A Prayer for Justice
Lord, may justice flow like a river
Reaching barren lands and sun scorched deserts
Where people feel forgotten and hopeless
Let your water of life
Where children lie abandoned or abused
Let your water of life
Where communities suffer at the hands of prejudice
Let your water of life
Lord, we ask for a mighty downpour from Heaven
May your sons and daughters hear your voice
May we live as you lead us to live
Go as you bid us to go
Serve as you inspire us to serve
Give as you teach us to give
Until the earth is covered with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea
(an example of a modern prayer for justice from www.lords-prayer-words.com. This can be prayed with a nation or people group in mind)
When celebrating God's love and grace at Christian festivals such as Christmas, Easter Sunday and Advent, it is important to remember those who are in need and to hold these people before God in intercessory prayer. Here is a short prayer from the Episcopal Church to help us become mindful of others at these times:-
A Prayer for the Poor and the Neglected
Almighty and most merciful God,
we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget:
the homeless and the destitute,
the old and the sick,
and all who have none to care for them.
Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit,
and to turn their sorrow into joy.
Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for
our sake became poor,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Source: 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA)
Prayer for Peace
The prayer for peace is said daily across the world at twelve noon by people from many different religious beliefs and philosophical persuasions:-
(This simple prayer comes from the Vancover Assembly of the World Council of Churches. It's origins a thought to be from England circa 1981. In the early eighties, Mother Teresa of Calcutta popularised this prayer, and it subsequently became adopted by the Assembly of World Religions meeting in Russia. This event was timed to coincide with the second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament. By the end of the decade, the Berlin Wall had crumbled and the "Cold War", if not completely over, was certainly no longer the dark shadow across the world that it once was. However, with the turn of the millenium, and "9/11", the world was to face new challanges and new wars. Hence this prayer is as relevant today as it was when it was first prayed almost thirty years ago).
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust;
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace;
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
Over thirty minutes of calm instrumental music from Prayerscapes, suitable for playing in the background as you pray and intercede:-
Intercessory prayer is where we make requests to God on behalf of other people. This differs from prayer petitions - which are generally to do with praying for oneself, e.g. praying to God for strength to face a situation etc.
Who should we pray for?
The bible exhorts us to intercede for all types of groups and people:-
• Our friends. Jesus prayed for his disciples, who he also called his friends (John 15:12-15 and John 17:20-23). Follow this link for a modern prayer for a friend.
• Our enemies and those that mistreat or persecute us. In Matthew 5:44 (GNT) Jesus declares "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you".
• Those in authority - such as managers, politicians and royalty - this is really anybody who is in a position of power in society:-
• Our church leaders. The apostle Paul urges the Christians in Thessalonica to "Pray also for us, friends." (1 Thess 5:25)
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."
(1 Tim 2:1-2, (NIV)
• Those who are ill. The letter of James exhorts those in leadership to pray for the sick and anoint them with oil. (James 5:14-15)
• All people. The Apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy exhorts us to be mindful of everyone.
"First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people" (1 Tim 2:1 GNT)
All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.
(Martin Luther, 1483-1546)
O Almighty God,
the Father of all humanity,
turn, we pray, the hearts of all peoples and their rulers,
that by the power of your Holy Spirit
peace may be established among the nations
on the foundation of justice, righteousness and truth;
through him who was lifted up on the cross
to draw all people to himself,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
William Temple (1881 to 1944)