Theologian Walter Wink says this about intercessory prayer:
When we pray, we are not sending a letter to a celestial White House where it is sorted among piles of others. We are engaged rather in an action of cocreation, in which one little sector of the universe rises up and becomes translucent, incandescent, a vibratory center of power that radiates the power of the universe.
History belongs to the intercessors, who believe the future into being. If this is so, then intercession, far from being an escape from action, is a means of focusing for action and of creating action. (Engaging the Powers, pp. 303-3-4)
When we approach our prayers for the news about the earth in this way, we pray in a spirit of hope and with a commitment to do the work God gives us to do. In that spirit, here are particular topics for prayer from this week’s news.
Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect For the Conservation of Natural Resources (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 827)
Please pray for:
The special sessionof the Nebraska Unicameral. The purpose of the special session is “to find a legal and constitutional solution to the siting of oil pipelines within the state”. The immediate issue that resulted in the decision to hold a special session is, of course, the proposal for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to cross through Nebraska’s Sandhills region. (See also Praying the News: Keystone XL Pipeline.)
The approaching UN climate conference (COP17) in Durban, South Africa. As BBC environment correspondent, Richard Black, puts it: “The task, as always, will be to find enough common ground for an outcome that takes the global community of nations forwards, if only by a few steps, rather than backwards. Such steps as there may be are likely to be small ones.” Pray for progress; pray for those involved in the conference and those they represent to remain aware of the reality of the consequences of climate change on people and other living things.
Gulf oil spill cleanup workers. Health problems linger for people who were hired to help with cleanup from the Gulf oil spill. Pray for these people and for justice to allow them full access to continuing healthcare and fair compensation.
The people of island nations, including Tuvalu. The 42-nation Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) says that proposals to delay a significant international climate agreement until 2018 or 2020 are “both environmentally reckless and politically irresponsible”. (See Island states slamwait on climate action.) Remember especially the people of Tuvalu and Archbishop Halapua’s requests for prayers and action. (See this report from the Anglican News Service and the Green Sprouts November 3 post .)
Wisdom and compassion for us all as catastrophic weather events occur more often. The Associated Press reports that a draft of an upcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts more floods, more heat waves, and more droughts in coming years.
Along with praying for these particular needs, we might pray for our own hearts to be open so we can see the needs in the world around us and gladly respond to those needs:
O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for Joy in God’s Creation (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 814)