Friday, August 20, 2021

Prayer for Afghanistan

We are weary, O God. 
Weary of the magnitude of problems in our world.
Weary of troubles that overwhelm us.
Our global community has seen too much despair
disappointment and destruction, loss and grief.
If we are on our knees in prayer, we feel we may not rise again. 
And yet, in your company, we have the courage to face our realities,
and to name them in the spirit of prayer.
In between the words, we leave space for silence,
for those things that can best be expressed only
by lament, sighs, and sorrow.
And yet, it is in these moments that the truth
of our human condition can be seen most fully,
and named most truthfully.  
We pray for Afghanistan. 
For people wearied by war, violence and destruction.
For people living under the long shadow of fear and uncertainty.
For people whose lives have been upended and in turmoil. 
For people desperate for hope, longing for peace.
We pray for shelter and safety and some semblance of certainty
for those whose lives are at the mercy
of leaders who wield power by weaponry, not wisdom. 
We pray for women and children, and their families, 
those at risk of losing life and liberty, and access to learning. 
We give thanks for the courage, strength and wisdom
that has grown silently within them, 
that it will sustain them in body, mind and spirit
and be enough for them to endure in the midst of troubles. 
We pray for those who have evacuated in fear of their lives, 
who have left behind loved ones and all they held dear,
uncertain about what happens next. 
We pray for ourselves, for we know that differences
in language and culture and customs
can serve to distance us from real human need,
until the situation is dire and threatens to overwhelm us all.  
We feel helpless, angry at inaction and delays by those with power to act,
frustrated by the foolishness and destruction of war 
while lining the pockets of those who manoevre to be beneficiaries.
Help us to find the courage to speak on behalf of others
when their voices have been silenced, 
to name ugly truths and to sow the seeds of justice.
We pray for those we name as enemies,
though the words are hard to form on our lips and in our hearts.
We pray for their awakening to the welfare and well-being of others
to see that vengeance and violence sow the seeds of dissent and despair.
May nation building be founded on justice, and the value of each person. 
We pray in the name of Jesus
who revealed to us the God of compassion and love,
a God who invites us all to be part of a new family of God,
a kin-dom of people whose lives are shaped
by love, justice, peace, compassion and right living. 
Even when we journey through dark valleys and on barren ground, 
we pray, because we are not alone:
God is with us, and remains with us forever. Thanks be. Amen.  (Rev Sandy Boyce, August 2021)

Selah (SEE-lah) is a Hebrew word used in the Psalms that means “to pause and reflect upon what has just been said.” It may be used at different times in this prayer to create a space for prayerful reflection.