By REV ANGELA PALACIOUS
The annual World Day of Prayer is a wonderful opportunity for us all to pray for one another. It is a chance to learn about countries on the other side of the world. In 2015, it was our turn. On that day, at least one hundred and eighty countries had translated copies of the service written by a group of ecumenical Bahamian women. There was a children’s service which was held in our schools, and a Bahamian stamp was printed and issued on Friday, March 6, 2015. Bahamian art and music and other background information were included in the materials that were distributed around the world.
For what do you have to be thankful both then and now? Let us celebrate the strength and resilience of our people, the beauty of our country, the diversity of our population and visitors, the freedoms we enjoy, and so much more. Within your own family, what blessings do you take for granted? Among your circle of friends, do you recognize the rare treasure of faithfulness, loyalty and devotion? In your church settings, do you appreciate the ability to worship without fear or intimidation?
Let us never forget to put God first as the Israelites were taught to do: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. (Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 NIV). Every home needs to be a house of prayer.
What about our challenges? Can we put our finger on some key sources of difficulty? How important is poverty and economic hardship as a serious contributor to immorality and criminal behaviour? Does illiteracy undermine our workforce and multiply dependency on government assistance? Is it unemployment that fosters domestic violence? Is incest an ongoing generational sin and if so how do we break the cycle? Are drug addiction and alcoholism the main factors that destroy family life?
If you were to request prayers for our nation what would be on the top of your list? Would it be youth disillusionment and rebelliousness, teen pregnancy and high levels of out-of-wedlock births, spiritual apathy and general godlessness, or social inequality?
We need prayers for all of these things and more. We have many wonderful advantages in our favour and we have to thank God with all of our hearts for all of these blessings. We also are facing many issues and problems, some of which are global situations, others are peculiar to us.
We each have to determine whether we are helping to build up the country or we are working to tear it down. It is now time to make a major adjustment in our attitudes and approaches. We have to work together with a unified effort. We have to share the responsibilities even as we want to enjoy similar benefits. This is a time of great opportunity and we need to take advantage of all open doors. Even international doors remain open to us and we must never underestimate our own abilities to excel.
Let us remember the words spoken to the people of Israel who began as slaves and ended up as a great nation: “Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you….and when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6: 3, 12 NIV).
Let us continue to pray for the world while praying for ourselves. Let us believe that God is going to do a new thing for us as the months and years go by. Let us expect great things for and from ourselves.
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.