Saturday, November 27, 2010

Prayers and Conversations from the Day of prayer

Just over a month ago, on a conference call on immigration, someone said: “we need to pray.” We don’t just need to plan right now, but we need to pray often and pray well. We need to fast. After a somewhat discouraging season in congress, we were disappointed. We met with Senators and congressional representatives in Washington, DC and in their home offices. Some of us heard encouraging word of agreement; we were disappointed by a lack of leadership. A congressman told one of our colleagues that it was Christian acts of kindness and charity that encouraged immigrants to come and stay without authorization. We were disappointed by slander even though it was too ridiculous to be plausible. We need to pray.  We marked November 16 so we could deliberately set aside a whole day to pray. And, invite other to join us.

In the morning I prayed with a group of youth leaders and pastor trainees who are immigrants and born of immigrant parents. We prayed: SeƱor Jesucristo, oramos por la iglesia Americana. Lord we pray for the American church that you would soften their hearts to move the government to change policy. We pray for reconciliation.

One student said: I was born 20 years ago; my mom came to this country 21 years ago and has been without papers ever since. She chose to come here for a better life for her family and herself. She would have come with papers, if only there was a way.

Lord we’ve been isolated too long. We pray for reconciliation between the immigrant church and the rest of the church. Teach us to love one another. Give us friendships through our relationship with you.

Lord, it doesn’t have to be this way, stir the hearts of your church, and members of congress, and senators, and the president.

At noon a very different group, a student, pastors, an attorney, a teacher met in a suburban church to pray.

“We pray for those not here, the invisible: hiding where they work in restaurants or hotels, picking our crops in the fields, or on the campus of UCLA as students excelling in their studies.”

“Lord, let our hearts be broken for what breaks yours because these issues that continually hurt YOUR people … break your heart.”

“Those of us who are old enough to remember the civil rights movement of the 1960’s know that much of the white evangelical church was on the wrong side of the issue then. We pray that we think more openly in this decade about justice for the immigrants and people who labor here.”

“I grew up in a church where everyone looked the same and thought the same. I had to learn and then experienced that God loves many kinds of people. People with light skin and dark skin; people who speak English and those who do not; people born in my country and those who came here of their own choice, with or without authorization.”

Together we sang the words of this song, and we danced upon injustice.
“Did you feel the darkness tremble, when the saints join in one song?
And the streams flow as one river, to wash away our brokenness.
And we can see that God you’re moving, A time of jubilee is coming
And young and old will turn to Jesus, fling wide you heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring Your hope, songs that bring Your joy 
Dancers who dance upon injustice”

~Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble, Martin Smith & Matt Redman

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Prayer for Compassionate Immigration Reform

Lord, we cry out on behalf
Of immigrants throughout our land.
Dispel the myths. Squelch the lies.
Move in the hearts of Americans.
Open eyes to the complexity.
Turn hearts to compassion.

Lord, I pray for progress.
We depend on you for change.
You, the creator of all mankind,
the author of dignity,
the source of love,
help us encourage others to truly see
the neighbor, the stranger,
the power of love over law.

Protect the activists and advocates.
Give them wisdom and strength.
Grant them access to decision makers.
Bless them with love for those who disagree,
Yet quiet the organizations
that divide and destroy.

Help us be patient in the waiting,
Focused on the value,
Kind in our approach,
As we make others aware,
Challenge others to change,
And invite the country to
A renewed perspective, an
American foundational truth.

Please bring reform that keeps families together,
Provides a reasonable path to citizenship,
Grant grace to the good workers,
And most of all, Lord,
Please push the Dream Act
Into action on behalf of our
Immigrant students.

We do not know how you will act.
We come expectantly.
This is the day.
This is the time.
We, the church, must walk on
seeking You
To move mightily for justice.

by Cindi Peterson

Cindi is a writer, educator, and student advocate in Southern California. She is passionate about the Dream Act, the issues of human trafficking, and economic disparity. She leads Women Against Global Hunger and blogs at Seeds and Sensibility.