Saturday, 26 January 2008

Relating rightly

This is my twenty-first prayer for the voiceless, Lord, and I'm feeling so sad. Is there no end to the ways in which this world will degrade and abuse women and girls? Isn't it time we cried out for justice? for freedom? for right ways of relating that respect each person in the relationship?

If God can honour Rahab, if Jesus can enable the woman at the well to be his first apostle, can the world not see that women are just as much your children, whoever they are, whatever they do or have done to them, as any other human being?

And can they not see that to be your loved child is to have innate dignity and worth?

Father, I pray that you will so act, that no-one will find it profitable to exploit women and their bodies.

I really believe I can pray this in the name of your son, who loved and valued women without ever exploiting them.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Honour killings

After the conviction of a father and uncle for an honour killing of a lovely 20- year-old woman, Detective Inspector Caroline Goode is reported as saying:

"Clearly there is no honour in killing."

Caroline added, "I think it is the ultimate betrayal for a parent to kill a child."

Thank you, Lord, for detectives like Caroline, who will uncover and prosecute such crimes.

Dear Father God, I pray that you would both comfort and protect the victim's sister, who is reported to be hiding from her family. The sister is quoted as saying:

"To do this to their own flesh and blood was unforgivable. Forgiveness isn't even a question. They don't deserve to be on this earth."

Dear Lord, please heal this young woman, who must have suffered shock, terror and grief. In your mercy, Lord, I pray that you would also heal the souls of those who feel it necessary to kill for honour. I pray that in your willingness to forgive, you would cleanse their hearts of all such thoughts, and show them the sanctity of human life. I pray that they would see parenthood as a sacred trust and privilege, granted by you, and never to be abused in this way.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Teenage mothers

Dear Lord,

I thank you that Mary, mother of Jesus, was willing to carry the child for whose arrival the world had waited so long. Thank you Lord or Jesus, who was that child.

The developed world is now seeing teenage pregnancy as a problem, citing the likelihood that teenage mothers will not complete their education, that they will bring their child up alone, and in poverty, and that both the child and the mother will be at risk of social exclusion.

The developed world points to the high infant mortality in countries where teenage marriage is commonplace, forgetting that it is more likely to be poverty than the age of the mother which is the risk factor.

Father, my prayer is for every child who is born to be a planned and wanted baby. I pray that no child in the whole world should be brought up in such poverty that his or her physical, educational or emotional health and development is at risk. I know that the change has to start with those who have the economic power to make a change. Please help Christians in the developed world to maintain a concern for and a focus on children of all nations, and to see them as a priority.

I also pray that you will fill young people with a knowledge and respect for their own potential, and enable them to develop to fulfill their own potential and their own dreams.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Female Genital Mutilation

According to the United Nations, three million girls a year are subjected to genital mutilation. For the average girl, there is no use of anaesthetic or sterilized instruments. The damage done is irreversible.
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Lord, may your creation be respected and honoured. May all people understand that every part of a girl's body is created good and clean, and for a purpose which you have designed.

Father, I pray that you would empower the women of countries and cultures where FGM is practised to gain respect for their own bodies, to organise themselves to advocate for their sisters and daughters to be protected from this brutal violation and to change hearts and minds so that both laws ands customs hold this practice as wholly unacceptable.