We are thankful for:
- the magnificent expanse of mountains, grasslands and deserts in these Central Asian countries
- the rich natural resources
- the incredible ethnic diversity
- cultural traditions and practices that have been preserved for centuries amid the challenges of modernization
- Christians who, although they are a tiny minority, have courage to witness to the gospel and find the strength to live according to God’s word
- those who in spite of danger dedicate their lives to serving others.
We pray for:
- the people in these lands who suffer from poverty and repressive rule
- an end to clashes related to tribalism, traditionalism, and modernization
- the land, air and water that have been damaged by human abuse
- good relations between Muslims and Christians
- an end to oppression and violence.
And so, that is why, at nightfall when my people are asleep, kneeling barefoot, close to the altar of my little chapel, I become their intercessor - like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, like Jesus. A stick of sandalwood sends forth its fragrance, the symbol of all of those who today are worn out with their labours in suffering, or in love. And I am there, weighed down with all the faults of my people, afflicted with all their sorrows, heavy with all their hopes - all of those who today have fallen asleep thinking only to meet a Judge - to them I present him as their Saviour, and I introduce them to the eternal Nuptials. All those little children who were born this day, I make children of God. All the prayers said today in the homes, the mosques, I transform into an "Our Father". My heart is nothing more than the melting pot, where, in the fire of Christ's love, all the dross of my people is turned into gold - and through my lips it is the whole of Afghanistan who cries that "Abba" to the Father that the Holy Spirit inspires.
(Afghanistan: from A Procession of Prayers - Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, compiled by John Carden, © by Cassell, London, and WCC Geneva.)
that we may receive your blessing,
touch our brows, touch our heads,
and do not look upon us in anger.
In a hard year be our mercy;
in a year of affliction, be our kindness;
dark spirits banish from us;
bright spirits bring close to us;
grey spirits put away from us;
good spirits draw near to us.
When I am afraid, be my courage;
when I am ashamed, be my true face;
be thou over me like a blanket,
be thou under me like a bed of furs.
(Mongolia. With All God’s People, compiled by John Carden, WCC, 1989, p.65.)