Monthly Prayer: December
A reflection from Father David Stewart
We commonly pray for this or that, asking God to ensure a certain outcome or to favour a certain person. But what happens when the prayer isn’t, we suppose, answered?
Perhaps you have come to see that this wasn’t really prayer, but just making a wish, very hard. Too often, people think of prayer as no more than asking for this or that to happen, which is a limited and limiting understanding of prayer. We can limit God to a divine dispenser of favours, in ways that could seem random if not capricious; then we tell ourselves that we mustn’t question God’s ways. While intercessory prayer has its place, and is really important, indeed vital, it is far from all that prayer is about.
Yet when we do see how some people suffer, especially unjustly or undeservedly, we want to pray to God for them; of course, we do!
Some people in Malawi, whom SCIAF support, experience discrimination and injustice through no fault of their own. Innocent suffering tugs at our sense of justice, stirs our consciences; especially when it is brought about by prejudice. And we know that all prejudice begins with fear which, when allowed to go unchallenged, diminishes or even destroys our sense of human solidarity.
A striking moment early in Matthew’s gospel catches our attention – the Massacre of the Innocents in his second chapter. Matthew recalls the prophecy of Jeremiah, the heart-rending lamentation of Rachel for her children (Jer. 31:15).
We can pray for the people in Malawi with albinism when we recall these Biblical words. But we must also remember that the restoration of all things (cf.Acts 3:21) liberation from all captivity, comes from Christ and his Covenant.
In this season of Advent, let’s pray
Give thanks that huge steps have been made and that many people with albinism are now living without fear. Give thanks that people with albinism are represented in community decision-making.
Pray for the many people with albinism that still live in fear of violence and are discriminated against because of stigma and myths.
Pray for the CCJP staff who work tirelessly to bring about justice. Pray for strength and wisdom as they carry out their tasks.