Our heavenly father
we thank you for this beautiful corner of the earth where you have placed us with its mountains and lakes, its green fields and forest glades.
And yet Lord we are aware of simmering discontent within our community as intolerance, sectarianism, racism, fear and violence or the threat of violence, and the real hurts of the past drive people apart and lead to suspicion of those who are perceived as different.
Father, as Christians in a country which has been open to the gospel for centuries we confess that we have failed miserably to be the salt and light that your word so clearly commands us to be – within our communities, our workplaces and indeed within our churches.
And so Lord, as we remain without closure on issues which are a source of division and continuing strife, we pray for our political leaders and all who work with them. We pray for a mind-set that asks not just “What can I do for my own side” but has a higher ambition which asks “How can your will be done on earth as it is in heaven?”
Lord, we pray that you will use political leaders and ordinary people like ourselves to bring that vision of a society here that is transformed by your Spirit so that it is indeed like Heaven. A society where
- peace is nurtured and genuine reconciliation facilitated, so that all can live free from violence and the threat of violence;
- truthfulness is encouraged, fostering trust and forming the basis for dealing with the pain of the past, engaging with present problems and forging a more hopeful future for all;
- diversity is celebrated and our interdependence is recognised whilst sectarianism, racism and other prejudices that create a climate of fear and division are rejected;
- democracy is cherished and fully participative, the rule of law respected and all communities are liberated from the oppressive grip of organised criminality and paramilitary activity;
- justice is treasured, and all citizens are treated equally under the law while victims are treated with compassion, and social wrongs set right, so that all might enjoy personal dignity and equality of opportunity;
- rights are valued, and mutually respected within a context where people also recognise their mutual responsibilities and relationships, and where people are prepared to forego their legitimate rights in order to enshrine the rights of others;
- hope and imagination are fostered, thus transforming the dynamic of public life and raising personal aspirations.
Lord, will you endow each one of us and those who claim your name in this country with grace and open handed generosity, particularly to those with whom we differ – since you have extended unfathomable love to us, even though we are utterly undeserving.
We ask that your people will be drawn to pray with expectation in the days ahead, that hopelessness will be transformed into hopefulness and that we will see a breakthrough, first in our own attitudes and then more widely in the community; and that we will rejoice together as we see justice flowing like rivers and righteousness as an ever rolling stream.
In Christ’s name we pray.
Click here to read PCI article: Eight Reasons why Building Good Relations is Important for Irish Presbyterians