Praying with Pride.

Yesterday’s Pride in London saw thousands of LGBTI people, including hundreds of Christians, march through London joyfully proclaiming and celebrating who we are. At a packed-out service at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, we came together to remember those who suffer and die because of their sexuality, and to celebrate the God whose love for us is perfect.

I was there on behalf of Christian Aid, whose partners across the world work for equality for all – and a few people have asked for the words of the prayers I prayed. Here they are, please feel free to use them if they’re helpful in your context. 

God whose love is never limited, we pray to you for those whose experience of life contains more fear and hatred than love. For those who stay indoors, who look over their shoulder, who never relax – for those who suffer attacks for their sexuality or gender identity and live under the weight of fear. We pray to you for our LGBTI family in many places where freedom is in short supply, for LGBTI people in Russia… Sudan… Uganda… Syria… Brazil… Somalia… Albania… El Salvador… Nigeria… Iraq… Azerbaijan… among many, many others.

God of life, stop the killing.
God of peace, end the violence.
God of justice, bring fair laws.
God of love, set love free.

We speak up with those who are silenced and afraid, determined to work for equality for all – and together we say:

Goodness is stronger than evil.
Love is stronger than hate. 

God who knows grief, we pray to you for those who mourn today, whose bodies feel heavy under the weight of loss – for all who lost loved ones in Orlando, friends, family, much-loved partners. Remembering victims through the years and across the world of transphobia and homophobia, we lift to you all whose grief will never be known – and remember that it’s known to you.

God of all comfort, bring relief.
God of healing, bind up broken hearts.
God who is with us, be very close.

With those who mourn, we share the silence of grief, and the words that are true – together we say:

Goodness is stronger than evil.
Love is stronger than hate.

God who was abandoned and betrayed, we pray to you for all who face rejection because of you who they are. For those who have been kicked out or made unwelcome by parents… family… friends… churches… or communities. We pray especially for LGBTI people facing homelessness, addiction, low incomes and insecurity – for those who have been left to face the world alone.

God of reconciliation, bring calm where there is chaos.
God of community, surround those who are alone with true family.
God of the outsider, strengthen our love for one another.

We choose to reach out to those who have no one, and to them and with them, together we say:

Goodness is stronger than evil.
Love is stronger than hate.

God who knows every hair on our head and every fibre of our beings, we pray to you for all those LGBTI people who struggle with mental health, for those who have taken a battering from the world that’s left them anxious or depressed… and we pray especially for those who can’t get the care they need, who are afraid of speaking out, who live in places where to do so would open them up to more discrimination and fear.

God of order, give peace to troubled minds.
God of freedom, break the power of stigma.
God who is our rock, give solid support.

We each come with our own battles, some in the past, some still raging, and with clear confidence or with shaking voices, we choose to remember what is true – together we say:

Goodness is stronger than evil.
Love is stronger than hate.

God of endless energy, we pray to you for those who challenge prejudice and work for equality for all, for people of every sexual orientation and gender identity. We especially pray for those who keep up the fight in difficult contexts – for campaigners who stand up against anti-LGBTI laws at risk to themselves, for those who risk their jobs, their safety and their reputations to reach out in support to LGBTI people. We pray for small organisations like Comcavis Trans, an organisation for trans rights in El Salvador supported by Christian Aid, and the many others all over the world who blaze a trail towards a fairer future.

God our shelter, protect those who struggle on.
God of surprises, give joy in their work.
God of hope, light a fire in us all that keeps burning.

We join our voices with those who’ve gone before us, and from the shoulders of giants, together we say:

Goodness is stronger than evil.
Love is stronger than hate.

God who gives us a vision of a future free from fear, where all are valued and loved, where there are no more tears or mourning, we thank you today for all those who inspire us – for the teachers helping students to navigate and celebrate their queer identities, for young people making their schools safer for others, for the people of faith who are insisting their churches include everyone, for the ordinary people who make waves everyday. And in a moment of silence, we name in our hearts the people who we are most grateful for, who help us to live as freely and fully ourselves.

God of all life, inspire us to use the lives we have to create a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all queer people are free to love and be loved.

We join our voices with the voices of heaven as together we say:

Goodness is stronger than evil.
Love is stronger than hate.

(Claire Jones, Christian Aid, June 2016. Attribution appreciated if you put any part of these prayers in print). 

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About Claire

@claireylegs Keen on Jesus. Keen on justice. Ministry assistant in the Great North East. Blogger. Find me in: coffee shop / church / pub / bed.
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