'We do not need to close our eyes while singing praises to the Lord. We can sing praises with our eyes open, willing to see and feel the pain of the world – and then our eyes will meet God’s eyes.'
In the attached reflection, the Brazilian theologian Valdir Steuernagel looks at Psalm 146 and the Magnificat of Mary in Luke 1: 46-55 and challenges us to learn from Mary and the Psalmist the real meaning of praising God.
'For in their words of praise to the Lord, readiness to serve, and a rereading of history in the light of God’s promises, the denunciation of evil and injustice and the proclamation of God’s victory over all forces of death go hand in hand.'
§ Valdir Steuernagel suggests that we examine our lives of praise in the light of Mary's Magnificat as well as in the light of the 146th Psalm.
§ Praise God for successful Micah Challenge exploration meetings in and
o Please pray for great wisdom and God's guidance for the elected interim steering groups as they continue their networking and start to plan for the formation of the campaign.
§ Praise God for well-attended workshops and launches of Micah Challenge in
o Please pray that the necessary resources to develop the campaigns will be found and that those living in poverty in their countries will soon be able to feel the benefits of the campaign.
§ Steuernagel asks: 'What is there to sing about?' when e.g. we are looking at the recent HIV/AIDS statistic below: God's faithfulness and promises !
'To repeat God’s faithfulness nourishes our lives, tells us that we are not alone, and announces to the world that he can be counted on. Proclaiming his promises says that history has a meaning, that life has worth and value, and that God is in control.'
o Please pray for people living with HIV/AIDS: for God's goodness to somehow be real in their lives.
Meditate on the Statistics
As you spend time in prayer and reflection, you may like to take a moment to silently understand with your heart the focus statistic we will include each week (see below). We are hoping that you will find this series of statistics a useful reference in preparing presentations.
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases
Target 7: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
'The number of people living with HIV increased in every region in the world in the past two years. The most striking increases have occurred in East Asia and in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the number of people living with HIV in 2006 was over one fifth (21%) higher than in 2004.'
Source: AIDS Epidemic Update, , UNAIDS and WHO, December 2006
Yours in Christ,
Regine, Jill and Michael
Please see List of Prayer Reflections
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