(Place candles around room)
Reading from Psalm 27:1-8
In silence meditate on the reading
Sing: “For the healing of the nations”
“Longing for light” (verses only, no chorus)
Leader reads Psalm 27:7-8
Hear me as I pray, O LORD.
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
Prayer inspired by Lamentations 5
Remember, O Lord, what has befallen your children;
Look, and see their pain and suffering.
Five years of tension, of scarce resources, of lost community and identity,
Their inheritance has been turned over to strangers, their homes, schools and businesses destroyed in the violence.
They have become orphans, fatherless; their mothers are now widows.
They are weary, but are given no rest.
They get their bread at the peril of their lives because of the sword, the gun in the wilderness.
Their skin is hot as an oven,
With the burning heat of hunger, the harshness of the climate.
Women are raped on their journeys, young women as they search for safety,
The joy of their hearts has ceased and dancing has been turned to mourning.
Young men are led away to fight against their own, and the elders’ wise words have no audience.
We weep for them,
Those whose hearts are sick and weary,
Whose eyes grow dim with tears.
For their land is empty and desolate.
A place haunted by injustice,
Surrounded by angry voices speaking defiance,
Claiming violence as a solution.
But Lord, you remain the same forever!
Your throne continues from generation to generation.
Why do you continue to forget your children?
Why have you abandoned them for so long?
Pause for silent reflection (Or play one verse of “Longing for Light” on a flute)
You are our strength and salvation, O God.
You are our hope and deliverer.
In the midst of fear and uncertainty in our lives
And when the powerless of the world are overwhelmed by mighty forces
Recall to us our true source of help.
Awaken us again to your strong presence within us.
Awaken us again to hope
Lighting of candles by participants, as leader says:
We light these candles as representations of the glimpses of light in our stories.
We light a light–
In the name of the God who creates life,
In the name of the Savior who redeems life,
In the name of the Spirit who is the fire of life.
Sing: “Longing for Light” (chorus only)
Please pray that:
– the violence and all horrors of war would stop, and that the current pause in violence will be continued and lay the groundwork for a permanent peace agreement
– God will prevent the conflict from spreading and bring an end to the war (Ps 46:9)
– the rights of all Syrians would be protected
– that God will bring forgiveness and reconciliation among the people of Syria
– that local churches who are ministering to the displaced in Syria and neighboring countries would have the strength and resources they need
– that those receiving aid would be touched by the love of Jesus
– that humanitarian aid workers would be protected as they assist those in need
– that God would bless the work of the different organizations as they continue to resettle refugees from these war-torn countries
– that God would help us be “the neighbor” (Luke 10) to the stranger and sojourner who might live or come to live near us
– that God will remind us to pray continually for the people of Syria and its neighbors