A PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR, by Dr. Antonios Kireopoulosá

Our Father in heaven

Lord, sometimes we forget that you created us, and that you watch over us from above, and from within our hearts. Is there any doubt as to why we sometimes go astray?á

 

Hallowed be your name

Holiness is something foreign to our everyday reality, Lord. Perhaps this started when we began to abuse the earth you gave as a gift to sustain us, and in which we once readily beheld your wonder. How do we recover this sense of awe?á

 

Your kingdom come

Your presence, Lord, is the very meaning of peace: in our hearts, in our communities, in our world. Your scriptures continually remind us of this blessing. Now that you have engaged us through faith, do we have a responsibility to help establish peace?á

 

Your will be done

Lord, your will is to see justice done among your people. Today, we hear that torture is committed against those we perceive as our enemies. How can we reconcile what you expect with what we do?á

 

On earth as in heaven

Iraq would be a good place to start, Lord. So many conflicts in the world are evidence of our denial of your will. At least we can stop the war in Iraq. Do we have the will to do so?á

 

Give us today our daily bread

You know, Lord, that the survivors of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the hurricanes in the U.S. Gulf Coast, the mudslides in Central America, and the earthquake in Pakistan could certainly use such basics as food, shelter, and medicine. How far must we go to help restore them to well being?á

 

Forgive us our sins

Often we read, Lord, of your love for the poor and the oppressed. Just as often, thankfulness for our own comforts leads to our neglect of those in need. How can we help them most?á

 

As we forgive those who sin against us

This is a tough one, Lord. We all have shortcomings, we all have contradictions. We all need mercy, and yet we don't always remember that it is up to us to also show mercy. What is it that we need to do to see that self-righteousness only breeds arrogance toward others?á

 

Save us from the time of trial

We are always afraid of how we might be judged by you, Lord, especially when we say one thing and do another. Genocide is taking place in Sudan; we know it, and we haven't done much yet to stop it. Could this be the test of this generation?á

 

And deliver us from evil

Terrorism is a terrible thing, Lord, for the violent death it seeks to bring, often in your name. Certainly human dignity requires only respect, love and understanding for one another. How do we stop this insanity, and our inclination toward vengeance?á

 

Amen

Lord, to say "Amen" means we agree with what has been prayed. Our eyes are now focused on you and your desires. They are a challenge, a mighty challenge. Can we, individually and in unity, begin to tackle them in the coming year?

á

(Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos is Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA for International Affairs and Peace.)

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