Prayer and Perseverance

Lately, it’s been hard to watch the news.

We are bombarded with images of devastation — people affected by an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the plight of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people in Iraq and those in need of food and shelter in Gaza. At home, we are facing complex problems around the unaccompanied minors traveling into the US and issues of justice after recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Witnessing these events can be overwhelming. For those of us who work in international relief and development, whether faith-based or secular, this is par for the course. My program colleagues deal with complex issues everyday as they accompany our partners in the important work of healing a hurting world.

Yet, for most people, the 24-hour news cycle and endless flood of updates on social media feeds can cause information overload. In looking at recent events, we are all experiencing some level of anxiety, fear as well as feelings of helplessness.

At times like this, I turn to prayer. I am deeply grateful for my community of faith. Scripture calls us to care for those in need and “love our neighbors as ourselves.” Please join me in praying for all who are hurting in the world, and the caregivers who serve compassionately and faithfully.

On World Humanitarian Day, I am reminded of the Prayer for the Human Family.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infects our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in the bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on the earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- The Book of Common Prayer, p.815

May God’s abundant grace offer peace and healing in these challenging times.

Let us walk in love.



Rob Radtke is President of Episcopal Relief & Development.  


Images: Paintings by Georgia O'keeffe; Storm Cloud, Lake George, 1923; Desert Abstraction, 1931; Rust Red Hills, 1930; Pedernal, 1945


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