Light in the Darkness

Pastoral Prayer for Sunday 16 January 2011

Heavenly Father, we don’t have to look far for bad news these days, and though it has always been so and, until the day of your coming, will always be so, we are grieved in heart with news of disaster, both natural and manmade.

We grieve for those whose loved ones have been senselessly murdered or irreparably harmed by men whose motives and deeds are only evil all the time. We pray in particular for the man whose new wife was murdered on their honeymoon and for the victims of last week’s shooting in Arizona. We pray also for the citizens of Mexico who have seen tens of thousands die in battles between drug lords and law enforcement officers and ask for justice and peace in that land.

We grieve with the citizens of nations whose governments are unstable, violent, unjust, or in the midst of catastrophic upheaval. As always it is the little people who have no power or influence who suffer most and we pray for their protection and deliverance. We pray in particular for the citizens of Tunisia whose future is anything but certain.

We grieve with nations that have suffered epic floods and natural disasters, especially Brazil and Australia. We ask that you would grant courage to those who fight to survive, mercy for those whose loved ones have been lost, food and shelter for those whose homes have simply disappeared beneath the waters.

In the midst of these heart-aches we pray that you would give us eyes to see the quiet working of the yeast of the Holy Spirit. Your work, like the mustard seed, begins small, but grows to great heights beneath the shelter of your wings. Small things happen daily: students encouraged by teachers, enemies who make peace, spouses who forgive, children who make new discoveries, marriages and baptisms, and words of grace spoken and heard at funerals. We celebrate and enjoy our reprieve from severe weather and give thanks for the rain and for the sunshine. We give you thanks for our prosperity and for the many comforts we enjoy in this modern age.

Our bellies are filled, our heads and bodies covered, we drink clean water in abundance, and enjoy the freedom to worship at our leisure. There are, Great God, too many blessings to name or count.

So turn now, our eyes away from violence and destruction and tragedy that we might remember your provision and your promise that one day wars will cease and the children of God will be gathered as one to sit around your table at the wedding feast of the lamb who is Jesus Christ.

We pray as he taught us, “Our Father…”

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