Prayers for Indonesia

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Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan has expressed shock and sadness at suicide bombings targeting churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya on Sunday 13 May.

One of the bombings targeted a congregation of the Uniting Church’s partner church GKI (Gereja Kristen Indonesia) Diponegoro. A church elder and several congregation members were injured.

Two other suicide attacks left more than a dozen people killed and more than 40 injured. Shockingly, all the attacks were apparently carried out by members of the same family.

In letters to the GKI Moderator and the President of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (available here and here), both Stuart and UnitingWorld National Director Dr Sureka Goringe conveyed their deep sorrow.

“We pray for strength and courage for your leaders, for comfort and healing for your members, and that together, GKI remains a beacon of hope and peace in Indonesia,” said Stuart.

“We want you [the GKI and Communion of Churches in Indonesia] to know the Uniting Church in Australia stands in solidarity with you and is praying for all Christian churches in Indonesia at this time.”

Sureka said she looked forward to “a day when we can live in harmony together regardless of religion, race or gender.”

The message from Stuart and Sureka included the following prayer, which Uniting Church members in Australia may also like to offer during their personal prayers or during Sunday worship.

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Prayer for the victims of Sunday 13 May attack in Java

This prayer was written by Rev Dr Ji Zhang 张骥, Assembly Theologian in Residence, and translated by Rev Dr Apwee Ting, the former president of the Uniting Church’s Indonesian National Conference, for the GKI (Gereja Kristen Indonesia) and the Indonesian Communion of Churches. It is adapted from a prayer written by Homebush Uniting Church in response to the 2004 Asian Tsunami.

 

Almighty God, we come to you with our hearts full of thoughts.

But you are our refuge and strength,  

the light in the darkness,  

and so with confidence we offer our prayers to you.

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 

We stand in solidarity with all good citizens in Java

pray for the churches of Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal traditions,  

and we are confronted by the attacks on Christian worshipers.

We bring to you all the deceased,

and our trust in God’s peace their souls finding rest.

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 

We pray for those who grieve the loss of life,  

for those who are traumatized during Sunday worship,  

for those who are separated from the loved ones and friends,

we ask for your healing presence in their lives  

and we commend to your love all the injured.  

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 

We give to your care all those  

who have been involved in rescue operation.

Be with local churches and government forces  

as they minister to the suffering communities.  

Sustain them through this time of stress.  

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 

We commend to your care those are cleaning up,  

for those burdened by unimaginable losses  

and who have found themselves  

like refugees in their own locality.  

We ask that the emotional and spiritual support  

already offered by local communities and beyond

will encourage and lift their spirits.

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 

We pray for communities that have been devastated  

– especially in East Java and West Java.

May your peace bring people together  

to rebuild their lives and communities,  

and bring them healing from all evil.

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 

We pray for families and friends in Australia

who feel far away from the loved ones in Indonesia,

and those who had been through racial and religious attacks  

– still trying to make sense of the past.

Comfort them across the physical and emotional distance.

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 

We give thanks to God for the blessing in our lives,  

especially the gifts of joy we so often take for granted  

until they are in danger of being taken away from us  

– the gift of family, friends, a home, our possessions.  

Most of all we praise God for the gift of life itself.

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 

God of light over darkness,  

come into our hearts in the moment of now!

Come to transform our sorrow over the lost  

into blessings to the living.

Come to reassure us your eternal truth

in the resurrection of Christ Jesus:

Life is always stronger than death.  

 

Lord hear us

Lord hear our prayers.

 


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