope in their troubles.

As Paul said to the Galatians (6:8), may we exhaust ourselves in doing what is right. If we do not give up, we will reap at harvest time.

And now let us, each in our own language, join together in the prayer Jesus taught us: [The Lord’s Prayer].