How Precious Life Is, Oh God: A Prayer for 2003

O God
we have taken liberties with many things You have created
the air we breathe is contaminated
the water we drink is polluted
the soil that nurtures us with its products is poisoned
the food we eat is genetically modified
we even try to alter the life you have given us
we forget how precious life is to You.

O God
we have made ourselves masters of the planet earth
animals are tamed
virgin forests are invaded
natural resources are exploited
mountains, rivers and land become deformed
nature is subdued to satisfy human whims
we forget how precious life is to You.

O God
we have taken life into our own hands
people are hurt and killed
innocent women and men are murdered
even children die in armed conflicts
how cheap we have made the lives of others
the lives that are precious to You.

O God
millions upon millions go hungry
in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America…
it is not because there is not enough food to go round
it is because wars are waged
between tribe and tribe
between nation and nation
it is because the rich care more for their riches
than for their neighbour
it is because corruption is rampant
in high places in society
among those who wield political power.

O God
in this world of plenty
the poor get poorer
there are men and women who live on subsistence wages
there are people who live on the charity of others
impoverished by
those who are driven by insatiable greed
those who pursue their own wellbeing with avarice
those who do not care how others live.

O God
help each one of us to know how precious life is
no matter what form of life
high or low
animate or inanimate
human or non-human
all lives
on the land, in the air and in the water
all lives are precious to You
and they ought to be precious to us too.

O God
teach us to respect human lives
not only our own lives
but the lives of others also
not only the lives of those near to us
but the lives of those far away
not only the lives of those who are familiar to us
but the lives of strangers and foreigners
with You, O God
all lives are near and dear
to You there are no strangers or foreigners.

All of us, O God
from east and west
from south and north
all of us from the four corners of the earth
no matter which corner we are from
no matter what the colour of our skin
no matter what our gender
no matter what our sexual orientation
we are all from You, O God
in You, with You and through You
we live and move and have our being.

So teach us to know, O God
how precious life is
all forms of life
for life is precious to You.

Enable us, O God, to nurture life
not only our own lives
but the lives of others
for life is precious to You.

Inspire us, O God, to care for life
the lives of others as well as our own lives
even the lives of those
who live and believe differently from us
because life is precious to You, O God
the lives of all women, men and children.

Jesus our Lord knows, O God
how life is precious to You
that is why he comes
for people not only to have life
but to have it in fullness.

Life is precious to You, O God
empower us to work with Jesus
that people may have life
and may have it in fullness.


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