For now, this is the last set of three prayers from 500 Prayers for Young People which I’m going to publish on the blog (although I may do some more at a later date). For that reason, I thought I’d go a bit crazy and republish five prayers this time, instead of the usual three. Seriously, what a maverick.
I hope from this post, and from the others I’ve shared over the last couple of months, you’ll feel that the book is a useful resource for teenagers (and their leaders) – I guess when I wrote it I thought it’d make a good baptism or confirmation gift, or end-of-year gift for young people graduating from one age group to another, if you do that sort of thing.
This set of prayers helps young people to talk to God about issues of justice. In my experience they have no shortage of passion in this area, but sometimes struggle to know how they can make a difference. While there are certainly many ways that they can do this with their hands and feet, one of the most profound ways that they can get involved is by praying. So here are five tools that might help them do that.
1. Prayer for the starving
Lord I see on the television news, images that I can’t believe;
Can’t get my head around.
That on this Earth, where so many people have more than they could ever need,
Children and their families are literally starving.
In a world where all-you-can-eat restaurants exist, that cannot be fair;
In a world where the items in my bedroom could feed a family for a year, this isn’t right.
Lord God, please send food for the hungry,
When they stretch their hands out today, please do not leave them empty.
And Lord please change the system. Change governments. Change the heart of man.
Do not allow us to live on in this way any longer.
2. Against corrupt governments
In those nations Lord, where corruption holds up aid,
Where greed snuffs out hope,
We ask you to shake the systems,
And cast out those who would do evil.
Would you take hold of those who would put their own profit before the health and safety of the poor,
And throw them out of power.
Topple corrupt governments Lord,
Send your spirit upon whistleblowers; fan the flames of uprising against oppressors.
Bring freedom to those enslaved by dictatorships,
And justice to the casualties of greed.
3. For victims of trafficking
For the men, women and children caught up in the demonic trade of slavery I pray,
Asking you to break their chains and liberate them.
Stamp out trafficking through your people Lord,
Give the legal systems of the world wisdom and expertise,
Give police in every nation a passion for justice,
And give us the spirit of Wilberforce: raise up a generation of abolitionists who will not stop, until your Kingdom obliterates the evil of slavery once again.
4. Justice, here
Lord I ask not only for justice in places that seem distant,
But also here where I live.
I pray for honest police and fair courts,
For laws that don’t work in favour of the rich and the strong,
And against the weak and the poor.
I ask that our politicians would be speakers of truth,
And that our churches would be filled with integrity.
Even if it hurts me Lord, I pray that my life would speak of justice also,
That I might be in the centre of your will.
5. Bring justice
God of justice,
Bring justice around me,
Bring justice through me,
Lead me by your Spirit to where it is not,
Empower me by your Spirit to make it so again.