Christians Gather to Pray for National Challenges
Bipartisan Leadership Needed to Tackle Immigration, Entitlement Reform, Poverty,Environmental Health, & Unemployment
Our nation faces critical challenges, and in this time of extreme partisan politics, the inability of our government to take action impacts the nation and the world. The Christian church cannot idly withdraw its presence. Christians are ambassadors of our loving God,and we need to take action. Coming from our evangelical tradition, the first action remains prayer.
Prayer Vigil Program
Purpose and Call To Prayer
Greetings and Introductions of Elected Officials Present
Matthew 5:1-14 (NIV)
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountain side and sat down. His disciples came tohim, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 "Blessedare the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessedare you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds ofevil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 "You arethe salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
God of all ages,
in your sight nations rise and fall, and pass through time of peril.
Now when our land is troubled,be near to judge and save.
May leaders be led by your wisdom;
may they search your will and see clearly.
If we have turned from your way,
reverse our ways and help us to repent.
Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us;
through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen.
(Presbyterian USA Worship book)
1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people" 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Prayer For All Government Leaders
God of power and might, wisdom and justice,
through you authority is rightly administered,
laws are enacted, and judgment is decreed.
Assist with your spirit of counsel and fortitude
the President and other government leaders of these United States.
May they always seek
the ways of righteousness, justice, and mercy.
Grant that they may be enabled by your powerful protection
to lead our country with honesty and integrity.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Micah 6:6-8 (NIV)
6 With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Look graciously, O Lord, upon our nation and its leaders.
Where there is pride, subdue it.
Where there is need provide it.
Where there is error, rectify it.
Where there is fault, correct it.
And where we hold tothat which is just and compassionate, support it. Amen
Proverbs 1:20-21 (NIV)
20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
Lord, I pray for all government officials.
I pray for the president, that he may conduct the affairs of national government with wisdom, bravery, and true justice.
I pray for the members of Congress that they may truly represent the needs of the people, and work in harmony for the advancement of all men, women, and children.
I pray for the judges that rule the courts of our land, that they may balance justice with mercy, and civil law with divine mandate.
Grant all of our national,state, and local leaders the gifts of wisdom, justice, counsel, and fortitude,that they may conduct the affairs of humanity in accord with the will of God.
Grant to all the gift of respect for lawful authority, justly exercised, that we may live as a united people, one nation under God.
May all the governments of the world seek to reconcile power with the needs of society. May they all strive to form bonds of unity between countries, that we may one day share a united world of prosperity and peace. Amen. (based on Praying for Our Nation)
Philippians 2:1-12 (NIV)
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death"
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence continue to workout your salvation with fear and trembling,
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Our nation faces critical challenges, and in this time of extreme partisan politics, the inability of our government to take action impacts the nation and the world. The Christian church can not idly withdraw its presence. Christians are ambassadors of our loving God, and we need to take action. Coming from our evangelical tradition, the first action remains prayer.
Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Scripture clearly requires the Church to act as peacemakers. In an attempt to breakthrough our partisan divide, and witness our faith in a positive effort, onTuesday, March 19, 2013, The Evangelical Environment Network (EEN) is organizing a prayer vigil on the west front lawn of the US Capitol. All are invited to join as the Church prays for the Administration and both chambers of Congress to overcome political differences and seek common ground for the good of our nation.
Together, we face many problems and leadership from both political parties is required. Sequestration, Immigration, Tax Reform, A National Budget, Deficits, Poverty, and Environmental Health are but a few of the impasses that have been punted down the road without action.
This prayer service is not a time to rally for a particular position, but to come together and seek God's wisdom for our political leaders. Many of us come from different traditions and varying views on the issues before us. Our heartfelt vision calls the Church to come as one and pray for God's Spirit to break the partisan divide and empower our elected leaders for decision-making.
Each of you is encouraged to attend the gathering, share this announcement, and participate. If you wish to lead a prayer or share Scripture, please contact me.
Congress and the Administration will receive invitations.
The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox
by Tyler Amy
This week Renewal hosted their annual Day of Prayer, with the theme this year being water issues. As students from Alabama to Alberta creatively gathered on their respective campuses to pray for water-related issues, I sat at my desk staring out the window wondering how much longer November could fight off the snow here in Buffalo, NY.
I began praying for water-related issues here in the Great Lakes region but something felt wrong or out of place.
Now, I know God does not care whether I pray at my desk, in a church or atop a mountain, but it seemed as if God was asking me to step outside to pray.
I felt it was only appropriate to go where I could experience some water Buffalo's LaSalle Park. The spacious park sits overlooking the junction of Lake Erie as it turns into the Niagara River. The water will flow northward until it takes a plummet over the legendary Niagara Falls and then on to Lake Ontario.
As I sat at a well-worn bench and looked around, I realized how interesting of a place I was at. Ahead of me flowed Lake Erie and the Niagara River with its countless creatures, behind me only one hundred yards sat the historic water pumping station for the City of Buffalo and beside me waddled numerous ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis). Each of these players (any many more), including myself, depend on Lake Erie and the Niagara River everyday. It's our common bond. It's our life source.
Now I'm not trying to say the Niagara River has magical powers. I'm merely trying to articulate how essential water is for all of us " human and non-human. God's reveals to us the importance of water throughout scripture. One of my favorites is when Elisha heals the water of the city of Jericho (2 Kings 2:19-22).
As I reflect on why hundreds of students, staff and faculty across the US and Canada prayed for water issues this week, I am reminded that God is delighted by those who seek His healing, comfort and wisdom in all matters of life, including one of the most important how we use water.
Tyler Amy is the National Coordinator of Renewal - a Christ-centered creation care network that focuses on inspiring, connecting, and equipping college students in their work on campus.
by Anthony Waldrop
Bless this meal. Thank you for providing the food for tonight, thank you for the hands that prepared it, and thank you for the nourishment that it will provide for our bodies.
In Jesus' name,
A prayer such as this one is fairly common in a variety of Christian circles. It is short, precise, and provides an adequate blessing for the food in front of us. Nevertheless, a thought surfaced the other day that this prayer is not quite complete. Yes, we are thankful for the provision, nutrition, and preparation of the food, but did the food simply spontaneously generate into our refrigerator minutes before preparation? What about the journey of the food from its source: from seed to plant, calf to cow, or farm to market? As someone who has been intimately involved with the food process over the past 5 months, it has become quite clear that the existence of food for a meal is indeed a protracted and involved process and therefore necessitates a slightly longer prayer.
From June to August of 2011 I held an internship at Five Loaves Farm, a non-profit farm run by A Rocha Santa Barbara that grows food for the low-income families of the Santa Barbara area. While interning I became acutely aware of how much work goes into growing a large amount of high-quality food. It was quite overwhelming some days, as we had to harvest, set up new rows, and plant with limited amounts of time. During those 3 months I garnered a healthy appreciation of the work that goes into growing vegetables, as well as the just as challenging duty of distributing the food in an effective and compassionate manner. After the internship, I was offered the job of developing a small farm/large garden (I like to call it a "farden") for Westmont College, a Christian liberal arts college in Santa Barbara that I had just graduated from in May. This job has been a dream come true in the sense that I get paid to grow food for a student population in which I was an environmental activist for 4 years.
Not only do I get to provide a small portion of locally grown food for the Westmont Dining Commons, but I also have the opportunity to teach people how to expand the prayer above. My understanding of the food system is by no means complete, but by having students interact with this project at Westmont I feel that I am doing my part in reconnecting people with the nuances of how God has created the world. Whether you are a hunter-gatherer or an agriculturalist, food is not an easy resource to obtain.
Hence, as an addendum to the prayer above:
Thank you for the people that have grown this food, harvested it, processed it, sold it, and for all involved in bringing it to this meal. Your faithfulness is everlasting.
In Jesus' name,
Anthony Waldrop is a recent graduate of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA
"By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." --Philippians 4:6
As Christians, we believe that prayer is vital in bringing about change in ourselves and in our world. A global network of Christians in more than 40 nations will be getting down on its knees on Sunday 6 November to pray, speak up, and encourage that prompt action be taken to protect God's good creation and our global neighbors -- those who are hit hardest by severe weather and the changing climate.
"Love does no harm to its neighbor." --Romans 13:10
We invite you, your family, and your church to join in praying in hope for urgent, redemptive action. Whatever your prayer time looks like during this day of prayer and we ask that you spend some time focusing prayer in the following three areas:
1. Thanksgiving: "God saw all that he had made and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31)
Give thanks for God's good creation and for the thousands of people who will be praying in hope for compassionate concern and action to tackle climate change and its impacts on the world's poorest people.
Give thanks to God for the vision and faith of churches globally seeking to challenge the injustice of climate change and for bringing hope by equipping them to speak out to and pray for people in power and positions of influence.
2. Real change: for action and prayer as part of Hope for Creation to lead to real change - in the lives of individuals across the world as they respond personally to the changing climate and by Governments through increased commitment to reduce harmful global emissions and provide financial assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable people who are hit hardest.
3. Power: Prayer for God to move in power at the UN climate talks this December -- bringing truth and justice into negotiations and decisions that empower poor countries to respond to climate change.
Hope for Creation - Common Prayer
Please use this prayer in church services, in your family, and in personal prayer times.
Father of all Creation, We praise you for the wonders of the world you have gifted to us.
We give thanks for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the mountains and hills we roam, the deserts and valleys that give us space, the wilderness that teems with life and for all living creatures.
We praise you for the sustenance you have provided for us through your creation and we thank you for the role you have given us as caretakers of that gift.
Forgive us when we have not been good caretakers of the earth. Forgive us for the suffering that has been inflicted on the global poor because of unsustainable actions that have led to the destruction of the environment we draw life from.
Lord of Hope, birth your hope in us through the seed of a new vision for how our world could be. Make us into people who recognize, nurture and act towards a more sustainable world for the benefit of all who draw life from this planet.
Holy Spirit of renewal and transformation, guide our leaders, communal, national and international, towards decisions that forge a new path for our relationship with creation. We pray for hope to be present in their dialogue and negotiations. Imbue their talks with a spirit of cooperation and a sense of family where each works for the benefit of the other. We ask for this wisdom to be upon all those who gather for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa at the end of November.
May we be a global people who live within our means, blessing one another and nurturing your creation so graciously gifted to us.
All this to the glory of the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen!
Thank you! for helping to spread word about this Hope for Creation worldwide Day of Prayer.
A Hope for Creation prayer guide is available. Click here for a PDF
By Lowell Bliss
I don't remember who first introduced me to this spiritual discipline, but for a few years now, I've found profit in tying a portion of my prayers to random items that I might see during the day. For example, whenever I see a sparrow I let fly a quick prayer for financial provision. (Matthew10:28-31 reminds me how a loving Father cares for little birds and little families.) You can also tie prayers to seasonal sights. It's the height of summer and watermelon are ripening on the vine in our garden. Whenever I see a watermelon, I pray for the Kewat people of Varanasi, North India. While I explain this strange connection, let me invite you to join me in these environmental missions prayers. The Kewat are dear people, badly in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Kewat caste are the "boat people" of the Ganges River. In Varanas itself, they occupy a neighborhood just over the wall from where my family lived for ten years. (In other words, they were our neighbors in every way you could imagine Jesus using that word.) For millennia, the Kewat have fished the river, feeding their families with enough catch left over to sell in the bazaar. But in 1975, the Indian government built the Farraka Barrage downstream in the state of West Bengal. The hilsa fish, which used to swim 850 kilometers and more upstream to spawn, were hindered from traveling as far as Varanasi. The hilsa was the Kewat's main crop and suddenly it was gone. The Kewat had to scramble forother means of livelihood. They tried their hand at weaving silk sarees, a craft for which Varanasi is world-famous, but a different people group, the Ansari Muslims, have a monopoly on saree manufacture and wholesale in Varanasi. Many of the Kewat lapsed into unemployment and widespread alcoholism.
Every year during the summer, right before the monsoon flooding, the Ganges recedes and exposes an extensive sandbar on the east bank across from the city itself. Technically this temporary land is the property of the Maharajah of Benares, but he has granted sole farming rights to the Kewat. The Kewat"men, women, and children"dig rows in this sediment-rich sand. They work in khad, dried cow manure. Those who can afford it, lay irrigation pipe to pump water from the river. Then they plant watermelon, cantaloupe, and long stringy form of cucumber called a khukri. Some of the men and boys sleep out on the sand at night to prevent theft. This form of farming doesn't provide a great deal of income, and some years the crop gets wiped out early by an unreliable monsoon, but it's something.
And so when I see a watermelon growing in my garden in Kansas, I remember the Kewat. There are only a handful of Christian believers among these Hindu people. One of our old teammates, a young lady who for her own protection I'll call Grace, has established a small school program and clinic for the Kewat kids. So please join me in praying for Grace as well.
(As a quick little aside, you may have heard the politics of environmentalists compared derisively to watermelon: "dark green on the outside, red on the inside." My random prayers for the Kewat are my fun way to turn this saying on its head. I'm not a communist; I'm a Christian. And if I'm a watermelon, then I'll be a praying one.)
Lowell Bliss is an environmental missionary, the director of Eden Vigil, and the publisher of the Environmental Missions Prayer Digest available at www.edenvigil.org. Just this month, an answer to prayer itself, he has sent the manuscript of his forthcoming book Environmental Missions: Planting Churches and Trees to the publisher.
The title seems self-evident enough and for Christians almost too easy to affirm. Of course prayer helps people handle difficult emotions. Yet I always find it interesting when science begins to study religious behavior and seeks to draw some set of sociological conclusions from the study and I think this one is worth noting. A recent study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds that prayer has real relational implications. Instead of talking out your emotions to your spouse or to the person that you are angry with speaking to God can actually help relieve tension especially if the person is able to see themselves from God's prospective or what they imagine God's view must be. On another element in the study is that they found most of their participants prayed even those who did not attend service on a regular basis. Nothing ground breaking yet in some ways a very interesting intersection.
Please pray for the refugees still stuck in make shift towns as Tropical Storm Thomas makes land in parts of Haiti today. Especially pray for the work of our partners Plant with Purpose, Food for the Hungry, and World Vision who are working amongst the poorest of the poor throughout Haiti. Learn more by clicking here.