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Micah Challenge Prayer and Reflection, Friday 21 November 2008

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Reflection

This financial crisis is a major spiritual crisis. It is the crisis of a society that worships at the temples of consumption, and that has isolated and often abandoned millions of consumers now trapped on a treadmill of debt….

It is the crisis of a society that values the capital gains of the rentier more highly than the rights of people to a home, or an education or health. And it is a crisis, in my view, for faith organisations that have effectively colluded in this idolatry, by tolerating the sin of usury.’

Ann Pettifor, a long-term campaigner on debt and economic justice issues, looks back to church history in the 1500’s to discussions about acceptable interest rates and lending practices.

The Old Testament calls people who lend freely and with generosity righteous and blessed which is confirmed by Jesus. (Lev. 25; Deut.15; Ps.37; Ps 112; Luke 6).

In Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus deals harshly with money changers in the temple.

‘Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text:


My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.


Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.’

(Matthew 21:12-14 – The Message)

Prayer

Let us pray:

  • Ann writes that restoration comes if social values are considered ‘more noble than mere monetary profits’. Let us pray that we can have an attitude of nobility and generosity.
  • We pray for a world in turmoil.

    We reaffirm our faith in God and acknowledge that He is in control. We repent when we have placed our trust in money, institutions and persons, rather than God. Our security is not found in the things of this world.

    We pray that God will honour those attempts to address the financial crisis. We call on governments, institutions and individuals to honour their commitments and, in particular, to work to limit the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable.

    This crisis requires us to pull together as a community, to pray for one another, to care for those in need, and to model good stewardship in our spheres of influence.

    We encourage Evangelicals to show leadership in caring for the poor, calling for the necessary reforms needed to addresses the crisis and the practices that caused it, and be prophetic in challenging the structures and practices that are incompatible with good stewardship of the resources entrusted to each and all of us. We must live simply and be generous.

    May God give us wisdom.’

    Excerpt from the WEA GA Statement on the Economic Crisis

  • Reflecting on the statistic below: Lord, we acknowledge the complexity of the economic systems within countries and between nations.

    We pray against greed of individuals and businesses. We pray for a sense of justice and great wisdom for those who have responsibility in financial institutions and over country budgets.

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 include each week (see below). Our hope is that you will find this series of statistics a useful resource in preparing presentations.

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Target 12: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system

‘The global food crisis is partly the result of domestic agricultural subsidies and tariff protection by developed countries, which for many years have discouraged agricultural production in developing countries.

Developed countries’ total support to their own domestic agricultural sectors grew by some $65 billion between 2000 and 2004, before being cut by $16billion in 2006. Nevertheless, at $372 billion, such expenditures remained more than three times higher than the official development assistance of developed countries.

The support provided by developed countries to their own agricultural sector has continued at a time when developing countries have been encouraged to end all public support to their agriculture. This acts as a disincentive to agricultural production in developing regions and undermines official development assistance’s broad objective of supporting development.’

Source: Millennium Development Goals Report, United Nations, September 2008

http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/News.aspx?ArticleId=42


Yours in Christ,

Regine and MC team


Please view all the Friday Prayer statistics we’ve used to date at Index of Millennium Development Goal Statistics.xls


Please see Index of Reflections on Integral Mission.xls


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