Prayers & Reflections

Prayer and articles will be shared here from time to time.


Please click here to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Rose-Anne Reynolds shared on 6 June 2021.

Only 11 days had passed

From 10 May until 21 May 2021, of the 241 people killed who were mainly Palestinian, 69 children were killed in Gaza and 2 in Southern Israel. They were all under the age of 18. Their names and ages are known.

While we were sleeping, while we were watching news reports that are increasingly more difficult to get out of Gaza, with increasing violent intimidation of journalists, while some were protesting, children made more and more vulnerable by adults who are engaged in deadly acts of warfare are killed.

Every child’s life matters but the billion dollars from the USA, that was just approved this week, for the sole purpose of reinforcing the iron dome that protects Israel from the rockets from Hamas mean the children of Gaza are made a billion dollars more vulnerable. The children of Gaza are already growing up in an area with deep insecurity around their safety and well-being. Under a constant threat of war. An average 15 year old living in Gaza would have lived and or died through 4 Israeli offences already.

So – the children die, and we watch the news. The children die and we read newspaper reports. The children die and we update our social media statuses to reflect our awareness…and only 11 days have passed.

Let us pray:
Just 2 weeks ago 69 children in Gaza and 2 in Israel have died. It is too soon to move on. Today we light the candle of peace, hope and justice for these 71 precious children. We pray for the 71 empty desks at their schools or places of learning – desks that will never be filled by these children again, a constant reminder to their classmates, so schools become the holders of memories instead. There will be 71 fewer exams to mark, 71 projects fewer to complete, 71 fewer birthday parties to plan for, fewer drawings to finish, soccer matches to play in. 71 fewer opportunities for a lifetime of laughter or even joy. We pray for the 500 schools in Gaza that are damaged and the 3 schools in Israel. We pray for the countless numbers of children who are having their education (and lives) disrupted so adults can go to war. Wars that are idolised, sentimentalised and memorialised. I pray for comfort for the families who have lost children, grandchildren, cousins and siblings.

Dear God,

I pray that it will be possible for the children of Gaza and Israel to know peace in this lifetime.
That the cruelty they live with will stop.
That war will be given another name for these three letters are not enough.
That one child’s death could cause a ceasefire.
That saving one child’s life would be enough.
Amen


Please click here to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Lee Anne de la Hunt shared on 23 May 2021.

Prayer for peace, justice and hope

For many years I had a job that made me face on almost a daily basis, the realities of life for poor people in Cape Town. If I was not supervising law clinics on the Cape Flats or in the townships, I was in the magistrates’ court.  Now, for the most part, I live and work in a protected bubble.  It is very safe for me to drive or Uber from our quiet flat in Vredehoek to my secure parking in a secure building in Keerom Street with 24-hour security.  Even were I to walk to work, I can safely do so with my laptop bag over my shoulder and the worst that happens to me is a homeless person with mental health problems wanting to engage in conversation.

Now, like many middle class Capetonians, I rely on the media and the woman who cleans my home each week to give me just an idea of the challenges of living in a township in my own City.  Earlier this year she was telling me that she was looking for an old television, so that “people” would not steal it. She described how strangers would walk into your home and take something valuable, like a flat screen TV. There is no point in reporting the crime, and it is likely that the person in your community who spotted the new TV would tip-off the people who brazenly walked into your home.

That was shocking in itself. Then, two months ago Nomandile’s younger brother was shot and killed after work one day as he went to buy food for his family. Today, two weeks ago her twenty-two year old daughter was raped by men with balaclavas when she walked home from visiting a friend. Distraught, she asked me why God was punishing her.

Alan asked me to mention the killings in Khayelitsha in our prayers for peace and justice today. My understanding from the media is that last weekend’s killings related to revenge killings between protection gangs.

What came of the Commission of Inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha? Protection, or extortion rackets develop when the state – at any level of government – does not protect its citizens. In Khayelitsha (and other townships) it is not just a question of being killed in the cross-fire of a revenge killing spree. What was extortion from small businesses, such as Somali spaza shops, developed into protection money being demanded from residents – poor people living in fear.

Protection racketeering as a means of extracting money, whether in the townships or in Long Street, feeds on fear which the protection gangs must themselves feed in order to close and perpetuate the vicious cycle.

Prayer

We pray for all people in this city who live in a permanent state of fear and anxiety.

Comfort those who mourn the loss of a loved one who was the victim of violent crime.

Comfort those who mourn the loss of freedom and innocence, and the loss of what little security they had.

Comfort those whose faith is a loving God has been tested and even destroyed through their suffering.

Strengthen the powerless and convict the powerful.

Bless us with extreme discomfort so that we may do the things which we thought cannot be done, to work towards a just society where police are deployed fairly across the city, and where no one is forced to seek protection.

Amen.


Please click here to download the Opening Prayer (2021 05 16) by Rev. Dr. Peter Storey.

Jesu, lover of our souls – and our minds and our bodies,
We fly to you today.

We meet,
both gathered and widespread,
together and dispersed,
some of us ‘socially distanced’ in this sanctuary,
some with loved ones in our homes,
and others of us perhaps sitting without anyone beside us,
and yet others tuned in from distant places.

Wherever we are, Jesu, lover of us all,
we find ourselves bound together
in an act as old as two thousand years
and as fresh as this morning’s dew.

This thing called ‘worship’ is a beautiful mystery, Lord,
wherein, by our words and actions,
by the posture of our hearts,
the opening of our minds
and the words on our lips,
we declare the ‘worthship’ of our God.

And …

Jesu, lover of us all,
in the mystery called grace
we find that in this act you meet us
and your good Spirit speaks deep within ourselves
telling us again that we are your beloved,
held in an embrace that will never let us go.

And …

the warmth of that embrace is such
that broken places inside us begin to heal,
wholeness begins to happen,
peace comes to the heart of who we are.

And more than that …
wondrously, your Spirit lifts us out of ourselves,
and we can change to be more like you,
lifted out of our self-obsession into seeing others with new eyes – your eyes,
out of our ego-love into love of others,
love of stranger
and even love of enemy.

And then, Jesu lover of us all…
When that happens,
We have worshipped,
We have begun to love the Lord our God
with all our hearts,
and all our minds,
and all our souls
and all our strength.

Let that happen for us this morning Lord,
whoever we are and wherever we are,
Help us to worship.
In your name we pray.
Amen

 

Now, as one family we pray …

Our Father/Mother in heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your Kin-dom come, your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive those who are in our debt.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For yours in the kin-dom,
The power and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen


Prayers on 2021 05 09

Please click here  to download Sunday’s prayer by Alan Storey.

Holy One, with the psalmist of old we gather to sing you a new song …
With all of creation we gather to make a joyful noise.

With the clouds that pattern the sky:

  • that provide a playground for the birds
  • that provide sporadic-shady-relief for labourers
  • that join the heavens and earth with life-giving rain…we praise you.

 

With the trees that pattern the land:

  • that provide a playground for the millions of insects and trillions of microscopic life forms that our lives unknowingly depend on
  • that provide shade to sit for a morning cup of tea
  • that draws water from the life-giving soil, overcoming gravity, into leaf and light of day … we praise you.

 

With the people that pattern our lives:

  • that provide homes not only for our bodies, but for our hearts
  • that provide shade from burning judgement and rejection
  • that draw our love out of our depths by their loving – keeping our hearts from turning to   stone … we praise you.

 

We sing your praises for as the psalmist says, you have done marvellous things Oh Lord. You, secure victory after victory. And the victory you secure is the constant memory of your steadfast love and faithfulness. This really is your greatest victory as it was for Jesus – remaining true in steadfast love and faithfulness no matter the circumstances … including crucifying circumstances. We confess that we forget this. We forget your steadfast love and faithfulness, and your call to only concern ourselves with the victory of love and justice.

We confess that we are often obsessed about other victories that are no victory at all. The childish type of victory that depend on the defeat of some – the exclusion of some – the impoverishment of some – the estrangement of some – the belittlement of some… and even the death of some. The victories that alienate and hurt, that over time fester into fresh conflict … demanding another battle and probably another victory that is no victory at all because it too excludes, impoverishes, estranges, etc. etc. and so on and so on.

Forgive us for wasting your time with our prayers that seek to enlist you on to our side … as if you took sides in our childish ways. Forgive us for failing to remember that you do not have favourites. Forgive our logic that says for there to be a winner there must be a loser. Forgive our culture that prizes competition over co-operation. That says first place is the only place and that no one ever remembers who comes second. Remind us that in the end the last will be first and the first will be last. Remind us that you favour justice, mercy and humility … and care little for our categories of nationality, religion and culture, around which we have shed so much blood.

You rejoice when we find common ground with our neighbours and celebrate when we humbly discover that we are no different from our enemy. By your Spirit open us to the wonder of all people. By your Spirit free us from all our beliefs that keep us separate from others. By your Spirit prod us past our prejudice to discover and rejoice in the full diversity of our human family. Help us to climb over the hurdles of our own arrogance to engage with others on the level ground of dignity and respect. By your Spirit enlist us in your ever-expanding embrace of the world. That we may put flesh on your love for all – all meaning all. Amen.

Please click here to download the 2021 05 09 Mother’s Day Prayer by Yvette Andrews.


Please click on this link to download the 2021 05 02 Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Carolin Gomulia.

In the last 10 days we saw how India with its more than 1.3 billion people is completely overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and it might soon be another country. It is yet another sign that we have learned little and that the ‘new normal’ could better be described as an old normal with even more depth and horror’  – the old normal of inequality, greed and power.

Let us pray.

Lord we pray for India for the 1000s of people suffering of COVID, the many grieving families and the health care workers who are completely overwhelmed. We pray Lord that there will soon be relief and dropping numbers. We pray for all countries and people who are not on our radar suffering the effects of this pandemic. Please help the people affected by COVID-19 all across the globe to not lose hope. 

Oh Lord, when will we learn that we are all dependent on one  another? When will we understand that only when we all look out for each other across borders and continents that we can fully live in love, by love and for love. You have enabled the genius in us to develop vaccines – even more than one, yet we are not willing to share and distribute those – as it is the case with so many other things.  

Dear Lord please help us to understand that COVID-19 did not cause a new normal but yet another event that shows the deeply divided, unjust and unequal world we live in. It is a wake-up call that our established systems are not sustainable and that it is on all of us to not accept but act.

Lord give us hope, give us wisdom and a clear mind – not to despair in this overwhelmingly challenging times but to continue believing that we can make a difference. Amen


Prayers on 18 April 2021 by Alan Storey

Please click on this link to download the Opening Prayers.

Prayer of Praise, Confession and Thanksgiving

Gracious Deliverer receive our gratitude and praise today.
You gift us with freedom
And you encourage us to use it to choose life, from the life and death choices, ever before us,
Too often we choose death
Making you sad more than angry
You wait for us with a forgiving heart, longing for us to return to knowing that we are loved by you and therefore loveable.
You hear us when we call out to you from the place where death has led us – caught in our own nets
You see us while we are still far off
You run to us with welcoming embrace
You clothe us with love that covers the full multitude of our sin
You claim us family – as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever – calling us beloved
You prepare a room for us filled with your generous mercy where we can rest and recover from our failures, betrayals and denial of your love.
Refusing to be determined by our past, you call us again – trusting that this time we can be faithful
You remind us that you need us – that our lives matter – that how our little lives count – count even in the large scheme of things
You gift us with responsibility – and with it you affirm our dignity and worth
And you do all this over and over again – more than 70×7, you repeatedly deliver us from evil – from our evil
For this we sing your praises. For this our hearts overflow with great gratitude…in the knowledge that when our own hearts condemn us – you are greater than our heart.

And for this reason, we return today, confident to be met by your mercy…to be met by your forgiving love – your forgiving love that sets us free – your forgiving love that resurrects us to new life and changed living in thought, word and deed.

May your mercy touch and release our patterns of thinking that keep us captive to a diminished sense of self and of others. When we are tempted to think of ourselves and others as less than beautifully beloved, as less than wondrously made and of priceless worth. Touch our eyes with your mercy again and again until we see ourselves and others clearly. Touch and heal the thought within us that makes us believe we are less than or more than everyone else. That we are worse than or better than. Go deeper and remove our compulsion to compare and compete with others rather than encourage and celebrate.

May your mercy touch our vocabulary – that our words may be true. Neither censored by fear, nor embellished by exaggeration. Words that are spoken in such a way that allow room for the words of others. Welcoming words. Affirming words. Words that create a spaciousness. Words that decentre us and centre others. Words that invite participation. Words that build and bridge rather than words that silence, divide and exclude, leaving others on the periphery. Words that bring light to the darkness and resurrection where death is entrenched.

May your mercy saturate our deeds – that we will act gently and justly in all things. Release our deeds from thoughtless hurry – where we are in such a rush that we miss all possibility of honoured connection with those around us. May our deeds be of service to your dream of justice and shalom in the world. May they favour those that society is bias against. May our deeds turn up-side-down the unjust hierarchies that determine a person’s life by their place of birth, colour of skin….

By your mercy, resurrect us today we pray. Open us by your spirit to be receptive to your inner workings where we can’t reach but so desperately need healing. Give us the assurance through your Spirit that in you we are a new creation. That from now on our lives can begin over. That even though we are old, we can be born again. That our lives and relationships and society and world can be resurrected to new life. Give us this assurance we pray. And more than this assurance – free us from fear to give our lives as a living sacrifice in your service – of life and love. Amen.

Candle Prayers on 18 April 2021 by Alan Storey

Please click on this link to download the Candle Prayers.

Let us pray…

Every present God we pray today for those who are in hospital – separated from their families and friends as a result of covid. Separated from the people who know them and love them dearly. The separation is for everyone’s health and safety – yet it brings with it, its own set of suffering side effects … of aloneness that exacerbates the sense of vulnerability and anxiety that then deepens the trauma they are already experiencing.

When they need it most – they find themselves separated from those closest to them – from family and friends who would otherwise journey with them offering comforting words or a silent presence that is beyond all words. And more than that – they would communicate their love with touch. Hugging and holding. Caressing and clasping. The healing that comes through touch. Touch that reminds us we are not alone. Touch that affirms our humanity.

We know you know how important touch is. Surely this was one of the reasons you came to us in the flesh. To touch not only our spirit but our body. In the gospels we read so often about Jesus touching people – and the healing that flowed from his touch. Today we give you thanks for those on the frontlines of this pandemic. Those who work tirelessly in the health system, not just in SA but around the world. Who try to fulfil the role of family and friends over and above their role of medical practitioner. For the imaginative ways they offer comfort – we give you thanks. And for the myriads of ways people everywhere make your hand felt and your touch known – through creative and compassionate acts of caring.

May the truth that we cannot be separated from you and your love be known to all at this time, especially those who are experiencing the trauma of isolation. May the truth that you have the whole world in your hands be their comfort…and not only for those in hospital but may the truth of your un-separating presence and loving hold be known to all who are struggling, suffering, grieving in and from isolation today.

For the teenager being bullied at school … For Lufuno Mavhunga of Limpopo – 15 years old driven to take her own life because hope and love had been teased and assaulted out of her, leaving her in a “pond of pain”.

For the continued killing of unarmed black men by the police – this time a South African in Hawaii: Lindani Myeni.

Lufuno and Lindani – are individuals yet their lives and deaths point to something broad and deep within our society and world. They reveal the profound brokenness we carry within us – that we may relate to other is such brutal ways. How we have internalised this brutality even as it is perpetuated through the systems of designed discrimination in the world. Lord have mercy. We are in need of your healing and merciful hand to touch us all. Amen.


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer by Dr Ian Proudfoot.

2021 04 11 Dr Ian Proudfoot: Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice.

Candle Prayer For Peace And Justice

There are a few wonderful lines in Psalm 101 where the psalmist speaks out profound words expressing the way Jesus love us to live;

“May I walk with integrity wherever I go
May I see you in all creation,
May I be a mirror of your love to all that I meet
May I reflect the freedom of your truth
and live as a beneficial presence in the world”

All over South Africa there are many, many good people, the vast majority of whom are seen by only the few that are the recipients of their goodness. Very occasionally something that starts small, inspired by these simple desires expressed by the psalmist, grows into something that makes really big waves and hits the international headlines. One such example is the fruits of something started back in 2005 by Sbu Zikondo of the shack-dweller’s movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, that now boasts a membership of over 80 000 members. It has just been awarded a prestigious prize by the Swedish government for its doggedly determined work in the face of ongoing persecution from many angles and at times even the murder of some of its members.

And then there are the hundreds of thousands of other people who just get on with it, mirroring God’s love to all they meet, walking with integrity wherever they go. They reflect the freedom of God’s truth and act as a doing-good presence in the world. Someone or maybe a few started the community action networks at the start of the COVID pandemic, the vast majority of them getting no recognition. People provide shelter for the homeless, individuals in companies, big and small, start initiatives to address structural racism, sexism, unfair labour practices. People start food gardens just to provide free food to anyone who wants it, people take in lodgers, others start initiatives to address the needs of early childhood development … and it goes on and on throughout the country. Every now and again a little story is highlighted on social media or in the press but the vast majority just carries on unnoticed, reflecting God’s love to the world.

Please join me today to pray for everyone, including each other here, involved in small beginnings, whether it continues small and ends small, grows or even becomes another ahahlali baseMjondo.

All-loving God, when you created us you declared that what you had done was good. And every time your children do good, you rejoice and again and again you say to yourself, this is good. You are the God of permanent encouragement and we ask you today to cause all those living out this goodness to hear your pleasure and to be given more courage to continue what they are doing.

In this current climate in this country of so much negativity, cause us to stop for a moment and reflect, not on our failings, but on what we are doing that mirrors your love, that lights a candle of hope and light in a country that so needs it right now. Prayer is a conversation with God, so let’s take a moment to reflect on this and allow ourselves to see it for ourselves and to know God’s pleasure.

Deeply loving God, we open ourselves to you to allow ourselves to be encouraged, to allow ourselves to know your parenting love and pleasure.

In this time in this country most of what we hear about in the media is profound deficiencies in integrity, lies bringing bondage instead of your truth setting people free and so often all we know is the loads of ‘doing bad’ that is happening. Let us instead come to God with gratitude for the many, many people who are continuing to walk in a different spirit. Let’s pause again for a moment to allow to come to mind the people we know who are just doing the stuff, reflecting God’s care and love to the world around them.

Loving God, we ask for your encouragement to find its way to all these wonderful people in a way that they would truly know it and feel it. Inspire us too, to make the effort to reach out, to say thank you, to encourage, whether it be in words, gifts, an email or a WhatsApp. Help us to incarnate the encouragement that you would love to extend to them.

And finally, whilst we in no way diminish everything we have reflected on so far, we also bring to mind and to you the big movers and shakers, those who have become big enough to challenge the principalities and powers. We ask that you would keep them strong, keep their light shining, hold their integrity steady and keep them in your truth.

And through all of us, we pray that the prayer for Africa would find expression:

God bless Africa and all the world,

Guard our children, Guide our leaders,

And give us peace. Amen

 


Easter 2021

Please click on the link below if you wish to download Easter Sunday’s Opening Prayer by Rev. Dr. Peter Storey.

2021 04 04 Easter Sunday: Opening Prayer: Rev. Dr. Peter Storey

Easter Prayer

Dear God, as we greet you joyously on this great day,

Thank you for not allowing us to come to it without pain.

This has not been an easy Lent. You have taken us on a journey of uncovering.

We have read of the Passion of your Beloved, only to find that we in turn have been read by you.  

Confronted by his emancipating truth, we have felt the clinging bonds of our self-deceptions.

Exploring the layers of anguish endured by your Beloved has exposed the layers of our complacency and complicity in the causes of that pain.

We have been overwhelmed by the sheer magnanimity of your liberating, compassionate, suffering love, only to become more sharply reminded of how we collude every day with the powers that fear it and crucify it.

It has been a hard Lent.

***

But today is the First Day of the Week!

Today we know!

We know that because of Friday, your pain-filled love for your world has nailed you to us forever.

We know that because of Jesus and because of Friday you drain the strength of deadly violence by suffering its anguish, enduring its agony, taking it into you breaking heart – and still loving, still forgiving, still holding us to yourself.

And we know that because of Jesus and because of Friday and because of today, evil is only the second-strongest force in the universe. We know that you can breathe life into that which has been dead. You can roll away the stones that hold us prisoner to the ways of death. You can make Resurrection happen.

Do it among us and for us and in us we pray.

May the life of Jesus be let loose in us today.

In the name of the crucified and risen Christ

AMEN

Our Father/Mother in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kin-dom come, your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive those who are in our debt.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kin-dom,
The power and the glory,
Forever and ever, Amen

Please click on the link below if you wish to download Easter Sunday’s Candle Prayer by Mr Siphiwe Ndlovu.

2021 04 04 Easter Sunday: Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice: Mr Siphiwe Ndlovu

Candle Prayers on Resurrection Day

Loving God, we gather this morning, different faces in different places, united by our desire to know you, to follow you faithfully and love you completely. We awake to the news of your resurrection, a clear pronouncement to the powers of evil and darkness that death shall not have the last word, that light shall triumph over dark, that love shall eclipse fear and that good shall overcome evil.

Yet sometimes it is hard to believe oh God. Sometimes we struggle to fathom how good will overcome evil. Sometimes the powers of death go beyond what our minds can grasp – so this morning we pray for this world. We pray for the violence to cease. We pray for justice to roll down like a river that never runs dry – in this world – there will be enough for all to eat, women can walk freely and be safe in their homes and no violence will be visited on any of your people. We pray for the sickness to be healed and the grief to end.

But Lord God, we also struggle with our own participation in the evil in this world, our complicity with the powers of evil, our direct and inadvertent collaboration with the powers of death. Some of us hold on to and protect our privilege gifted to us by how systems of this world work. We are content to let the systems do the sinning for us, while we reap the benefits. We kill, no we crucify, no we execute our fellow human beings. We are content, or don’t rage against systems that take necessities from the poor to give luxuries to the rich. We benefit from systems that inflict violence upon the vulnerable – and oh Lord, sometimes we ourselves inflict violence by our silence – silence in the world where kids go to bed hungry and their parents watch helplessly, silence in the face of naked greed – our carelessness and our callousness leaves many trapped in tombs of poverty and ultimate death.

So this morning we pray that the new dawn of your resurrection shall extend across our dark world. We pray that love, light and life shall be the way of the world.

And then we pray for everyone who believes – help our unbelief! While we were yet sinners, trapped in death-dealing ways you died for us. May your resurrection mean something to us and for us today. Resurrect us from the death of feeling, our numbness, let your resurrecting love touch us in our places of failure, open our eyes to your creation, open our eyes to the beauty, yes, even the beauty of our enemies, let your death and resurrection be a moment that gives us reason to pause, to reflect and to remember, remember that – we are created in love by love for love. Roll the stone away from the tombs of our fear and fill our hearts with love – love that dares to confront and contradict the powers of violence and death and injustice.

Oh Lord Jesus, we pray that your death and resurrection will change this world – but please Lord, begin with US. Amen.

 


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the opening prayer on Good Friday by Dr Gilbert Lawrence.

2021 04 02 Dr Gilbert Lawrence: Can we wait and watch with Jesus?

Can we wait and watch with Jesus?

Lord we praise the beauty of your creation. The fish in the seas, the birds in the sky celebrate your majesty. We praise you for creating all creatures, and us in your likeness. Thank you, God, for each new day, each dawn, that greets us with a hallelujah. Everyone breathes your life-giving breath, graciously given.

Lord, you came to the garden to prayer, breathing in the smell of olive trees mixed with a whiff of anxiousness and weariness. Your disciples were sleepy.

Forgive us lord when we too are tired and not in the moment. We are all so busy, even when we are not.

We spontaneously avert, sleep, work, eat or just do something. We avoid the possibility of deep, Christ imbued human engagement with our hearts and souls. Fear, nervousness, callousness, even panic, subtly, through learned responses, energise us negatively … into being, not present.

O Lord, time and again, opportunities to give hope and life, slip from our fingers; fall by the wayside.

How foolish we are. Forgive our carelessness each day. We sleep on when around us many souls are in agony of spirit, in need of care, hurting, helpless, lost, abused, belittled, ignored, labelled, betrayed, othered.

When we are awakened, literally or figuratively, we are contrite, we may even weep. But the time has passed, the moment dissolved in the mists. Imparting of love, hope, justice, grace, was not to be.

We did not watch; we did not wait. We were not present. We were not engaging with life. We were not bringing life.

Lord may we learn to journey in the presence of your presence. Unclog our hearts to be love and hope where we are and in in the world. Unblock our minds and free us from prejudice and hate, from ignoble rituals and practices. Untether our tongues to speak loudly in love and truth to the powerful and the poor. Clear our ears to hear the cries for help, unceasingly. Open our eyes to see the pain and suffering in vivid colour. Let us experience the true feeling of flesh on flesh in wiping the brow of the ill and dying.

Help us lord to be thankful for our moments and days; many, or not; so that we may share your living and loving presence, even to a cross. But, O great joy, even beyond!

Our hope Lord is in watching and waiting for your hope in us and for us, and yes lord, through us.

With the psalmist we pray

I wait for the lord.
My soul, waits, and in his word, I hope.
My soul waits for the lord, more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

Amen.


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle for Peace, Hope and Justice by Dr Gilbert Lawrence.

2021 02 28 Dr Gilbert Lawrence ~ Poverty

We light our Peace, Hope and Justice Candle today with a focus on poverty.

MOTHER THERESA: “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her, it is because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed”

That “you” can be the individual or a “collective you”.

This past week the Government, a “collective you”, presented the Budget speech.

One of the elements of the national budget is the budget for Social Grants.

Just over 18 million South Africans; vulnerable to poverty, or in need of state support, receive social grants, relief assistance, or social relief paid by the government. That’s 1 in 3 of us South Africans.

For the first time since 1994, the total social grants budget has been cut, by 2%. So, the actual increase is less than inflation.

Old age, Disability and Care dependency grants have increased by 1.6% or R10,00 to R1 890.

Child support grants have increased by 3,4% or R10,00 to R460.

Poverty as defined by Statistics South Africa:

A person or community lacking financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Essentials include housing, food, water, sanitation, work.

The South African Poverty line is R1 227 per person, per month.

Poverty and need have been compounded by the covid 19 pandemic restrictions, morbidity and mortality; economic reversals; job losses and right now; school leavers of 2020, seeking work.

People in need, continue to knock on doors, stop you in the street, forage refuse bins, stand at roadsides offering their services, beg at traffic lights, occupy unimaginable spaces to sleep, to live.

It is predicted that the no. of qualifying beneficiaries will increase by 300 000 persons this year.

Not all in need qualify; many homeless don’t, foreign nationals don’t.

There are over 3 000 verses in the Bible that talk to poverty and justice. Let us heed; the word, the prompting of the spirit, and our eyes and ears.

Let us pray:

Lord at this Lenten season, we thank you for your creation. We are so wonderfully made, in your image O God. You have created us as stewards of all creation and all the beauty and abundance of your presence is all around.

We have ability to love, care and be Christ in the world to all and all of creation.

Forgive us lord when we don’t share or care enough when we see injustice, hopelessness and despair around us, when we are not living in ways that others may discover more about you. We cry injustice more in protest than of conviction and we often continue our own incomplete lives, avoiding the pain that persistence and passion brings.

We pray Lord, for the poor in our land, made in your image.

We pray that the officials in state institution who administer the provision of grants and relief will find ways to obliterate the horrific indignities their compatriots experience in the process of receiving their grants each month.

We pray for innovation, boldness and definitive action in comprehensive policy making by Government, in addressing systemic inequity in our land.

We pray O God that the isolation regulations of Covid-19 have not further entrenched the relational divisions and physical segregation in our land, especially in our living areas, churches, and schools because of race, economics and fear.

We give thanks o God for Activists and organisations who see what we see, yet do more than we care to, to bring real help and hope. We salute the campaigns seeking sustainable systemic justice for the poor … the oppressed, for all.

Lord we pray for a deeper analysis of our conditioned understanding of wealth, poverty and inequality.

Finally. Lord, we pray for, and give thanks for, the hosts of mini Mother Theresa’s in communities who serve and feed and bring comfort, sharing from their little that others may live. Seeking to answer the pray of the poor, said and wished for, from Luke11:3.

Lord give us this day the food we need.
Amen

We say the prayer for Africa.

God bless Africa and the world
Guard our children
Guide our leaders
And give us peace

Amen


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Opening Prayer on Transfiguration Sunday by Rev. Dr. Peter Storey.

2021 02 14 Rev Dr Peter Storey Prayer ~ Feast of the Transfiguration

Feast Of The Transfiguration

Infinitely loving and patient God, we gather on this Transfiguration Sunday as always, grateful to meet with you and each other, hungry for the nourishment that comes only when hearts are lifted in worship and souls are opened to your Word of life.

We come seeking to be made different.

Today you remind us again who you are and who you want us to be, by drawing lines and connections we could not imagine without you …

You marry mountain-top visions to crowds jostling and sweating in valleys far below;

You reveal the lines between your beloved son, transfigured by your presence and among the great ones of old – and a lost and tortured soul, tossed about by seizures and convulsions;

You link our glimpses of glory in times of intense worship, with those other moments when we fail to cast out the destructive, demonic spirits that strike us dumb when we should speak, and scream within us when we should be still;

Between your Son’s promise that we will see the kin-dom come in power, and his frustrated cry that we are ‘an unbelieving and perverse generation;’

Between his frightening question, ‘how long shall I be with you?’ and his promise to be with us always.

It is because you continue to draw these lines across the chasms of contrast between you and us, Lord, that we have hope – not in ourselves, but because in the Christ you have come among us, you are among us and in spite of  – or maybe because of – our frailties and failures, you have chosen to dwell, not in the rarified  air of some mountain fastness, but with us … here in this valley we call the world.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being ‘God with us’ – for marrying yourself to us for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health …

In this time of deep vulnerability, when all our vaunted skills, our best laid plans, our sometimes cocky autonomy, our most precious relationships, our ambitions, our hopes – when all these things are laid low by an invisible intruder that we can neither touch nor see – humble us we pray, so we may revisit other invisible things that are much stronger, the things that matter most:

Caring and compassion, truthfulness and love, faithfulness and kindness, and yes, the shocking discovery that life is a much more fragile, delicate and fleeting thing than we thought, therefore to be lived with infinite care each day we are given.

That is why we are here today, why we come to you.

Lord, we believe. Please, please, help our unbelief.

Lord we have faith. Please, please help us where our faith falls short.

In your strong name we pray.

AMEN


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Levi Daniels.

2020 12 25 Candle Prayer ~ Levi Daniels

Creator G-d,

Thank you for infusing your Self into all you’ve created. Thank you for putting on flesh to come and live among your Creation. Being G-d, you could have arrived any way you wanted to: in thunderclouds, on a meteorite, or even cruising down from heaven in a Lamborghini spacecraft. 

But you didn’t. You chose to go through the dangerous, bloody process of birth, and to be born to so-called nobodies, amongst animals, in a stable!

Lord, were you born today, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, your mother may have lived in a crowded household where social distancing is impossible. If your grandmother were to get critically ill with COVID-19, she may have been one of those able to recover with the help of a ventilator, but whom instead passed away, because hospitals were at capacity and she wasn’t on medical aid.

May this possibility stir in us the deep desire to broaden our perspective of who is family and who is our neighbour. 

Mother G-d, please remind us, daily, that we are all made of the same dust and breathe. Remind us that we are connected to all Creation.

Mother G-d, please strengthen our frontline workers. Be with those performing medical duties and those sanitising surfaces. Divine Breath, would you breathe new life into the battle-weary, especially now as more contagious strains of COVID-19 are spreading in the UK and here in South Africa. 

Father G-d, we are facing powerlessness more often now than ever. Please help us to settle into your Flow instead of fighting it.

We confess that at times we’ve grown weary of wearing masks and social distancing. We’ve left room for the transmission of this virus.

Mother G-d, help us to do what we know must be done to stay safe from COVID-19 this Christmas.

Gracious G-d, have mercy on us. Strengthen us whom are battling to stay afloat. Comfort us who mourn.

Divine All, thank you for being Incarnate as Life in all its forms.

Thank you for showing up in the breath of wind which move the seas, the same breath that fills our lungs.

On this day Lord, we remember your human incarnation and the full life you lived as an example to us. Help us to stay tethered to your ways of humility, peace and justice, especially when we feel unworthy or weary.

And now Divine Breath, as we celebrate your human incarnation, would you help us to lean into joy with an ease which surpasses understanding? Help us unwind so we can celebrate today with gusto. Open us up to delight and allow us to invite light into our homes. Amen. 


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Opening Prayer by Sophie Joans.

2020 12 20 Sophie Joans ~ Opening Prayer

Almighty God, Heavenly Power of Love,

Thank you for today. For carrying us through one helluva year in which we’ve seen the best and worst of humanity that comes out when we face crises, and in which the best and worst has been brought out in ourselves.

In times of pain and fear, we thank you for your human angels, people just like us, who know that their cups shall overflow, and so let their love flow and bring light where they go.

Forgive us, and let us forgive ourselves, for all the times we felt that our rivers of love had run dry, for all the times fear has made us close the door, for all the times pain has made us harden our hearts, for all the times we’ve felt too over-stretched and stressed that we’ve curtly said: There’s no room in my Inn.

And in those times, let the water start to trickle. Show us that our cup is full and running over.

Remind us of the human angels we’ve encountered in our lives – the ones on Earth still, and ones who live in our hearts and in Heaven, people who we had the privilege of knowing and loving, or strangers who were generous in a fleeting moment, who we may never meet again.

Remind us that we are so much stronger than we think we are. And, God, please send strength to all those who are currently battling COVID-19 and help them get through it.

Remind us that choosing love doesn’t cost anything. That, most of the time, no one is trying to hurt us, but that humans just make a lot of mistakes.

Remind us that we too can be human angels. And that even human angels can have bad days and forget you, that’s what makes us human.

Just keep shepherding us back to your redemptive love. Amen.


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Carolin Gomulia.

2020 03 15 Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice

The Covid-19 virus has been top of mind for most of us in the past few days. So let’s pray together about it.

 Dear God

The world finds itself facing a pandemic. It is a virus that was most likely caused by us humans not respecting your creation. Let us learn from this pandemic and acknowledge the interdependence of all living beings and nature.  Let it be a lesson for the future how we live, work and interact.

Lord give us hope to not despair in this time of uncertainty. Every morning when we wake up, it seems as if the world is a different place. Help us to remember that times of uncertainty are also times when opportunity and wonder emerges. Systems that we thought are static and unchangeable have crumbled or shifted within a few days.

God we acknowledge that this virus has evoked waves of fear and panic in us. Fear is the opposite of love. Fear makes us act, think and behave in unloving and harmful ways. We become xenophobic, exclusionary, ignorant and self-centred. Help us to fight the disease of fear within us and ensure that love remains our main purpose in the world. This virus can only be overcome through solidarity and love, not war and hate.

We need your guidance and support to remain level-headed in the next months. Lord help us to listen to reason and wisdom. Help us to do what is right, to follow instructions from health authorities without trying to be cleverer or opinionated. Let us participate in safety and security measures, let us lead by example in practising what we have been asked to. Yet, let us not forget to show mercy to the sick and affected.

We pray for the people who have lost loved ones to this virus. At this point their dead family members are often only statistics accompanied by explanations that this virus is not as deadly as others before. Families who have lost loved ones still need our compassion in their time of grief.

Lord have mercy on us. Let our trust in you not be broken. Protect us and guide us to do the right thing and most importantly to continue living our lives in love, by love and for love.

Amen.

Let’s now pray the prayer for Africa.


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Rose-Anne Reynolds.

2020 02 09 Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice 

For Enock:

It has only been three weeks since the school year started in South Africa. But it has been 3 long painful weeks since Enock Mpianzi, a South African child born of Congolese parents died, drowned at his Grade 8 orientation camp. His body was only recovered the day after he drowned, because the children who watched him get swept away were by the ignored by the adults they told.  

Today we light the candle of Peace, Justice and Hope for Enock.

Enock Mpianzi, you will be remembered. When we hear your name, we will listen. It will not be like when your name Enock, was said over and over again at that camp and ignored. Now that it is too late we will listen. 

Now we have to pay our respects, when we should have paid attention, and cared and shown love.

Let us pray:

Dear God, help our government leaders to focus on the real socio-political problems in our country and not only on identifying a perfect scapegoat for the public and media, so that we may not go to sleep again while the children of our country continue to get into difficulty, to struggle and eventually drown in the depths of neglect, abuse, poverty, violence, marginalisation and fear!

Lord help us to choose to respect children when they are alive and not to only pay our respects to them when they are dead. Lord, the respect being afforded to Enock in death would and could have been assurance that he could still be alive. He died in a brutal way and we should not let words like negligence, culpability, indemnity be associated with his death.

Loving God, let us examine our choices and how we as adults contribute to creating a situation where it is possible for a child (in 2020) to tell an adult that a child they met, greeted, spoke to, is now missing and for them to be ignored. When will we realise that it is race… poverty… a culture of exclusion and then assimilation that can allow a child, a child, to simply disappear under the water.

Lord, give us the courage to question why only adults will be deemed suitable to investigate Enock’s death, to serve on commissions of inquiry and to draw up the new guidelines and hopefully legislation to prevent this from happening to another child. Children will be excluded from these meetings, from these decisions and from these enquiries. 

Dear God let us take inspiration from the children who tried to save Enock’s life in the first place, who by speaking up now will be saving him in death. But the way we choose to live is not to honour or acknowledge that children could most easily tell us how his death could have been prevented…we just have to ask them, we should ask them, they will know, they can tell us… if we listen when they tell us.

Lord help us to see that we don’t have to wait until children grow up and leave school to know what is wrong, deadly or damaging in a school and its culture and historical biases, in order to change it. We can ask children now and listen and hear what they have to say and work to change what actually causes death and support and encourage what brings and sustains life and love!

I end with a quote from Henri Nouwen who says: “It belongs to the centre of the Christian message that children are not properties to own and rule over but gifts to cherish and care for. Our children are our most important guests, who enter into our home, ask for careful attention, stay for a while and then leave to follow their own way. Children are strangers whom we have to get to know.”

Enock Mpianzi, you will be remembered. When we hear your name, we will remember to listen.

Let us pray the prayer for Africa:
God Bless Africa and all the world
Guard her children
Guide her leaders and
Give us peace
Amen.


Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Joan Proudfoot.

2020 01 19 Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice

At this time of year we stop to consider the meaning of covenant. I looked up possible synonyms for the word and nothing seemed adequate or equal in matching its deep truth. The word stands alone and as such requires us to pay heed to it. We do so now in the context of the peace and justice candle…

Let us pray…

Jesus, we come to you with a deep gratitude in our hearts this morning for your covenant, not only to us as individuals, but to the imagining, to the on-going creating, to the ever grace-filled invitation to join you in bringing about a world where peace and justice characterize its existence. In covenanting, we recognise that, from your side, you have made a promise that you have locked deep inside you and then thrown away the key. It declares loudly the nature of your being – a being that is committed to ensuring that every person, every part of creation, holds equal value. We acknowledge that, until we align ourselves to this deep truth, we have not fully understood you.

We confess that we are scared of the word “covenant”. It seems to demand too much from us and, as a result, on our side, we hold back from entering into covenant with you, holding onto the key in our wavering commitment to working towards justice and peace in this world. We are often scared to even begin because we fear we may fail. But we get it wrong when we think that success is about achieving it. We know only too well from the recent happenings in our sanctuary that we are not capable of making it happen in the way we would like. So what does it mean? Covenant seems to demand something deeper, something that is equal to tectonic plates deep in the earth’s core, shifting and clicking into new places. Covenant is like that. It puts us in a new place whereby we come to believe, so deeply, that our very breath depends on it, that justice and peace are essential to our very existence, to the existence of our children and their children and we dare not let go of that truth. We owe it, in the very least, to the children we send to school for an education that claims to equip them for life but seems to produce a people that perpetuate injustice and violence.

So we ask you to forgive our unbelief, our not daring to imagine, our not believing enough to hope that there is another way of being. Please will you envision us to live creatively, always to be looking for ways to live out the truth that your ways are indeed higher than ours. Forgive our arrogance in thinking we know better. Please give us an understanding of covenanting that causes us to work together, for we

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