16 Prayers for the 16 Days of the Campaign

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An invitation

As we approach the mid-point of the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence, we are invited to share in a 16 day initiative dedicated to overcoming violence against women and children. The 16 days from 25 November to 10 December fall at the beginning of Advent, when the Church looks forward to the incarnation. Christians of all denominations will be anticipating the coming of God to dwell with us in the most vulnerable human form, a defenceless and dependent baby. The Prince of Peace came then, and comes now, to a restless and violent world. But it is not a world without hope or without the possibility of change.

Because there is hope, the Church can speak the language of challenge and opportunity and change. The church community is uniquely placed to respond to the challenge of violence and abuse on several levels :

And because we believe that prayer changes things, we can commit ourselves to pray, over the next 16 days particularly, for the women and children who suffer from violent attitudes and behaviour.

The 16th hour is 4 o clock in the afternoon, when for many of us the day is winding down, when children are coming home from school, when traditionally, in gentler times, everything stopped for tea. Lifestyles are very different now, but it’s still good to take time out, to be still, to reflect, to pray.
“Be there at our homing and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day”

International days of Action against gender violence
Day 1
Psalm: 121
25th November
Lord we pray today for those in a violent situation at home; a home that should be a place of safety, and love. Lord protect all who suffer at the hand of a partner.
Day 2
Luke 18: 15-17
26th November
Loving Lord, show your compassion to the children living in a home devoid of love and care; children who listen behind closed doors. Keep them safe Lord and grant us strength to protect the weak.
Day 3
Philippians 2: 1-4
27th November
Today Lord we ask for a listening ear, a kind face and a shoulder to cry on, for those who need it. Make us into those people, make us aware, help us to recognise the silent plea as well as the anguished cry. Grant us your peace.
Day 4
John 13: 31-35
28th November
Lord we can be a caring people. You have given us that gift, that ability to hear the cry in the wilderness. Make our churches places of safety and make us channels of your peace.
Day 5
Matthew 10: 26-31
29th November
Loving God, give each of us a sense of identity and help us to assure those who feel threatened, that they are remembered by name and valued as individuals.
Day 6
Isaiah 42: 1-7
30th November
O God of peace and justice inspire us to break down all tyranny and oppression that each may live for all, and all may care for each in the name of Jesus Christ. Let no one be reduced to an object by human greed and abuse of power.
Day 7: World AIDS Day
2 Corinthians 4: 6-9
1st December
Dear Lord, you came into this world so that we should know that you love and care for us. With your help, let us share your love and care for all whose lives have been changed by HIV/AIDS and bring them help and comfort so that they may be encouraged to live positively.
Day 8
John 11: 17-35
2nd December
AIDS has caused sufferers to feel separated from you and they ask “why me?” Help them to remember that you do not punish your creation by bringing disease, but that you are with them walking close beside them, sharing their pain.
Day 9
Psalms 16: 6-11
3rd December
Lord we pray for all who suffer loss through AIDS. We pray for the families and we pray for the children - the children who have lost parents, the mother who has lost a child. Bring comfort to the dying and to those who mourn. Grant strength to those who care for the orphans.
Day 10
Exodus 5: 1-9
4th December
Father, whose love encourages all, help those whose instinct is to assert themselves by inflicting pain on others. Reveal yourself to them so that they may know your strength and redeeming grace.
Day 11
Proverbs 4: 1-9
5th December
Christ, healer, by your wisdom guide the researcher, the environmentalist, the scientist; all who seek to bring us safe surroundings in which to live and work.
Day 12
Genesis 1: 24-31
6th December
Lord when we look at this world we see suffering and conflict; people at war killing for peace, plundering your creation and exploiting your people. Help us to reach out with your healing and to make peace in your name.
Day 13
Mark 1: 4-8
7th December
Lord from the comfort of our own homes we look at a world torn apart. Help us not to be slow to speak up for justice. For every wound to body, mind and spirit we pray for repentance and healing.
Day 14
John 12: 1-8
8th December
Lord Help me to be a comforter to others, to listen and not always speak, to understand more and judge less. And may the Church, in Jesus’ name, offer that healing and comfort.
Day 15
Luke 14: 7-14
9th December
Grant us, O Lord, the grace of welcoming others, the courage to take risks, the confidence to declare your love and the joy of giving you praise.
Day 16: International Human Rights Day
Micah 6: 6-8
10th December
For every brave word and deed and gift and touch that challenges cruelty and heals the hurting, we give thanks and pray for equal courage in our walk with each other and with you.

Let our prayers be informed:

In the UK two women die every week as a result of domestic violence.

A 2004 Home Office study revealed that one in six Edinburgh midwives knew at least one of their expectant mothers to be a victim of domestic violence.

Scottish Women’s Aid estimate that more than 100,000 children live with domestic abuse. 90% of children whose mothers suffer assault are in the same or the next room at the time.

Out of 25,000 domestic violence attacks analysed by Edinburgh University researchers, a quarter involved women over the age of 41. One victim who suffered over four decades said, “I was married at 16…And from the beginning, there was violence and the power – you’re just ruled by fear.”

Trafficking in human beings is a modern slave trade preying on those with little hope, promising them a better life and then taking everything from them, freedom, dignity, hope.

Victims of trafficking who are returned home may be subject to torture, rape, being held in slavery or even killed by traffickers; their family may be threatened to gain the victim’s co-operation, or victims may face reprisals from their families, especially if they have been forced into involvement with the sex industry.

Rape is used as a weapon of war, to destroy families and communities for political ends . A Liberian mother said of her ten year old daughter, one of many victims of sexual assault in that country last year, “she was raped to death”.

Women in Kwazulu Natal consistently report feeling at risk of contracting HIV, despite knowing how the virus is transmitted and how to prevent getting infected. They need to have economic independence and power to control their own sexual behaviour.

Children in Southern Africa are experiencing multiple losses due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic - they need help to realise their dreams and live their lives to the fullest.

We need hope, hope that is passed on from one person to another until our community is flooded with hope and people are healed of the fear and stigma that attaches to HIV/AIDS.
In the Psalms we hear the voice of the Lord saying

“Stop fighting and know that I am God”

Some simple practical steps which can be taken now :
And pray for a change
Lord Christ,
We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth,
Disconcerted by the world’s violence and sorrow,
Wherever we are on this day’s journey,
Breathe on us your gentle spirit,
That we may be oases of quietness and refreshment,
Bringing to your uneasy world
Reconciliation and peace.
Amen


for more information on the Decade to Overcome Violence visit
www.overcomingviolence.org
Church of Scotland Guild
121 George Street
Edinburgh
EH2 4YN
Phone: 0131 225 5722
Direct Line: 0131 240 2217
Email: guild@cofscotland.org.uk
www.cos-guild.org.uk







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16 Prayers for the 16 Days of the Campaign
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