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Prayers for International Women's Day

This International Women's Day (8 March), pray for women around the world less fortunate than us.

Community call

Who are we?
We are women born of the past generations,
we are women present in the here and now,
we dream of a future that is yet to be.

Who are we?
We are women made up of all nations and all races,
we include people from all countries of the world,
we come from down the road and round the corner.

Who are we?
We represent all cultures and languages,
we consist of all ages and abilities,
we embrace strangers as neighbours.

Who are we?
We are called to be God’s people.

Welcoming, embracing, relating, creating,

woven together into God’s community on earth.

© Clare McBeath, 2011


Collect

Oh Lord, we pray that you may strengthen us with power and revelation,
so that Christ may live in our hearts through faith.
Make us firm in love.
Help us understand your will, audaciousness and wisdom in order to fight for your justice.
We pray that you may make our hands strong and our voices heard.

Grant us humility firmly, and discernment passionately,
so that we may fight, not to conquer, but to liberate.
To liberate the women silenced by the violence,
from inequality and abuse,
from unjust and discriminatory cultural or religious practices.

This we ask, in the name of Jesus Christ who,
with You and with the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns, one only God, now and forever.
Amen.

(SADD Gender Violence Manual, Brazil)

Collect
Transforming God,
You turned the Samaritan women from the excluded ‘other’,
to become a bearer of the gospel of peace,
putting in her mouth the song of testimony.
Today we pray for ourselves:
grant us that same insight and courage,
that same witness of women on the margins,
that we too may recognise our place in the gospel story,
and live it in our lives.
Amen.


Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession

Hidden and mysterious God,
we seek you in darkness and unknowing,
and you come to us with tender love.
Today we pray for:
• women who suffer because what should be uncovered is covered up
• women who have been humiliated, harassed and stigmatised and dare not tell
• women who have been beaten, tortured, threatened, and cannot tell.

Forgive us, and your church, our complicity in silence and concealment.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

And we give thanks for the witness of women,
most of them unnamed and unsung,
who have refused to be shamed or silenced,
who have stood up and stood out for justice and truth.
Blessed are you, gracious God
who has created women in your image.

..............................................

Beloved God,
in desire and intimacy you come to us
and know us as a lover.
Today we pray for:
• women whose bodies have been violated by rape and degradation
• women whose bodies are bought and sold as commodities
• women whose cultures reflect them as inferior, as stereotypes, as less valuable than men

Forgive us, and your church, our failure to proclaim the true personhood of all people,
regardless of race, gender or sexuality.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

And we give thanks,
for the persistence of those who struggle for equal rights for women,
for an end to sexual violence, trafficking and discrimination,
and for the power of human dignity.
Blessed are you, gracious God,
who has created women in your image.

..............................................

God of power and presence,
midwife of our lives,
you encourage and calm us into creativity.
Today we pray for:
• women who must give birth in dangerous or squalid conditions
• women who are in anguish because they do not have the resources
to care for their children adequately
• women whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change.

Forgive us, and your church, our failure to overcome poverty,
and to resist the assault on the poor
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

And we give thanks,
for women across the world,
whose leadership, resilience and resourcefulness,
in raising families, resisting despair, embracing new livelihoods,
is transforming their communities to challenge poverty.
Blessed are you, gracious God,
who has created women in your image. 
 
..............................................

Wounded God,
you took defenceless flesh and died on a cross.
Today we pray for:
• women who are casualties of war and the arms trade
• women who mourn the violent deaths of loved ones
• women whose potential dies a little more every day.
Forgive us, and your church,
our failure to confront the forces of death.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

And we give thanks,
for women who have confronted warring powers, challenged violence,
and whose lives, directed by necessity, are moved by compassion.
Blessed are you, gracious God,
who has created women in your image,
and in whose name we pray.
Amen.


Where is justice?

Oh my heart's heart, in love and anger I will turn to you,
for my soul cries out, 'Where is justice,
when will the balance be redressed,
for the fearful dreams of children who sleep with knives,
for the beaten women, and the shamed and helpless men?'
Where is justice?
For the agony of hunger is not to be set,
against the insatiable appetites of jaded palates.
In the villages and camps, the children lie bleeding,
and great wounds gape in their throats and sides.
In the city, there is no safety for them;
as the leaves blow through the night streets,
they are swept away, they disappear without trace
as if they had never been.


An affirmation of faith

We believe in the goodness and value of women,
in our strength and health,
in our capacity to cry,
in our capacity to sustain each other instead of being rivals,
in our capacity to respond to the demands of children
and carry the weight of daily life,
in our openness and desire to continue working,
in our spiritual and earthly being,
full of life – birth, death and resurrection.

We affirm the history of women
as the history of humanity.
We are gatherers of fruits,
peasants, farmers, sewers, workers,
mothers, scientists, doctors, housewives and economists.

We give our life, we are hidden workers,
without wages at home and breadwinners in society.
We recognise this diversity and versatility.
We rejoice in our intuition and our thinking.
We confess our faults and fragility,
because we have accepted violence and injustice
in relationships between men and women.

We expect a future of faith and hope,
working for the day to come in which we and all our sisters
will no longer have to adapt to a stereotype
because we will be free
to express ourselves as we are
and we will be free
to share in all the benefits of human life and work.

We hope for a time of peace,
when violence will disappear
and men and women can love and be loved,
and the work and riches of our world can be justly shared.

Written by women of the Presbyterian Church in Colombia.

 

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International Women's Day

8 March 2015

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