A prayer in the face of persecution

Lord, your early followers, suffered for their faith.
And there are many around the world today persecuted for their beliefs.
For them, faith is a daily encounter,
A step-by-step acknowledgement of your presence and provision.
But here we gather in safety and in peace,
And we take our freedom and our provisions for granted.
We sing and celebrate with laughter and delight;
Disconnected from the pain of the world around us.

Lord, it’s not always intentional;
But our constant smiles, our positive thinking and our happy talk
Often act as barriers to honest sharing.
Our faith seems like a series of placards condemning others to silence:
“No frowning”, we seem to say.
“No doubting”, “No sadness here”, “No pain allowed”.
And the suffering is hidden, and the pain is carried alone.

Lord, open our hearts to the burdens people carry.
We pray especially for those who grieve.
Some grieve the loss of a loved one,
While others grieve the loss of love;
Some have lost their health and independence,
Others, the opportunity to work and their sense of dignity.

Few of us are abused for our faith, Lord,
But there are many who experience violence every day.
Theirs is a silent and lonely path—
Forced to hide the abuse they dare not share;
Love broken, twisted and bitter.
Lord, open our eyes to each other’s pain;
Make us welcoming to the hurting world around us.

Transform our faith and our fellowship, Lord,
That our joy and delight becomes not a barrier but a sign of welcome.
That our gathering is not behind closed doors and unwelcoming placards,
But offers friendship and open arms, inviting and welcoming
The hurt, the helpless and the homeless.

Transform us, Lord, as you transformed the woman at the well.
Transform us from unthinking, lifeless worshipers
Into vital evidence of your grace for our community.

Transform us, as you transformed Nicodemus,
From an intellectual understanding of faith,
Into a practical caring for the body of Christ
In its pain and suffering and death.

For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
AMEN

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7 Comments

Filed under Meditation & Prayer, Prayers and Meditations

7 responses to “A prayer in the face of persecution

  1. Pingback: Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, You Lead Me | Loopyloo's

  2. Thanks Debbie. Yes Mother’s Day here too. (Aren’t they all claimed by Hallmark??) 🙂

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  3. This is a perfect prayer for this day, Ian.
    (It’s Mother’s Day here – I don’t know if it’s Mother’s Day with you, too, since it’s a Hallmark holiday?)

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  4. Hey, brother–good to “read” you today! Transformation is definitely the name of the game, if I may say it so casually–the victory over who we “were”, to be what God meant for us to be. Praise His Name! If you feel like visiting, I’m over at Grace Pieces now–you’re always welcome! God bless you–love, sis Caddo

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    • Glad to have found you again, dear sis Caddo.
      Yes, as long as we remember that it’s not our victory, but God’s.
      We don’t have to manufacture it or collect a certain number of points along the way; nor does anyone else have to approve it.
      Oh, to learn how to celebrate each other’s transformation (victories) rather than do what we in the church are so good at, criticising: “Well, you should have transformed a lot more than that.” “Yes, but what about this part of you that’s not been transformed yet?”
      God is good, and endlessly forgiving!
      And the victory he has for you on your journey, is not

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      • Oh, dear Sis Caddo. I have just read again my comment to you here. I have no idea how my last line was meant to end–certainly not as abruptly as it did. My apologies. 🙂

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