Prayers for Hurting & Suffering Communities

Opening Prayer

Eternal God, as we come before you on this day,

our souls waiting in silence,

we place our hope in you, our rock, our salvation, our refuge.

By your grace, may we not be shaken.

May we pour out our hearts in this time of prayer, trusting in your steadfast love.

May the source of our inspiration be Christ Jesus,

who, in his love of the poorest and most needy, demonstrated welcome and inclusion.

May we do everything we do as if we are doing it to Jesus,

and because we are one in his Spirit,

in whose power we pray.


Scripture Reading: Romans 12: 9 – 21

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


During the first weeks of the pandemic, one heard news about people anxiously accumulating groceries for themselves. This had adverse effects for others who were not able to get what they needed. However, as time went by, we heard many more stories of generosity, compassion, and self-denial for others’ sake. Indeed, many of us could affirm that God was at work among us, prompting and strengthening people for these acts of kindness.

These circumstances have reminded us of how God grants gifts for renewal amid difficult times. Even more, God makes things new, especially in the context of difficult conditions. For example, we see that when there was darkness and emptiness, the Spirit of God brought light and fullness into the universe (Genesis 1:1-3, Psalm 33). When there was death and no hope, the same Spirit of God brought life and a new future (Ezekiel 37:1-14). When there is need and starvation, it is God’s Spirit that sustains and renews all things (Psalm 104:27-30).

It is the same Spirit who empowers the church ever since Pentecost. Life, hope, courage, strength, and a new future are possible because the Holy Spirit is moving in and through us amid this pandemic.

This Spirit is renewing humanity, wherever communion, friendship, provision, and partnership are being made real in the world. This contrasts with the darkness, death, starvation, domination, exploitation, and accumulation, which so often marks our world.

How can we, who bear Christ’s name and have God’s Spirit in us, selfishly take for ourselves before caring for others? Rather, let us attend above all to those among us and throughout the world who suffer in this pandemic. In particular, let us pray and work for those whose poverty, ill health, age, and commitment to care make them especially vulnerable to the suffering in which all people have some share at this time.

Finally, let us live today looking to the renewed world that the Holy Spirit is bringing about, remembering that our Lord and Life-giver is in us, bringing new life and hope to the world. As God’s people, we continue praying and living for a renewal of God’s creation.

Prayer of Intercession

God of all, we pray that our local congregations may find ways to model the love of Christ in their communities that struggle with illness and death due to the pandemic. In this great work of care, may we work to bridge the political, economic, and racial inequalities that exist and contribute to the suffering brought by the pandemic.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray that the Spirit of unity and peace would bring healing and resilience. May your people continue to abide under the shadow of your strength as they take shelter in you, placing their trust in your deliverance.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving Lord, grant help to communities living in fear so that they will be strengthened as they face the threats of job losses, hunger, bereavement, and disease. Grant them courage and hope.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Compassionate God, we bring before you today those within our global family for whom physical distancing is impossible. We pray for your gracious protection of them. Through this global crisis, may we all be drawn closer to you and so closer to each other.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

As faith communities, may we find ways to show and witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ to all among us who are hurting. May we have the courage and gifts to be the Body of the Risen One in this time of our world’s suffering.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We join together in praying as Jesus taught us: Our Father . . .


God bless you and keep you. God care for you.

God keep you safe. God fill your life with love.

May God radiate the warmth of our hearts and shine through the peace of Christ every day until his world is here. Amen

(taken from the Mennonite Hymnal (Germany / Switzerland)


Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission.