We are thankful for:
- the rich biodiversity of plants and animals and of mineral resources in this region
- the faithful witness of churches throughout the world during apartheid and how people of different races and lifestyles have come together since then
- the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and others to bring healing from the atrocities committed
- how South Africa has made antiretroviral drugs accessible to all with HIV and AIDS.
We pray for:
- protection of resources for the good of all rather than their exploitation for economic gain
- more democratic and transparent governance in these countries, at all levels
- effectively countering rape, sexual violence, and other crime
- adequate resources and changed attitudes for welcoming refugees in these countries.
Responsive prayer on poverty
we believe you are the God of the poor
and that poverty includes being hungry, unemployed and orphaned,
living on a pension or grant,
meagre earnings for arduous and hazardous work,
ill health, anxiety and stress and the absence of power,
worsened for women by unequal gender relations.
we hold up to you all those living in poverty.
We believe that God wants all people to live a dignified life
and engage in meaningful work,
that workers should receive fair wages,
and that those who possess more resources and skills
must share them in neighbourly love with those who have less.
open our eyes to the deep needs of those who are poor.
We believe that the challenge of fighting poverty
does not lie solely with governments,
but that faith-based organisations are ideally positioned to address it,
with their human and financial resources.
challenge us to see ways in which we can work against poverty.
We renew our commitment to be in solidarity with the poor
and to work against any form of injustice.
We commit ourselves to put our faith into action
and to demonstrate our faith in practical ways,
so that together we can overcome the scourge of poverty.
in your mercy, hear our prayer and strengthen us in our commitment
(Based on extracts from statements on poverty by Diakonia’s member churches.
In: Pilgrimage of Hope © Diakonia Council of Churches 2009, Durban, South Africa.)
Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
You know everything I do;
from far away you understand all my thoughts.
You see me, whether I am confessing or denying you.
Even before I speak,
you already know what I will say.
You are all around me on every side;
you protect me with your power.
Your knowledge of me is too deep,
for you knew me before I was born;
and this is beyond my understanding.
It is very dangerous to serve you in this world,
but where can I go to escape
from being the instrument of your peace?
What far place can I flee to,
without confessing you?
If I withdraw myself into “neutrality”,
you would be there;
if I go into my office to hide behind my typewriter
you would be there;
if I take refuge in the farthest country
away from the oppression of my people,
you would be there,
to remind me of what I promised you.
I could ask the darkness of my pain and humiliation
to cover me,
or the light of your love in my life
to turn into darkness;
but even the night of my suffering
dissolves in the light of your presence.
You created me in your image and loved me
even before my mother conceived me.
I praise you,
what you do is so wonderful
and above our human understanding.
Examine me, O God, and change my mind;
test me, and clean my thoughts.
Start the revolution in my life,
create me anew,
and guide me in the everlasting way.
(© Elijah Hlale, Lesotho.)
Prayer from South Africa
How wonderful it is, how pleasant,
to be healed of the corrosive disease of racism and separation;
and to live as your people together in harmony.
Your Spirit will then fill the hearts and the minds of all people.
Nobody will be judged any more on the basis of race or colour;
but all will be ruled with justice and integrity.
The war will end and the people together will rebuild the country.
There will be no reference to the colour of the skin,
for all will be regarded as the people of God,
the people created in your image.
And this will be the beginning of what you have promised –
the life that never ends.
(© South Africa Council of Churches, Marshalltown, South Africa.)