Dear Lord, as we enter this new year, steady our hearts to spread the gospel of peace. May we follow your Spirit as we work for transformation and justice in this world. Lord, give us courage to proclaim this message in word and action, especially in places where there is corruption, persecution and natural disasters. Thank you for Jesus’ peacemaking example.
Prayers of Gratitude and Intercession
Pray for the many MWC meetings in Indonesia in July 2022 – the member church delegates at the General Council, Commissions, MWC networks (mission, service, peace, education, health), and the global Assembly itself. Pray for health and safety of all participants. Pray that the Spirit will move in the midst of the gatherings, uniting and strengthening the body.
Pray for Brazil where the political situation is not good; radicalism, churches getting involved in politics that bring lots of conflicts, environment problems and inflation.
—Hans Gerhard Peters, Aliança Evangélica Menonita, Brazil
Youth in Zambia struggle to find employment and many families do not have enough food, says Kaumba Samwangala, from Choma, Zambia. Pray that God’s hand may supply the needs through local church and government.
—Kaumba Samwangala, Batoka Primary School (BIC), Zambia
“When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:3-5)
Lord, we confess that we have sinned. Thank you for drawing near to us by sending the Messiah to save us and reveal your power. As we celebrate the hope of Christmas, teach us your self-emptying ways.
Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in Bolivia, Paraguay and Urugay after a period of very low cases. This causes panic in people even in the church. We pray that God will strength us to continue to reach out to people with the gospel. In December and January, congregations in Bolivia are planning to organize several vacation Bible schools; please pray for the leaders, the children who will participate and for their families.
—Freddy Barron, regional representative, Latin America, Cono Sur
Many congregations in Uganda meet under the trees or sit on dusty floors, says Simon Onyango Okoth, bishop of Uganda Mennonite Church. Praise God for the grateful, pioneering spirit of these church members. Pray for leadership development to lead to sustainability.
Praise God for the cresting of the latest wave of infection in Indonesia. Pray that the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia and the world will continue to decrease significantly, so that MWC General Assembly 17 in Indonesia can still be attended by Anabaptist sisters and brothers from all over the world. Pray for wisdom for the committee taking the decision to set a proper alternative model for the MWC General Assembly 17.
Pray for Anabaptist-Mennonites in British Columbia, Canada. After a summer of record high temperatures and wild fires, the province has been deluged with tremendous rainfall, causing flooding that has washed out major highways that link the Port of Vancouver to the rest of Canada, and flooding a region populated by many Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren church members. Thousands of homes and farms have been destroyed.
“As Canadians, we are used to a stable environment, but these floods are reminding us to look to the Lord and not take things for granted. It’s an opportunity to show the love of Christ in action, helping out our neighbours.
“Pray that we will learn the lessons the Lord is wanting to teach us in this moment: That we will look to God in humility and trust and remember that although creation is “groaning” it remains under His control and still declares His glory and goodness.” —Rob Thiessen, British Columbia Mennonite Brethren conference minister
“I pray that the waters will hold back, that the rivers will flow without more destruction to homes and farms and barns and life. But, even so, if it does cause more destruction. We will stand together and serve one another. Community leaders, churches, businesses and everyone in between.”—Darnell Barkman, pastor at Yarrow United Mennonite Church, B.C., Canada, and vice moderator of Mennonite Church BC.
Pray for a good rain in Malawi and that vulnerable people should be able to buy fertilizer for their maize fields.
Pray that people will have food to eat during the growing season so that they will be able to take care of their fields.
—Francis Kamoto, Mpingo Wa Abale Mwa Kristu (BIC) Malawi
Thousands of people have fled Thantlang, Myanmar, and are hiding in the jungle. A Mennonite pastor writes:
My hometown, my dear Thantlang, which was so much fun is now as quiet as a graveyard. You have been burnt to the ground and your temples and houses have been destroyed. The sound of children playing was silenced and the church bells stopped ringing. You are the only town in the world where no human is.
I pray that God will take care of you and rebuild you a new life.
Mennonites in Myanmar face desperate situation
As restrictions on gatherings are gradually removed across Europe, pray that congregations will be ready to welcome people back into their spaces. May the hunger for in-person fellowship bring new people to seek out churches as a place to connect. May congregations respond with creativity and humility to the lessons the pandemic taught about what is necessary.
Lord God, your compassion is manifest in the Anabaptist-Mennonite community in Colombia!
Thank you for the prayers of our brothers and sisters around the globe in response to Nelson Kraybill’s May 2021 prayer for God’s mercy (written on occasion of demonstrations throughout the country addressing economic policies, a proposed tax reform, high-level corruption, a lack of opportunity for the youth, and slow implementation of the peace accords, among other items, that were perceived as further harming the country).*
Conditions have not changed significantly since then: almost half of the population lives in poverty and violence continues to take its daily toll.
Yet, God’s Spirit is working in the actions of Anabaptist churches in Colombia participating in Pan y Paz (the “Bread and Peace” campaign); in Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren organizations Justapaz. Mencoldes and Edupaz that work for reconciliation and peace and care for victims and human rights advocates; and in congregations in Cali, Bogotá, Riohacha, Chocó and elsewhere who – with support from MCC – care for Venezuelan migrants and displaced persons in need of food and emergency aid.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our ongoing prayer.
—Pablo Stucky, MWC regional representative, Latin America – Andean Region
Photo: Anna Vogt I A gathering of Mennonite church leaders in Colombia in 2017.
A pastoral letter to Anabaptist-Mennonites of Colombia
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
as we reflect on the beauty and diversity of planet earth
and all its beings that you have created to function in harmony with each other,
we are deeply saddened and repentant for the way in which we have behaved,
and the disasters we have contributed to with our irresponsible behaviour.
We have been disobedient to your calling to be good stewards.
As a society, and as your church, we are fearful and sad for what is happening all around us;
for the deep damage and pain we have caused,
especially to so many poor, vulnerable and helpless communities,
to future generations (our own children!),
and to diverse and wonderful creatures you care for.
We all cry out to you in sadness, fear, pain and sometimes anger.
We pray that our feelings of anxiety, despair and discouragement might be transformed into hope by the power of your Holy Spirit.
That as a church, we can wake up from our slumber,
and be motivated to work for change and restoration of your beloved creation.
Juliana Morillo, Creation Care Task Force
How do environmental problems make people feel? (...and why does that matter?
God of justice, we pray for vaccine equity around the world. We cry with those who are suffering without opportunity to be vaccinated. Soften the hearts of political and pharmaceutical leaders to release vaccines and patents to low income countries. We pray especially for our brothers and sisters in Tanzania where less than one percent of the population has been vaccinated. We thank you for the generosity of our members who care for the sick through physical aid and donations to UNICEF’s vaccination campaign.
Creator God, we come to You in the name of Jesus Christ, desiring Your redemptive kin-dom to come and Your will to be diligently done here on earth as it is in heaven. We pray that the Holy Spirit may empower believers to recapture the vision of what you saw when You said what You had created was very good.
O God, raise us all to be compassionate witnesses to one another and the environment as we lift up the beloved community to walk in a new humility, meekness, and love.
O God, breathe on us once again, in Jesus’ name we pray.
Sibonokuhle Sibanda, Creation Care Task Force
How environmental crises impact church communities
Loving God, soften the hearts of political leaders in India and all who seek to destroy minority religious communities. Pour out your Spirit on Mennonites and all Christians of India who know and follow Jesus, that they may be steadfast in the face of persecution. Let your work of healing the nations restore peace between religious groups in all of India.
Click here to read the president’s letter to Anabaptist-Mennonites of India
Pray for Nepal which experienced floods and landslides from excess rainfall in June and July. Some 200 BIC families were affected. The country also saw a surge of coronavirus infections from the Delta variant. Most of the congregations in cities are unable to meet due to lockdown and few have had opportunity to be vaccinated. Pray that the church members of BIC Nepal would remain strong in their faith despite these challenges. Pray that the government may be able to provide vaccines to all the population quickly.
|Read more about Nepal|
We worship a God who hears cries of the suffering, attends to their welfare, and moves to save. In the Gospels, Jesus – the living example for the church – embodies God’s solidarity with those who are oppressed, ignored, rejected or treated as alien.
We mourn for hundreds of Indigenous children in Canada who in decades past died and were buried – separated from their communities – at residential schools where they had been demeaned and abused instead of cared for and educated.
We affirm Canadian Anabaptist leaders who declared*:
“We regret that, at times, the Christian faith was used, wrongly, as an instrument of power, not as an invitation to see how God was already at work before we came. We repent of our denominational encounters with Indigenous Peoples that at times may have been motivated more by cultural biases than by the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. We repent of our failure to advocate for marginalized Indigenous Peoples as our faith would instruct us to.”
As Mennonite World Conference, we commit to seek justice through challenging beliefs and systems of domination. We are grateful for and humbled by the witness of Anabaptist churches and agencies in Canada and elsewhere who are working with Indigenous groups toward restoration and reconciliation.
—See also MWC Statement of solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.
*Statement of Anabaptist church leaders, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Hearings, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, March 2014
Cases of COVID-19 are surging in Indonesia after many people travelled and gathered in groups to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Jakarta and Central Java have been particularly affected. Entire households are being infected and many young people require hospitalization. Members of Mennonite congregations have been infected, so church services are fully online again. Many hospitals are at capacity; oxygen supplies for patients are also running low. Pray that this situation will not drag on causing economic and emotional depression. Pray for the government: may their hard work result in many vaccinations quickly, and may the community be disciplined in following health protocols to protect everyone.
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