19 November 2015

Prayers for refugees and those suffering persecution

Over at the blog of Catholic Answers (which I highly recommend), Trent Horn has a post with three things you can do about the Syrian refugee crisis. His suggestions are, in some sense, rather obvious, but we sometimes need to be reminded of the obvious:
  1. Don't rely on Facebook's French flag filter;
  2. Do something; and
  3. Pray
This last one is perhaps the most obvious. Even so, we do not always just what to pray for or how to pray. Well, we do, I suppose, but we do not always know how to express how petition before the throne of grace.

To help us put the desires of our hearts into words, Trent shares with us a Prayer for the People of Syria from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.

Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.

Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace. 

O God of hope and Father of mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs. 

Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
The prayer itself is adapted from one from a Prayer for Peace in Syria from Catholic Relief Services.

CRS also provides a somewhat lengthier Prayer for Iraq:
Gracious God,
we join our cries today with the people of Iraq:
who have seen too much violence,
who have seen too much war,
who have seen too much displacement,
who have seen too much mourning
and borne far too great a burden.

We cry our for peace.
We cry out for stability.
We cry out for healing.
We cry out for neighbors living as neighbors,
as we are meant to live.

For whether we call ourselves
Christian or Muslim,,
Sunni or Shiitte,
Jew or Arab,
Kurd or Mandaean,
whatever the name,
when we take up arms against our neighbor,
even when we so much as turn from our neighbor,
we shame ourselves before you.

So, we turn in prayer toward our neighbors in Iraq
in their time of great need.

In solidarity with these sisters and brothers,
we cry out to you:
Let there be joy where there is mourning.
Let there be hope where there is fear.
Let there be stillness where there is violence.
And let there be peace.
A just and lasting peace.

Lord, your grace abounds.
May it rest upon the peoples of Iraq
today and always.

I could not find a prayer at the CRS or USCCB web sites specifically for those suffering under Boko Haram - which has now killed more people than the Islamic State - in Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon. The suffering peoples of Africa are continually ignored by too many. Aid to the Church in Need in the United Kingdom, however, provides a generic Prayer for Persecuted Christians, which we can pray on their behalf:
Almighty, everlasting God,
look with compassion on all those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake.

Grant them grace to carry their cross
with patience in the name of Thy beloved Son,
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Let the chalice pass from them if such be Thy holy Will:
yet, in all things,
may Thy Will be done.

Grant to those who persecute,
light to see the truth,
and the grace of mercy and forgiveness,
for they know not what they do.

Mary, Mother of Jesus, Comfort of the Afflicted,
help thy children in their time of bitter trial.

O Lord our God,
by the sign of Thy holy cross
deliver us from our enemies.

Aid to the Church in Need in the U.S.A. (to which you should make a donation if you can) provides this Prayer for Refugees and Victims of War:
Lord God,
no one is a stranger to you
and no one is ever far from your loving care.

In your kindness,
watch over refugees and victims of war,
those separated from their loved ones,
young people who are lost,
and those who have left home
or who have run away from home.

Bring them back safely
to the place where they long to be,
and help us always to show your kindness
to strangers and to all in need.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.


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