Prayers of the People, Weekend of Haiti Crisis & MLK Day

Words taken from sermons on Martin Luther King, Jr. are in italics. (With some adaptation, mostly for gender inclusiveness.)

Holy God, sometimes we look around and it seems the world is crumbling…

…war after war, division after division, injustice after injustice, violence upon violence, and sin upon sin, we are surrounded by a world where not only the structures of society, but sometimes, the very ground beneath a city crumbles.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. We speak and cry out together as children of God, as brothers and sisters to the suffering poor of our country and every country.

We know that the curse of poverty has no justification in our age. And so it breaks our hearts to see Port Au Prince leveled by an earthquake that would barely harm Los Angeles or San Francisco.

It breaks our heart to see people afraid of what the future holds: when there is no food, no water, no doctors, when there seems to be no hope.

And it breaks our heart to realize that our hearts are only broken by utter disaster…when the injustice and poverty has been there, in Haiti, and throughout our world all along.

Call us to action, O Lord, call us to change. Call us to love.

We know the depths of love you made us capable of: the depths of love for father , mother, sister, brother, daughter, son, friend and neighbor…

We know the depths of love because of the pain we feel on behalf of those closest to us. So hear our prayers today for the ones we love who suffer:


And we know the depths of love because of the joy we feel on behalf of those closest to us. So hear our shouts of joy today on behalf of the ones we love who celebrate:


But call us to action, O Lord, call us to change. Call us to love.

It is love that cuts off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

And you, God of love, taught us that love is action, love is coming close to those who suffer.

We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.

We must use all your gifts to us: intellect, privilege, money, and time, all your gifts, to put love into action in this world.

Let us rise up with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, to make this world look more and more like your vision, like the kingdom of heaven, like the great banquet where there is room for everyone at the table, and where there is more than enough for every guest.

Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas.  Grant that all people will come together and let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen.

One Response to “Prayers of the People, Weekend of Haiti Crisis & MLK Day”

  1. Katherine Says:

    Oh gosh, Erica, thanks so much for sharing this. I really wanted to write a good prayer for tomorrow but the week never allowed it. I’m still finishing my sermon so it won’t happen tonight. I will borrow this and give you (and MLK) credit tomorrow. Thank you.