World Day of Prayer for God’s Creation

WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR GOD’S CREATION

Every year the Evangelical Environmental Network joins Christians from around the world to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for God's Creation on September 1st.

Below are resources for the upcoming 2016 World Day of Prayer for God's Creation. We believe prayer is essential for action and understanding on how the Holy Trinity would have us care for God's world. So please use and adapt these resources to organize regular prayer in your home, church, and community.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has long set aside September 1 as a day of prayer for God’s creation and in 2015  Pope Francis supported and joined the call for a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation for the Catholic Church. The Russian Orthodox Church also sets aside September 1 as a Day of Prayer for God’s creation. As evangelicals, we applaud these steps from our ecumenical brothers and sisters and affirm that the first day of September is a day of prayer for God’s creation and all people of good will. Evangelicals are building upon the National Association of Evangelicals’ Caring For God’s Creation Resolution (2015) The Cape Town Commitment (2010), a product of the Lausanne Movement for World Evangelization co-founded by Billy Graham and John Stott as well as the Evangelical Climate Initiative (2006).

This page is offered to assist those who would like to participate with others or by themselves in this day of prayer, knowing that thousands upon thousands around the world will also be praying.

We invite you to join us and thousands of others around the world in prayer on Thursday September 1, 2016.

How you can join in this worldwide Christian effort:

  • Spread the word and encourage others to pray on Thursday, September 1; tweet a link to this page; post this link up on Facebook; send it in an email. We’ll be using the hashtags #LaudatoSi #Pray4Climate #Pray4Creation #WorldDayofPrayer #SeasonOfCreation #LiveLaudatoSi
  • On Thursday, Sept. 1, we will host prayer conference calls at 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, and 6pm Eastern Time at 1-605-475-4800, 827289#. Please join us!
  • Pray with others on Sept. 1: invite one or more individuals to join you in person, via the Internet (e.g. Skype), or on the phone; combine these, e.g. two in person and more via the Internet.
  • Consider finding some time with fellow Christians (Catholic and Orthodox) to pray or reach out to a local parish or congregation.
  • Conduct your prayer time right before a meal, and then eat your meal with your prayer partner(s).
  • Have your prayer time outdoors in a natural setting close to you, such as a park, your own backyard, or simply by a tree.
  • Register your prayer event by clicking here.
  • Afterwards, share a photo or brief video clip of your prayer time via Twitter, Instagram, and/or your Facebook wall and EEN’s as well. Use the hashtags #LaudatoSi #Pray4Climate #Pray4Creation #WorldDayofPrayer
  • If you are celebrating mass or communion, consider using or adapting this resource from the Vatican.

Here’s some details as to the origins of September 1 from the website of the Ecumenical Patriarch:

In 1989, Patriarch Demetrios, the immediate predecessor of Patriarch Bartholomew, who was his closest adviser, published the first encyclical letter on the environment [8]. Demetrios was known for his meekness, and so it was fitting that during his tenure the worldwide Orthodox Church was invited to dedicate a day of prayer for the protection of the environment, which human beings have treated so harshly. This encyclical, proclaimed on the occasion of the first day of the new ecclesiastical calendar, formally established 1 September as a day for all Orthodox Christians within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to offer prayers for the preservation of the natural creation. A similar encyclical is published annually on the first day of September [9].

As Pope Francis has said:

“To be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live, an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation.”

OUR PRAYERS TO GOD, GUIDED BY SCRIPTURE

Use these prayers from Scripture to guide your time of prayer.

  1. You made us in Your image to reflect Your love in our care for Your creation, and we reaffirm our calling to be Your stewards of the Earth, whose bounty provides us life (Gen. 1:26; 2:15).
  2. Lord, you hate nothing that you have made, and are with all people, especially those who are subject to our poor stewardship and neglect of your world. Father, help us to recall the many who experience the by-products of pollution, both known and unknown, and help us to take steps to rectify the impact of pollution on human life.
  3. Gracious God, help us to remember the ancient words of scripture:

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

   Let us with humble hearts acknowledge our failure to live in unity with Your creation and give us the hope to be one with You    and Your creation that we may defend, protect, and seek abundant life for all Your children.

4. We thank you for Your creation, this wonderful handiwork of Yours, which You entrusted to our care. Thank you for the               fruitfulness of your creation. As the Psalmist said: “O’ Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8; cf.       Ps. 104)

5.We implore Your help as we seek to reflect Your care and protection for Your creation; we ask for Your forgiveness for the ways    we fall short in our creation-care calling, including the sins committed against the world in which we live (Isa. 24:5). Help us      by the power of Your saving grace and the guidance and encouragement of Your Spirit to be conformed to the image of Christ      in our care for Your creation (Rom. 8:26-29).

6.We offer up these prayers from our hearts: _____________.

Each participant should offer up a brief prayer whether silently or aloud as he or she feels led.

READING OF SCRIPTURE

Read one or more of the Bible texts cited above and supplied below (NIV).  For those who feel led, offer a brief word of reflection upon the prayers and Scripture.

Genesis 1:1- "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Genesis 1:3- "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."

Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”

Genesis 2:1- "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array."

Genesis 2:15 – “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”

Exodus 16:4 -- "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions."

Psalm 8 – “O’ LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! … When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is humankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

Ps. 100 -- "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

Ps. 104 – “Praise the LORD, O’ my soul … How many are your works, LORD!  In wisdom you made them all … I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Psalm 111:2—“Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.”

Isa. 24:5 – “The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant.”

Rom. 8:26-29 – “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

COMMITMENT

In light of our calling by God to be His caretakers of His creation, offer up one action that you will take in the month of September.  Suggestions include:

Share what you have committed to do with each other and pledge to pray for one another that you will remain faithful to your commitment

CLOSING

In closing read the final words of the Pope’s Encyclical, which are a prayer to God:

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!

Amen

[8] Cosmic Grace, pp. 37–39.

[9] This is significant inasmuch as 1 September is also the opening of the Orthodox church year, known as the Indiction.

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