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Prayers for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

01 January 2007

Call to prayer

From the East to the West,
from the North and the South,
all nations and peoples bless the creator of creatures with a new blessing,
for he made the light of the sunrise today over the world.

O congregations of the righteous,
who glorify the Holy Trinity in the morning of light,
praise Christ, the morning of peace,
together with the Father and the Spirit;
for he has made the light of his knowledge shine over us.
(Matins Hymn, Armenian Sunrise Office)

 

God, our Father,
here we are your people meeting together in service to adore you.

We humble ourselves as your church universal
in celebrating and bringing to our memory
that you gave yourself up for the whole world.

Join our hearts together that it may be known that we are your children,
that your presence will be among us,
and we may keep unity in the bonds of peace,
which you prepare in the covenant we have with your Son, Jesus Christ.
(Zephanie Kameeta, Namibia. In: "Why, O Lord?" © 1986, WCC, p. 47)

O Lord, open my eyes
that I may see the need of others,
open my ears that I may hear their cries,
open my heart so that they need not be without succour.

Let me not be afraid to defend the weak
because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor,
because of the anger of the rich.

Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to these places.

Open my eyes and ears that I may, this coming day,
be able to do some work of peace for you.
(Shona prayer, Zimbabwe. In: "The Prayers of African Religion", John Mbiti © 1975 SPCK, London, U.K. In the US: Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY, USA, 1975, pp. 148-49.)

Affirmation of faith

I believe in a Father
who so loves his children
to wait in silence for their return
in order to give them the best robe,
kill the fatted calf
and celebrate the feast of reconciliation.

I believe in a Spirit
whose power is not revealed in the thunder of the gale
nor in the dread of the earthquake
but in the still, small voice.

I believe in a Son
who broke the power of Silence
with the piercing cry
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Dying on the cross
he transformed the silence of death
into the death of every silence.
(Massimo Aprile, Italy. In: Rete di Liturgia, 1996, No. 2 © Rete di Liturgia.)

Intercession

Our God, heal us from exploitative social structures,
that condemn many to poverty and expose them to infections.

Heal us from poverty
that renders the body susceptible and forces us into unsafe behavior.

Heal us, God in your grace, and transform the world.

Heal us from international injustice,
that sets up exploitative economic policies of trade
and denies millions access to HIV drugs.

Heal us, God in your grace, and transform the world.

Heal us from violence that spreads HIV.

Heal us from ethnic and civil wars that spread the virus.

Heal us, God in your grace, and transform the world.

Heal us from unhealthy gender relations
that leave women powerless to protect themselves,
and that exposes partners and spouses to infections of HIV
and other diseases with it.

Heal us, God in your grace, and transform the world.

Heal us from unhealthy family relations
that tolerate unfaithfulness and bring pain
and hurt to all family members of all generations.

Heal us, God in your grace, and transform the world.

Heal us from social stigma and discrimination that lead
us to uncompassionate acts of isolation and failure
to provide quality care and prevention.

Heal us, God in your grace, and transform the world.

Heal us from resignation and exhaustion
that make us hopeless and inactive and blind for the life in fullness
that you promised to provide.

Heal us, God in your grace, and transform the world.

Heal us from our broken hearts and grief
that continue to pain our spirits and minds
and leave us empty about the meaning of life.

Heal us, God in your grace, and transform the world.

Heal us with resurrection power.

Cause us to rise from fear and hopelessness.

Cause us to rise into your resurrection hope.

Cause us to reclaim our right to life and to quality of life.

Transform us through the joy of your spirit
and your peace that surpasses all our understanding.

Amen.
(Adaptation from "Prayer for Holistic Healing" in AfricaPraying, p. 147 © Musa W. Dube.)

Blessing

Dear Lord,
may the boldness of your Spirit transform us,
may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us,
may the gifts of your Spirit equip us to serve and worship you
now and always.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Amen.
(From: In Spirit and in Truth, Canberra Assembly Worship Book, #53.)

NOTE: We wish to thank all those who have granted permission for the publication of the above prayers on the WCC web-site. We have made every effort to trace and identify them correctly and to secure all the necessary permissions for publication. If we have erred in any way in the acknowledgements, or have unwittingly infringed any copyright, we apologize sincerely.