This time of year, our awareness of the blessings of God’s wondrous creation is heightened. Memories of summer swims are still fresh, the harvest of our gardens is abundant, and the vibrant rhapsody that is the transition to autumn is just beginning to unfold.
As heads of state and leaders of business and civil society gather for the UN Climate Summit in New York City, let us pray that they greet the task of mobilizing action and ambition towards a new global climate agreement with a profound sense of awe at God’s creation.
Let us pray that the people from across the world who come together for religious events, the People’s Climate March, or one of the many global mobilizations bring with them a sense of possibility and hope: hope that our leaders finally enact policies that will lower greenhouse gas emissions so as to stem the most damaging effects of climate change on the poorest people and most vulnerable creation.
Let us join with those gathered in New York as we pray for them, and for the restoration and flourishing of God’s glorious creation.
Let us pray.
Leader: God of Glory, God of Grace, we lament the destruction that our greed, consumerism, and endless pursuit of “more” have wrought upon your beautiful creation. We repent for the misguided choices that we have made and the resulting fragility, devastation, and spoiling of your earth, your air, your seas, and your creatures. Open our eyes, Lord, that we might follow your path.
Response: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray for the preservation of wildlife habitats, for the strength of old growth forests, for the health of the oceans, and for the purity of the air.
Response: God of the wilderness, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray for the well-being of all of the beautiful creatures of God’s great earth, especially those that are endangered and facing extinction.*
Response: God of the Amur Leopard, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray for our faith leaders and all faith leaders. For those who teach our children and youth, and all who guide us on our faith journey.
Response: God of the Wood Poppy, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray for those in government: our municipal leaders, our premiers and MPPs/MLAs, and those who represent us in Canada’s parliament, that you might give them wisdom and courage to discern your will and your way.
Response: God of the atmosphere, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray for all those gathered in New York this weekend, for government leaders from around the world, for people of faith, and for environmentalists. May they all be guided by your goodness, your wisdom, and your grace.
Response: God of the North Atlantic Right Whale, hear our prayer.
Leader: Lord, we ask that, with our support and encouragement, our elected leaders might pursue policies that support the well-being of the earth and all its creatures, that they will generously support those whose lives have been most profoundly impacted by climate change, and that they will contribute willingly to fund adaptation and mitigation commitments in the Global South.
Response: God of the oceans, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray for people throughout the world, that we all may hear the cries of your fragile earth. That we might hear the thundering of glaciers and oceans, and melodies of the streams. The calls of birds of the air, the songs of the seas, and the howls and chirps of all those creatures which roam the hills and valleys of the Earth.
Response: God of the Mountain Gorilla, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray that we might structure our lives, our livelihoods, and our economies in ways that respect and preserve the Earth.
Response: God of the Polar Bear, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray that we might think beyond ourselves and our current desires, mindful of the needs of peoples across the planet and future generations.
Response: God of the Sumatran Rhino, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray that we might offer ourselves in concrete acts of sacrifice and dedication to the health and well-being of the earth, the skies, and the seas.
Response: God of the Leatherback Turtle, hear our prayer.
Leader: We pray that we might respond to God’s urgent call to care for creation and to advocate on behalf of the voiceless plants, animals, water systems, and ecosystems.
Response: God of the Monarch Butterfly, hear our prayer.
Leader: As we journey from New York to Paris and our world leaders seek to conclude a global climate agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, we pray that we all might be guided by your goodness and grace.
Response: God of the universe, hear our prayer.
*According to the World Wildlife Fund, the following animals are critically endangered: Amur Leopard, Black Rhino, Cross River Gorilla, Hawksbill Turtle, Javan Rhino, Leatherback Turtle, Mountain Gorilla, Saola, South China Tiger, Sumatran Elephant, Sumatran Orangutan, Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Tiger, Vaquita, Western Lowland Gorilla, Yangtze Finless Porpoise. Many others are endangered, vulnerable, and threatened.
This prayer was originally published as part of CPJ’s “Living Faithfully into a New Climate” project, which is available at cpj.ca/climate.