Dear God of all,
nations and peoples come and go amidst the eternity of your good purposes,
governments and dictators, presidents and prime ministers, military juntas and civilian administrations,
all are weighed in the balance of your history,
tested by your demands of covenant justice,
and found wanting.
For we struggle to govern and build with a big enough span of hospitality.
We who know so much about self-interest find is so much harder to foster safe welcome for everyone.
We who long for life and liberty find the construction of hope so elusive.
At our best we have managed greatness,
at our worst we have managed the almost unimaginable.
So now the tide turns in parts of the world grown larger in the media atlas:
more countries join the unfolding list of nations whose history shudders across a new threshold.
Watching, we pray for all who live in uncertain times.
We remember that the journeys towards hope are fraught with difficulty and risk.
We pray for people taking to their familiar streets in the less familiar guise of revolutionary.
We pray for families striving to keep track of one another amidst chaos and terrible rumour.
We pray for those within whom passion burns and those who tremble in fear of what a new day might bring.
We pray for those who find their businesses burning and their bodies broken.
We pray for the dying and those who mourn a loved one.
We pray for police and army who have taken sides and now find themselves tested by the spirit of their neighbours.
We pray for leaders watching from behind the gilded cages they have built for themselves.
We pray for those who have great power behind the scenes,
that they might be touched by the deep longings of their people for a better life and let change be.
We pray for those who have done well under an old regime and who now contemplate awful things to ensure their survival.
We pray for the United Nations in its faltering watch over our world;
may its corridors and meeting rooms be the places for urgent conversation that averts violence and brutality.
We pray for the governments of watching nations who have collaborated with the past and now call for the future.
We pray for our government, that we might be part of a better dawn for people of a distant land.
We pray for ourselves, that we might be more than watchers of news.
God of the nations and all their peoples,
hear our prayer,
in the name of he who knew and loved a nation,
but embraced all creation with redeeming love.
This reflection and prayer has been written by the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge.
Neil teaches pastoral theology on all the academic programmes and also has particular interests in the visual arts and theology. He is also a contributor to Christian Aid's daily readings.
- Conflict and peace