who have offered a place to shelter
when the world would overwhelm us,
you have taught us not to be afraid
but to take heart and courage
for all that You have given us in the life of Jesus Christ.
In these days of Lent
we thank You for the dry desert path
that we will walk
as we try to understand
the challenging nature
of what we find within the Gospels.
In the parched lands of our world
we pray for those
who hope to bring the freshness of Your promises
so that our world can be transformed.
We pray for those who feel that they have lost hope,
and those who seek after faith.
May we as members of Your church
discover and understand the varying needs of our world
and respond in ways
that offer a clear demonstration
of Your living presence
in the world today.
We pray for those
who seek to silence the church
and people of faith.
We remember those who do not have the freedom
to think and worship as we do,
and whose lives are lived in fear each time they speak of Christ
or worship in groups together.
Where we have the option to speak,
may we respond to those
who undervalue what we say and offer,
and speak out against
the injustices of the world.
May your church challenge persecution
and place the values of freedom of speech
and peace for the world
in the midst of those
who value only their own opinions and thoughts.
We pray for the difficult choices
with which the nations of the world wrestle.
As governments seek to balance budgets
and control finances,
may the measures used
listen to the voices
that point to the gap between rich and poor.
In building new structures of democracy
may leaders offer signs of Christ’s embrace,
where all are assured of their value and worth.
We pray for those who are unwell,
or who face other difficulties.
May they know Your presence in their lives
as Your love surrounds and comforts them,
offering Your blessing.