One of the consistent themes in Christian social teaching is the recognition that this world has both material and spiritual realities. As such, it is not only important that we think about the moral, political, and economic structures that contribute to set the stage for human flourishing but that we also pray for those who are suffering that they would be free to live out their callings as human persons made in God’s image.

The Friday weekly intercessory prayer from the The Book of Common Prayer from the Church of Ireland directs our attention to these populations.

Gracious God and Father,
you have given your Son for us all,
that his death might be our life
and his affliction our peace.

We pray for THE SUFFERING
the hungry …
the refugees …
the prisoners …
the persecuted …
all who bring sin and suffering to others …
all who seek to bring care and relief …

THANKSGIVING
Gracious God and Father, we give you thanks
for the cross of Christ at the heart of creation,
the presence of Christ in our weakness and strength,
the grace of Christ to transform our suffering …
for all ministries of healing,
all agencies of relief,
all that sets us free from pain, fear and distress …
for the assurance that your mercy knows no limit,
and for the privilege of sharing Christ’s ministry in prayer.

Today we remember those who are suffering from hunger and living in animal like conditions in North Korea.

We remember the 218,171 inmates incarcerated in U.S. prisons.

We remember Cameroon as it has now received nearly 4,000 refugees from crisis-hit Nigeria, bringing the total Nigerian refugee count in neighboring states to 10,000 people, as the military continues it offensive against the people of that nation.

ChristianityToday.com reports from Syria, where fighting rebel factions are persecuting Christians including the murder of a Catholic priest and beheadings of Christian leaders. Recently, the Christian village of Homs was massacred and destroyed by fire.

We remember the people of Zimbabwe who have suffered under the rule of Robert Mugabe.

Finally, we remember the work of the church in all those places where there is suffering and injustice that those churches would be free to exercise their role as agents of healing, redemption, peace, and reconciliation.