Holy God we hear these ancient words from Nehemiah that describe a time of war, deprivation, struggle, and challenge in Jerusalem and the surrounding area and we think how little has changed in all these years. Like Nehemiah we hear the news of the dead and the wounded and the homes and infrastructure being destroyed in that part of the world, as well as in many other places but we aren’t necessarily moved as deeply as he was to sit, weep, mourn, fast and pray before the God of heaven.
As Nehemiah confessed the sins of the people of Israel in his day, we pray for a similar spirit of humility before you in our time on our part as well as among leaders and nations. All of us have sinned and fallen short of your glory. We have offended you deeply. We earnestly pray that the killing of children would stop in the United States, Gaza, Israel, and in every other country of the world. Pray against human trafficking and against all who would hurt or abuse other people. We pray against indifference and for an increase in love, wisdom, and compassion and ask for them to be evidenced in the Ebola and Immigration crises as they are in the Pan Mass Challenge which passed by our church this morning.
In the midst of the heart aches and challenges we also thank you for the gifts of summer – for warmth and light, the refreshing of rain that renews the earth, for time with family and friends, for food and laughter around the table, movies and mini golf, and for the simple pleasures that we discover as we get older are deepest and most precious pleasures of all.
In a world filled with so much destruction and hate, help us, like Nehemiah to be prayerful builders of love, hope, and community, we pray for our friends Teddy and Did Oprenov and for their work in Sofia, Bulgaria.
We pray for our missionaries and our partners around the globe.
We pray for ourselves, that you would inspire us to take up the challenges of mission and reaching people where we live.
Let it not be said of us, the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Move us to do all that is in our power to help reach people with the good news of your love and grace in Jesus Christ.
Deliver the addicted, heal the sick, comfort the grieving, give wisdom to the uncertain or confused, motivate the indifferent, humble the proud and arrogant, encourage the faint-hearted, be a friend and companion to the lonely.
Enlarge our hearts we pray and help us see beyond our own situations to view ourselves as part of your world we pray in Jesus’ name.