As we begin Lent, the Gospel reading tells of Jesus fasting for forty days. Church leaders of all traditions – invite us to join in a day of prayer and fasting for refugees and asylum seekers on March 5th. We can join with Christ in prayer for those most vulnerable of God’s people who are seeking safety and security for themselves and their families.
Not only are we invited to pray, but also to fast. Religious fasting invites us to stand before God, empty, placing our trust in God, ready to receive God’s blessings In fasting we join in one simple way with those who have fled their homes and seek safety for themselves and their families.
At this moment, there are more people seeking asylum than at any point since World War II. People just like us, but with no choice but to run for their lives. They often have little choice but to undertake dangerous sea and land crossings. These women, men and children face border closures, pushbacks, extortion and violence from law enforcement officials, criminal gangs, smugglers and human traffickers. When fleeing to another country, women and girls are at high risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
This report by Amnesty (https://www.amnesty.org.au/campaigns/refugees/) and this letter in The Guardian by Fr Frank Brennan, Tim Costello, Robert Manne and John Menadue (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/14/we-can-stop-the-boats-and-also-act-decently-fairly-and-transparently) provides relevant and helpful current information.
Let us pray –
For people from many nations . . .
Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic….
As they decide to leave their families, homes and all that they know may they be guided by God’s loving Spirit of wisdom embracing them and keeping them safe.
For countries who are providing shelter . . .
Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia and Jordan….
May their efforts to support people in great need be richly blessed.
For those waiting to have their status determined and for those who can no longer wait . . .
May the Spirit’s gifts of hope, courage and strength grow daily in them as their days drag by.
For those in detention . . .
While experiencing loneliness, hardship and uncertainty, may they come to know God’s love for them through the kindness and support of many.
For our parliamentarians and law makers . . .
May the God of hospitality and mercy fill
them to act courageously for the good of those most in need.
For those individuals and organizations who provide services to those who have arrived in Australia . . .
May your Holy Spirit’s gift of love and generosity grow in them daily.
For ourselves . . .
May your Holy Spirit open our hearts, minds and hands so that many refugees and asylum seekers may make their homes in Australia.
Gracious God you have made all in your image.
You invite us to be at home with you.
Give to those who are without home a place of safety and security.
Give to those who have a home a generous and open heart and willing hands to share with those in need of shelter.
We ask this in Jesus Christ’s name.