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2010 prayers (Africa and biodiversity)

As 2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity we especially encouraged organizing prayers around this theme. At the same time, churches were encouraged to pray for and with people in Africa, where biodiversity and human welfare are threatened alike by climate change. Click here for suggested prayers.

African church leaders that met under the auspices of the All Africa Conference of Churches in Nairobi, Kenya, in June 2008 affirmed the need to take action in a public statement. "The current climate crisis is primarily spiritual and ethical with serious political, economic and justice implications," the church leaders wrote. "As human beings we have failed to appreciate the intrinsic worth of ourselves, other humans, other species and future generations."

The statement, along with comparable declarations by other ecumenical organizations and original articles on climate change and care for creation, is chronicled in the July 2010 issue of the Ecumenical Review. The issue is dedicated to the memory of the South African theologian Steve de Gruchy, who wrote an article on water and sanitation from a Christian perspective for the journal, shortly before his death in February 2010.

Africa has rich and varied biological resources forming the continent’s natural wealth on which its social and economic systems are based. These resources are also of global importance, for the world’s climate and for the development of agriculture, industrial activities, pharmaceutical production, construction and tourism, to name but a few of the most important areas.
Africa is home to some one quarter of the world’s 4,700 mammal species, including 79 species of antelope. (...) Eight of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots are in Africa.

UNEP: The state of biodiversity in Africa (Download the full report as pdf, 505 KB)


Prayers from and for Africa

Shona prayer from Zimbabwe

Great Spirit, piling up rocks into towering mountains,

when you stamp on the stone,
the dust rises and fills the land.

Father, you sew the heavens like cloth:
knit together what is below.

Caller-forth of the branching trees,
you bring forth the shoots that stand erect.

Wonderful one, you live in the midst of the sheltering rocks.
You give rain to humankind.

Hear us, O Lord!
Show mercy when we beg you.

Gracious One, you are on high with the spirits of the great.

You raise the grass-covered hills above the earth and create the rivers.

The Prayers of African Religion, John Mbiti, © 1975, SPCK, London, UK, [in the United States, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, USA] pages 148-49.

 

Call to Worship

Come Holy Spirit
Inspire us

Come people of the earth
We will worship together

You made the earth and the gifts of your creation
We praise you God

For the smiles of your children and the beauty of your people
We praise you God

For the chance to share with others
And to celebrate your glory
We praise you God

 

Litany for the Planet

Grasses multiply and wild flowers proliferate
Because you God in Christ set the earth free

Vegetables colour the garden and herbs give aroma to the spiral
Because you Spirit led us into the new creation

The lion and the lamb are making friends; the worms love the lettuce
Because you Wisdom inspired new natural companions

The insects live in diverse croplands with birds sharing the spoils
Because you Lord of Love taught us to share

Every part of the creation is significant from flies to mosquitoes
Because you Creator of all, reasoned everything into being

Now teach us triune God to transcend ideology to sustainability
Because Christ you are the peace between us

 

Prayer for the Environment

Caring God,
we thank you for your gifts in creation:

for our world,
the heavens tell of your glory;

for our land, its beauty and its resources,
for the rich heritage we enjoy.

We pray:

for those who make decisions about the resources of the earth,
that we may use your gifts responsibly;

for those who work on the land and sea, and in industry,
that they may enjoy the fruits of their labours
and marvel at your creation;


for artists, scientists and visionaries,
that through their work we may see creation afresh.

Silence  

We thank you for giving us life;
For all who enrich our experience.

We thank you that you have called us to celebrate your creation.
Give us reverence for life in your world.

We thank you for your redeeming love;
May your word and sacrament
Strengthen us to love as you love us.


Silence  

God, Creator, bring us new life.
Jesus, Redeemer, renew us.
Holy Spirit, strengthen and guide us.

 

Blessing

May God who established the dance of creation,
who marvelled at the lilies of the field,
who transforms chaos to order,
lead us to transform our lives and the Church
to reflect God’s glory in creation.

By Andrew Warmback and Brian Wilinson, Network of Earthkeeping Christian Communities in South Africa.

 

Prayer from Nigeria

God of Heaven and earth,
you have blessed us with the works of your hands,
The tall mountains and deep blue seas
Even wonderful creatures to adorn it
And have given us dominion over all of them
Help us to preserve and appreciate this gifts that others may benefit
Even generations to come, this we pray
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Holy Spirit
one God now and for ever.
Amen.

By Chukwuemeka Roderick Oji, Preach Water Foundation

 

Contributions by African Youth Theologians for Time for Creation 2010

Collected and submitted by Rev. Dr Simon K. Dossou, director for Theology, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, All Africa Conference of Churches

Prayer of creation

O Lord our God, Creator of the cosmos and the universe,
We bless you for all the creation.

We have not truly kept all things which are in the earth, in the water or even in the sky;
For all that we request your mercy O Lord.

We often take creation like our own property and we do everything what we want;
God, forgive us for that.

Today, the earth and all creation has become men’s affaire, in which God, the creator is ignored;
O Lord our God, have mercy and repair our errors.

Those mistakes we have done to nature because of our poor management, have caused serious consequences in the life of the entire humanity, such as desertification, global warming, floods, in short, serious natural disasters.

Our world needs to be renewed and that is not possible without God, the creator,
That is why; we should beseech his mercy and his grace on all creation.

Give us guidance, O, Lord our Creator.

Give us power to restore the creation according to your only will
We ask this in the name of Jesus-Christ, in whom all was created.

Amen!

By Ms Fidèle Fifamè Houssou-Gandonou

 


"A Prayer in the form of poem from Ethiopia, the so called island of Christianity"

Mom is crying!
Our mother earth is dying!
She is really burning!

The tradition of planting trees is gone
her children abandoned her, and
did harm to her.

Give wisdom to her children to save her.
Direct and lead us all to protect her.

She is really burning.
The globe is crying loud.
Africa is crying loud.
Ethiopia is crying loud.
Our mom earth is drying!

Oh! wisdom!
Oh! fear of God!
Oh! care for creation!

Let  us confess our sins
which were invisible and not considered as such.

Lord have mercy on us and lead us and help us
to save our beautiful mom, our earth, our globe.

Let it be our daily duty to save our mom.
As we love ourselves, let it be so for our mom, earth.

Then the daughter will dance, the sons will join
the whole community will rejoice
in the wellbeing of our mom, earth

In the valley of Omo down, on the mount of Rise Dashe,
Ethiopians want to flourish
in the wellbeing of our mom Ethiopia, earth!

Our God, the source of everything
the creator and savior of mom
please give all human beings thoughtful spirit,
hard working habits, towards the betterment of life,
all together to save our mom.

Our mom, earth is bleeding
it is so cruel to let  her bleed!

Please, our Father and Mother and creator of mom give us kind spirit
to save her from such danger up on!

Have mercy on us! give us directions to save her!

By Belaynesh Bekele, Ethiopia

 

Africa, Surge et ambula!

Africa it is your time now!
Time to bless the Lord your creator!
The Creator, Almighty God, Who never fails, wow!
Wow, Africa isn´t it great? To walk with our Lord and savior!

Africa, please, I beg and urge you to embrace your husband Jesus
You know, Africa, you are so special for Our God! The God of the Hebrews!
Hebrews that you co – created as people sent by the Lord to Egypt…among us
Africa, worry not, struggles are finished, now you are being restored to win souls!

As young Theologians of All Africa Conference of Churches, we promise:
To respect the creation that Lord blessed us with! And to take care of that domain
Domain that the Lord trusted us in this generation…Let the light shine as the sun rise

We broke the entire covenant made by our ancestors with the devil. We destroyed it!  
Enough is enough for Evil
Evil is defeated because Jesus came once to Africa as child and now he is back in the Glory…

By Pastor Júlio Matavel, Maputo, Mozambique

See also: reflections by Rev. Gérance MANIRAMBONA and Rev. Jean Marie NSENGIYUMVA

 

Prayers for Biodiversity

Being 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, please see below some prayers around this theme. Please do share any prayers you may write with us.

 

Creator God,

we pray for our brothers and sisters of the air: chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, owls, crows, seagulls…
Give us a sign through them to decrease the pollution in the air we breathe.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our brothers and sisters of water: shells, algae, salmons, trouts, frogs…
Wake our compassion at the sight of their wounds so that we cease polluting the water.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our brothers and sisters of the earth: squirrels, deers, maples, the pine trees, the tomato plants and the worms…
May their humility and simplicity inspire us to live according to your will.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for the leaders and ministers, for mayors and presidents of companies. May they hear the call from God through other creatures and make sustainable, wise decisions.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our community.
We ask you the courage to act regarding our environment and not to succumb to the temptation of wasting.
Creator God, let us pray.

By the Green Church Project, Montréal, Canada


God of wisdom,

showing us your love in the rising sun and waning tide,
you grace Earth with life in all its variety.
Every thing has meaning, is blessing;
every one is charged with care
for the smallest creature
to the ocean’s depth.

Grant us wisdom
to know your ways of love and gentle kindness.
Give us the mind to learn what we do not know
but long to understand
so that we may honor and nurture
all that makes us one with you.

Amen

By Diane Lopez Hughes, Franciscan associate of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis