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Congregational Prayer 8/24

Holy God as we come before you in prayer once again we come with hearts that our heavy because it seems one thing that hasn’t changed about human existence for thousands of years is the presence of evil, violence, depravity, and wickedness that cause us to lament and mourn and weep. There is so much causing us to lament in these days. From the conflict in Gaza that has left more than 1,000 civilians dead, to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over the skies of Ukraine, to the Ebola outbreak getting worse by the day in the nations of West Africa, to the shooting of another unarmed black teenager here in the U.S., the news this summer is enough to make a person feel paralyzed with helplessness and despair. Our prayers these days are of the tired, desperate sort that we read in so many Psalms of lament: How long, O Lord? Will you hide your face from us forever?

We lament the utter disregard for human life and dignity wherever it manifests itself – whether among those who murdered the brave journalist Jim Foley, those from Hamas who callously and publicly murdered alleged collaborators, or any others who don’t regard human life as sacred.

In our own country there is lamenting, fear and frustration as well. One sixth of Americans don’t have enough to eat, 23% of children in the United States live below the poverty line.

Help us to listen and learn to voices different from our own. We cannot forget the Word of God through Isaiah: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Help us loose the chains of injustice in our communities and in our country.

God we thank you today for the blessings of freedom and the joys of summer we’re still enjoying. Be with students and their families as they go off to school. Touch with healing those who need your power and grace. We thank you for the many people who give of themselves in an abundance of ways at BBC and ask your blessing on David and Barbara as they begin their ministries with us. Deliver us from apathy, indifference, and despair and inspire us to open our hands and hearts to be your instruments of healing, hope, peace, compassion, love and justice we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen