On this day we remember before you the women of the world. We give you thanks for all those women who make the world a better place. And we also remember the men who play an important role in their lives.
We plead for the women whose lives are blighted by pain and suffering.
We lift up before you women around the world who hold positions of power. In governments, in large corporations, in small businesses, in work places and in the community. May they always strive for the common good, may they exercise wise judgment and show compassion. We remember before you the Prime Minister of our near neighbour New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern. May her example of calmness and compassion in times of distress serve as example to others.
We pray for all those who are impacted by the climate emergency and thank you that we can play a small part through our support in Bangladesh. We pray for the young women and girls who are shining a light on the lack of action around the world and particularly pray for Greta Thunberg as she speaks truth to those in power who often listen but fail to act to address the problems that face us all. Keep her safe we pray and may her words and actions inspire us all and particularly those in powers to change the way we live before its too late.
We pray for women who feel powerless. Whose lives are blighted by corruption, violence, poverty and oppression in all its forms. We pray for these women whose faces we may never see. Whose stories we may never hear. Their sorrows and wounds are often hidden from view but you see them. You love them and your desire is that they will be freed to survive and prosper. We pray for all the agencies here and elsewhere that seek to empower and support these women. We pray especially today for the Hagar Project that we support and its work releasing people from slavery in many forms and preparing them for life in freedom.
We remember before you women and girls around the world who have been deprived of the educational opportunities that most of us take for granted. Keep them safe from those who would seek to keep them ignorant and uneducated. Encourage those who provide opportunities for education. And as we pray for them we pray for all the teachers amongst us who have given and are giving their lives to educating children and young people. In the silence now hold up before God women whose teaching has inspired you.
We pray for the women in our indigenous communities. We thank you for the resilience and wisdom of so many of the mothers and grandmothers who put the well being of their families and communities above their own. We give you thanks for the women of Faith in those communities who seek to share your love and wholeness in their communities. We pray that they may be given the strength to carry on and that we might be willing to listen to their pleas for help and walk alongside them as they seek to find a better way to live in harmony with the different cultures they embrace.
We pray for women and men who have been impacted by years of drought, then bushfires, floods and storms. Whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. Who have lost loved ones. Sustain them we pray as they seek to rebuild their lives. Encourage all those who donate and support that their generosity may not dry up until the task of restoration is complete. Lord give us open eyes to the needs of others. Give us open hands ready to share with all who are in want from the blessings you have bestowed on us.
We pray for women and men who have had to flee their homes and countries because of conflict or starvation. From the comfort of our homes and the safety of our city the trauma and precariousness of their lives is beyond our understanding. We give you thanks for all those agencies that seek to keep them secure and provide life’s essentials until it’s safe for them to return home or until they are accepted in another country where they can begin to rebuild their lives. May we do whatever is in our power to show compassion and generosity to those who seek safety with us.
We pray for those women who share the good news of the gospel in our churches, colleges and communities. We particularly pray today for Belinda, Jeanette, Jen, Brooke Prentis from Common Grace. May they proclaim your message of life in all its fullness in their words and actions.
Our father we acknowledge before you that are are many men who suffer and we lift then up before you now.
We thank you for the many men in families, communities and work places who want the very best for the women and girls in their lives.
We pray for the women and men in our community who are suffering form ill health, advancing years or uncertainty about what the future holds. In the quietness now we name them before you. May they know that whatever their situation, that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from your love.
So now our father, hear our prayers and answer then in accordance with your will
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Spoken by Kelli Hughes at the Sunday worship service on International Women’s Day 8/3/2020