Sunday, January 6, 2013

Post #386 - Pray for Peace, Work for Peace

The World Council of Churches has proposed that prayers be offered by Christians around the world for Iran (among several other Middle Eastern Countries) during the week that begins today.  Here is the text of the prayers they suggest:

Give thanks for:
  • Christians who practice their faith in countries where they are a small minority; those who meet in house churches and those who provide links to Christians worldwide.
  • Muslims who live up to the ideals of their faith and advocate tolerance and peace.
  • Those who work for democracy and human rights.
  • The graceful architecture of minarets and the sounds of the oud.
  • The preservation of the art of these ancient cultures.
Pray for:
  • Peaceful relationships between different tribes, religions and ethnic groups.
  • Those who come from other countries to work, and are separated from their families.
  • Clean water for those who thirst in the desert.
  • Women, who have far fewer opportunities for education and employment than do men.
  • Those who are persecuted for their faith.
  • Healing for wounded bodies and crushed spirits caused by conflict and strife.
  • Muslims who make the pilgrimage to Mecca, that they might be safe during their devotion.
  • The grieving, the families torn apart, the homes destroyed, the businesses no longer functioning.
  • An end to terrorism, lawlessness, and state oppression.
  • International peace-keepers and monitors of treaty obligations.
You, Lord of all, we confess;
You, Lord Jesus, we glorify;
For you are the life of our bodies
And you are the Savior of our souls. 

This seems to me incomplete (obviously, it cannot include every special situation, but some very common conditions are missing).  It strikes me immediately, for example, that there is no direct acknowledgement of any impacts upon the population of the countries selected -- which included Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahran, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Yeman, and Iraq, in addition to Iran -- by forces from outside their borders.  Let me add prayers, then, for:

  • Those who are victims of drone strikes, the deprivational effects of sanctions or the cruel outcomes of economic exploitation;
  • Jews, Zoroastrians, Baha'is and other religious minorities who practice their faith under varying degrees of stress or duress;
  • Those who are wrongly imprisoned, detained indefinitely without charges, kidnapped or tortured;
  • Those who striving compassionately to care for refugees and immigrants to their communities

When one tries to make a comprehensive list of woes and wounds, one sees, once again, that this fallen world is "a vale of tears" -- it is only navigable if we pray -- and if we do more than just pray. 

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