COP26 and beyond: Persistence in intercession.

Luke 18 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” ESV

This post accompanies my general article “I am making everything New, and you can help, starting with COP26 in Glasgow, October 31-November 12 2021.”

You can view and also download the ‘Climate Intercessors’ 10 strategic prayers for COP26 document here: https://www.climateintercessors.org/10-prayers-for-cop26-1

Here’s a great summary of the issues at stake at COP26: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56901261

Strategic Prayer point 8: For vulnerable nations.

Lord God of Justice, we lift to you the peoples and nations of our world whose small voices might be unheard in the crowd at COP26. You see those peoples whose lands are disappearing as we do not act, as the sea level rises and more frequent and more powerful storms batter them out of existence. You see the smallholders whose lands are taken forcibly by distant governments and greedy corporations- and sometimes these agents are our governments and our corporations! You see the desperate people who find themselves born into a world of great inequality and deep injustice, where the ‘haves’ do not share and the ‘have nots’ are not loved. All these are like the woman in the parable, whose husband has died, whose children rely on her completely, and yet she is assailed and assaulted by injustice. Her adversaries are faceless, just as the causes of misery are today for those who suffer because of the chronic violence done to the earth’s climate, and so many other ills that have been done to it- your gift of the Created good Earth. This woman is nameless to us, but you know the names of all who are like her. You know the precise wrongs in all their legion number and who is blame. We confess our sins to you Lord. We pray that the voices of all these people are heard, in heaven, and in Glasgow. We pray that the justice of their cause is proclaimed, and that the story of who and what is to blame, what the consequences are, and how they can be repaired, will be told before Your throne and thus here on earth.

We hear the charge of our Lord Jesus in this parable: that we should pray and not give up. Therefore we join our voices to the cries of the many vulnerable, that you already hear. We ask Lord, Give them Justice: give relief from all perils that stem from this climate crisis, give direction to its repair, and direct our negotiations to actions that will correct the wrongs that generations have done, and especially this generation. We declare that we are willing to persist and not give up in giving breath to the prayers for justice that you will to answer in our day, in Jesus’ Name.

Lord of Justice, we commend to you all the parties in these negotiators that are like the unjust judge- the persons and corporations that have been shamelessly careless of the justice of these causes. We pray for a change of heart, a discovery of heart, a paradigm shift in their constitution, that what was created as a means to extract mere riches from planet and people will become a means of service and care for both. We pray that nation states that prioritise self-interest above all other priorities will in this cause become common partners for our common good, especially for the weak and those suffering the disastrous effects of climate change. We pray for a great miracle- that they will come to a new place of respecting man and even fearing You, respecting the earth that you have left as a gift in our care.

Father of All, we do not ask just for this group or that, for our friends or our favourite projects. We recognise that the scales of human justice are flawed- they cannot balance, as the rich and powerful manipulate them to their own advantage. So we lift our eyes to heaven to ask You for divine justice in this negotiation and in the decisions and actions that follow. We come together to You, to persist on behalf of those who have no voice: we will be their voice before You!

Holy God, who knows our sins and gifts us faith, teach me to pray as Jesus encourages in this subtle story: You are depicted as a distant and impersonal figure who will nevertheless give in to persistent bothering! Spirit of God, show us how to bother You according to your will and invitation. You also accept the misconception that You will give in to pestering, rather than being moved by objective justice, which impugns your holy character. We understand that these descriptions are not accurate, but that you are teaching us a lesson. School us in it Lord!

We ask for your healing for the world that You have made. This earth is but part of your whole creation, and we commend it to you – its plants and animals and materials, including the air- all the things that we have loved to use and to use up- and ask you to teach us how our presence in Your world as Your people can transform the relationships between everything for the better. We would that You use us to influence the climate of society so that the atmospheric climate can be brought back into proper balance.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

As I read St Paul, I hear a parallel between the injured widow and the injured Creation. And we find that God joins both in the groaning, which is expressed in the prayers that we now give willing and obedient voice to. And so all can come together- the prayer of the peoples to whom injustice is being done, the wordless prayer of the groaning creation, the harmonising prayer of the Spirit of God, and all this given breath by God’s Spirit-filled people!

in this i see the tripartite worldview of God, god’s creation and God’s human creatures coming together in dynamic interrelationship- the thesis of this entire blog

God of Yeshua our Saviour Messiah, we thank You that you are indeed concerned for our collective welfare, in regard of our eternal spirits, as you have made us, each one. Since the beginning our hearts have been broken, marred by evil and our self-created wickedness. In this your Creation is broken, for we are at the heart of it, and so you grieve in your heart. You once unmade and remade your world because you wanted to mend everything. You are an awesome God, not least because you know how to make things New as you please. But in these recent centuries we have been unmaking your world, throwing the entire biosphere into a state of peril, driving so many species to extinction, and there are now many more ways in which your good Creation is provoked to groaning. We hear Your heart Lord: reveal your sons and daughters in this Day, who will hear your prophetic Voice calling us to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with You, our God! We are happy to be patient for your final End, whether you come soon or late, but we call to you now Lord for this need in this time, which cannot wait. As creation is groaning, so we are groaning before you Lord God, and though there is a mystery of futility in our lives, we humbly ask at this time that You empower a break though in all our affairs, that Good may be done in this conference and in the decade of action that must follow it. Hear from heaven, O our God, and heal our Land, even as you promised.

Lord, those of us that are your own people would draw nearer to You. You invite us in, to share in your groaning in the cause of what you have made, O God of Wonders. Come to us each one, Spirit of Holiness, and teach us to pray in this time. As we are willing for you to deal with the ‘spiritual’ state of our hearts, we are asking you to deal with the state of our doings in the world- is that not spiritual also? Your Incarnation says ‘Yes!’ Lord you see our great weakness as your body because we have restricted our vision to the eternal future and been careless of the beautiful and vital things you have made from your dust- the stuff of this world, which we said was dirty and even evil. Forgive us these heresies Lord! So we do not know how to pray. We thank you for these ten strategic prayers- give them breath by Your Spirit as we breathe them out to you with the best halting words we can muster, and show us what can come next. In the beginning your Spirit brooded over the formless void- was it chaos? There is chaos now Lord for it is us who have ruined waters and lands and all the air. Come brood in us! Come brood with us!! Reveal your best Will and use us today to release your saving purposes into the world, especially into everything that pertains to the state of the climate. Use us to bring together these peoples, their leaders and all the systems that there are for good– for Your Good Purposes.

In Jesus’ Name

Amen.

As written in the opening chapters of Genesis, the state of ‘Paradise’ does not last very long. Having left the first couple to tend God’s own Royal garden in His stead, the Lord returns in the cool of the day in hope of fellowship, but discovers disaster. I do not believe that the Creation-work mandate to us as God’s human creatures in over. Nor do I believe that God intends to wind back the clock of history to take everything Back to Genesis. The cross of Christ only advances. While Eden is closed behind us, God continues to surprise us by coming down to join us in our mess. And now my prayer is this:

Lord God in Jesus Christ, as you once came to seek fellowship with your worker friends in Eden, we would invite You in to the world you gave us to watch and keep. Lord God, we invite You back to show us how to partner with You in the good work you would have us create today and tomorrow. In Your Mercy Lord,

Hear our prayer.

 The Genesis account of Creation in the church of Christ the King, Gordon Square in London.

(c) 2021 Stephen Thompson

Published by Stephen Thompson

Thinking inside the box is to be recommended for many reasons. I am creating this blog in May 2020 as we are encouraged to stay inside our boxes as far as possible, though we are allowed out- encouraged out, indeed- for exercise. By blogging, our thinking can also be allowed out for public exercise. Right now we need new thinking, new exercising of our mental faculties, and collective application of our thinking to the big idea of a healthy collective future. I am trialling my thinking in constructive theology, science and leadership in the light of my experience as a science teacher, theological student and as a representative of the Christian community in the county of Kent, in the UK. I welcome your partnership!

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