Enviro Prayer Diary

May 2018 Environmental Prayer Diary
May is Biodiversity Month

 (The purpose of this Prayer Diary is to provide subjects for your reflection and prayer as the Spirit moves you)

Tuesday 1
National Bird Week

In the first week of May every year BirdLife South Africa tries to get as many South Africans as possible from all walks of life aflutter with excitement over the feathered inhabitants of the country.  What about organising a bird walk with fellow Parishioners this week? ….

St. Francis Prayer to Birds – “Little Sisters”

The patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi, built bonds of love with all of kinds of creatures in the animal kingdom.   But Saint Francis had a special relationship with birds, who often followed him around and rested on his shoulders, arms, or hands as he prayed or walked around outside.

One day, as Francis and some companions were traveling through the Spoleto Valley in Italy, Francis noticed that a huge flock of birds had gathered in some trees beside a field, and he walked over to preach a sermon about God’s love to them.

Here’s the story of that famous sermon:

Francis told the birds:

My sweet little sisters, birds of the sky, you are bound to heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your songs, praise Him.
He has given you the greatest of gifts, the freedom of the air.  You neither sow, nor reap, yet God provides for you the most delicious food, rivers and lakes to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys for your home, tall trees to build your nests, and the most beautiful clothing: a change of feathers with every season.  You and your kind were preserved in Noah’s Ark. Clearly, our Creator loves you dearly, since He gives you gifts so abundantly.  So please beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and always sing praise to God.”

The people who witnessed Francis’ sermon to the birds reported that the birds listened intently to everything Francis had to say and remained attentively gathered around Francis until he blessed them, and they flew away.

Pray for:

  •  Birdlife International: BirdLife International is a global partnership of 121 conservation organisations (NGOs) worldwide that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources
  • Birdlife South Africa: BirdLife South Africa strives to conserve birds, their habitats and biodiversity through scientifically-based programmes, through supporting the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources and through encouraging people to enjoy and value nature
Wednesday 2
Prayer from Nigeria

God of Heaven and earth,
you have blessed us with the works of your hands,
The tall mountains and deep blue seas
Even wonderful creatures to adorn it
And have given us dominion over all of them
Help us to preserve and appreciate this gifts that others may benefit
Even generations to come, this we pray
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Holy Spirit
one God now and for ever.
Amen.

Chukwuemeka Roderick Oji, Preach Water Foundation

Thursday 3 “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Mother Teresa

Friday 4
SDG Goal #15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Facts & Figures:

  • Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction
  • Of the over 80,000 tree species, less than 1 per cent have been studied for potential use
  • Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30 per cent of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production
  • Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. Only three cereal crops – rice, maize and wheat – provide 60 per cent of energy intake    As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-­‐based medicines for basic healthcare
  • Micro-organisms and invertebrates are key to ecosystem services, but their contributions are still poorly known and rarely acknowledged

Prayfully reflect on this.

Saturday 5 “Nature has so formed us that a certain tie unites us all, but this tie becomes stronger from proximity.
Cicero
Sunday 6
A Prayer poem from Ethiopia

Mom is crying!
Our mother earth is dying!
She is really burning!
The tradition of planting trees is gone
her children abandoned her, and did harm to her.
Give wisdom to her children to save her.
Direct and lead us all to protect her.

She is really burning.
The globe is crying loud.
Africa is crying loud.
Ethiopia is crying loud.
Our mom earth is drying!
Oh! wisdom!
Oh! fear of God!
Oh! care for creation!

Let us confess our sins
which were invisible and not considered as such.
Lord have mercy on us and lead us and help us
to save our beautiful mom, our earth, our globe.
Let it be our daily duty to save our mom.
As we love ourselves, let it be so for our mom, earth.

Then the daughter will dance, the sons will join
the whole community will rejoice
in the wellbeing of our mom, earth
In the valley of Omo down, on the mount of Rise Dashe,
Ethiopians want to flourish
in the wellbeing of our mom Ethiopia, earth!

Our God, the source of everything
the creator and saviour of mom
please give all human beings thoughtful spirit,
hard working habits, towards the betterment of life,
all together to save our mom.
Our mom, earth is bleeding
it is so cruel to let her bleed!
Please, our Father and Mother and creator of mom give us kind spirit
to save her from such danger up on!
Have mercy on us! give us directions to save her!

By Belaynesh Bekele, Ethiopia

Monday 7  
Tuesday 8
Jewish Creation Care Prayer

It is good to acclaim Adonai, To sing your praise, exalted God, To affirm Your love each morning, And Your faithfulness each night, To the music of the lute And the melody of the harp. Your works, Adonai, make me glad; I sing with joy of Your creation. How vast Your works, Adonai! Your designs are beyond our grasp. The thoughtless cannot comprehend; The foolish cannot fathom this: The wicked may flourish, springing up like grass, but their doom is sealed, for You are supreme forever. Your enemies, Adonai, Your enemies shall perish; All the wicked shall crumble. But me You have greatly exalted; I am anointed with fragrant oil. I have seen the downfall of my foes; I have heard the despair of my attackers. The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; They shall grow tall like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of Adonai, They will thrive in the courts of our God. They shall bear fruit even in old age; They shall be ever fresh and fragrant, To proclaim: Adonai is just- My Rock, in whom there is no flaw.

Courtesy of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Wednesday 9
Buddhist Creation Care Prayer

We gently caress you, the Earth, our planet, and our home. Our vision has brought us closer to you, making us aware of the harm we have done to the life-network upon which we ourselves depend. We are reminded that we have poisoned your waters, your lands, your air. We have filled you with the bones of our dead from war and greed.  Your pain is our pain. Touching you gently, we pray that we may become peace-bringers and life-bringers so that our home in its journey around the Sun does not become a sterile and lonely place. May this prayer and its power last forever.

Courtesy of Manitoba Buddhist Temple 3

Thursday 10
For the beauty of the earth

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow’r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1835-1917

Friday 11  
Saturday 12 “I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that everywhere, wherever you may be, the least plant may bring to you the clear remembrance of the Creator. If you see the grass of the fields, think of human nature, and remember the comparison of the wise Isaiah. “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.”.

St. Basil the Great

Sunday 13
Non-Denominational Christian Creation Care Prayer

Gracious God, your amazing love extends through all time and space, to all parts of your creation, which you created and called good. You made a covenant with Noah and his family, putting a rainbow in the sky to symbolize your promise of love and blessing to every living creature, and to all successive generations. You made a covenant with Abraham and Sarah, blessing them and their descendants throughout the generations. You made a covenant with Moses and the Israelite people to all generations, giving them the 10 commandments and challenging them to choose life. In Jesus, you invite us to enter into a new covenant, in communion with all who seek to be faithful to you.

As people of faith, we are called into a covenant. Your covenant of faithfulness and love extends to the whole creation. We pray for the healing of the earth, that present and future generations may enjoy the fruits of creation and continue to glorify and praise you.

Courtesy of the National Council of Churches

Monday 14  
Wednesday 15
Read John 2:13-25

“Stop turning my Father’s house into a market”

 How much do we honour this commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”?

It is all too easy to fill our Sundays with activity: housework, TV, shopping…  Before we know it, the sun has gone down and the day is over.

In today’s gospel, Jesus is outraged by what he sees in the temple. The traders have forgotten this is a sacred place. “Stop turning my Father’s house into a market,” he exclaims. In Exodus today we are told: “On the seventh day he rested; that is why the Lord has blessed the seventh day and made it sacred.”

We can take this as a sign for us today. Let us take out all that is unnecessary. Let us restore rest to our Sundays and make time to listen to God’s call in our lives.

Pope Francis says, “Sunday is meant to be a day that heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world… The day of rest, centred on the Eucharist, sheds its light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.” (Laudato Si’ #237)

Lord, our God, Creator of all that is, create in our hearts a desire to know you and your ways, your blessing of time in the Sabbath rest.

This reflection is by Rachel McCarthy, formerly in CAFOD’s Theology Team.
The prayer is by theologian Celia Deane-Drummon
www.cafod.org

Tuesday 16
SDG Goal #15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
  • By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally

Pray that this goal may be achieved

Wednesday 18 “How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars – when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.”
St Thomas Aquinas (13th Century)
Thursday 17
Reflection:

Pope Francis – Laudato Si

“37. Some countries have made significant progress in establishing sanctuaries on land and in the oceans where any human intervention is prohibited which might modify their features or alter their original structures. In the protection of biodiversity, specialists insist on the need for particular attention to be shown to areas richer both in the number of species and in endemic, rare or less protected species. Certain places need greater protection because of their immense importance for the global ecosystem, or because they represent important water reserves and thus safeguard other forms of life.

38. Let us mention, for example, those richly biodiverse lungs of our planet which are the Amazon and the Congo basins, or the great aquifers and glaciers. We know how important these are for the entire earth and for the future of humanity. The ecosystems of tropical forests possess an enormously complex biodiversity which is almost impossible to appreciate fully, yet when these forests are burned down or levelled for purposes of cultivation, within the space of a few years countless species are lost and the areas frequently become arid wastelands. A delicate balance has to be maintained when speaking about these places, for we cannot overlook the huge global economic interests which, under the guise of protecting them, can undermine the sovereignty of individual nations. In fact, there are “proposals to internationalize the Amazon, which only serve the economic interests of transnational corporations”.[24] We cannot fail to praise the commitment of international agencies and civil society organizations which draw public attention to these issues and offer critical cooperation, employing legitimate means of pressure, to ensure that each government carries out its proper and inalienable responsibility to preserve its country’s environment and natural resources, without capitulating to spurious local or international interests.”

 Prayerfully reflect on this

Friday 18
Hard as Rocks –  Psalm 62:1-2

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress; I will never be shaken.

Pick up a small stone – look at its features carefully.    In his desert trials David often found shelter, safety, rest, and prayer in a cave in the rocks.   Perhaps in some area you’re feeling unsure or unstable, fearful or fickle.  Open your heart to God and tell him just how you feel.

How do you need Jesus to be your Rock today?

Saturday 19  
Sunday 20 “Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above.  Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.  Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.  Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.”
Psalm 148:1-4
Monday 21  
Tuesday 22
International Biodiversity Day

Theme: Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity

The theme was chosen to mark the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity and to highlight progress made in the achievement of its objectives at the national and global levels.

The International Day for Biological Diversity (or World Biodiversity Day) is a United Nations–sanctioned international day for the promotion of biodiversity issue & falls within the scope of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

In this larger initiative of international cooperation, the topic of biodiversity concerns stakeholders in sustainable agriculture; desertification, land degradation and drought; water and sanitation; health and sustainable development; energy; science, technology and innovation, knowledge-sharing and capacity-building; urban resilience and adaptation; sustainable transport; climate change and disaster risk reduction; oceans and seas; forests; vulnerable groups including indigenous peoples; and food security. The critical role of biodiversity in sustainable development was recognized in a Rio+20 outcome document, “The World We Want: A Future for All”.

Shona prayer from Zimbabwe

Great Spirit, piling up rocks into towering mountains,
when you stamp on the stone,
the dust rises and fills the land.
Father, you sew the heavens like cloth:
knit together what is below.
Caller-forth of the branching trees,
you bring forth the shoots that stand erect.
Wonderful one, you live in the midst of the sheltering rocks.
You give rain to humankind.
Hear us, O Lord!
Show mercy when we beg you.
Gracious One, you are on high with the spirits of the great.
You raise the grass-covered hills above the earth and create the rivers.

John Mbiti
The Prayers of African Religion, © 1975, SPCK, London, UK

Wednesday 23 World Turtle & Tortoise Day

Some 350 species of tortoises and freshwater turtles exist on Earth, representatives of a lineage dating back to the dawn of the age of dinosaurs. While not as obviously visible as birds or ecologically dominant as large mammals or fish, turtles often fulfill important roles in the ecosystem, including seed dispersal and vegetation management, control of insect and snail populations, and keeping water clean and populations healthy by scavenging dead animals and preying on weak and sick individuals. Turtles and tortoises also feature prominently in human culture and legends, and are eaten in some human societies

Without concerted conservation action, many of the planet’s turtles and tortoises, iconic survivors from the Age of Dinosaurs, will become extinct within the next few decades.

The critically endangered Geometric Tortoise is naturally restricted to the far south-western corner of the Western Cape Province, South Africa and is listed as one of the top 25 most endangered tortoises and turtles in the world.  The threats to this beautiful tortoise is habitat loss and illegal pet trade.


Action:

  • Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop or road vendors as this increases demand from the wild.  Report the illegal sales of tortoises (or other reptiles) to your local NSPCA or Conservation Authority.  Report the illegal sale of tortoises (and chameleons) on the Sun City road to 078 331 7570
  • It is ILLEGAL to own, keep, breed, buy, sell or transport any indigenous reptile without a valid permit issued by the relevant nature conservation authorities.
  • Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild.  They are far happier where they are with the correct habitat
  • Keep off of sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off-road vehicles – especially beaches where the endangered sea turtles are known to nest.
  • Emergency care – If a tortoise is crossing a busy road, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.

Pray for:

  • Those working to conserve these amazing creatures
  • Necessary funding to cover their conservation projects.
Thursday 24  
Friday 25
Prayer for Biodiversity

Creator God, we pray for our brothers and sisters of the air: blue swallows, thrushes, sparrows, doves, eagles, owls, wattled cranes, oyster catchers…
Give us a sign through them to decrease the pollution in the air we breathe.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our brothers and sisters of water: shells, algae, tilapia, frogs…
Wake our compassion at the sight of their wounds so that we cease polluting the water.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our brothers and sisters of the earth: mongoose, impalas, pythons, yellowwoods, the tomato plants and the earthworms…
May their humility and simplicity inspire us to live according to your will.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for the leaders and ministers, for mayors and CEOs of companies. May they hear the call from God through other creatures and make sustainable, wise decisions.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our community.
We ask you the courage to act regarding our environment and not to succumb to the temptation of wasting.
Creator God, let us pray.

By the Green Church Project, Montréal, Canada

(adapted for South Africa by Noeleen Mullett)

Saturday 26
Evolution – A New Creation

My Franciscan colleague, theologian and scientist Ilia Delio, applies the process of evolution to human spiritual growth:

If being the image of God is at the heart of evolution in Christ, then the spiritual life is essential to Christian evolution. A dynamic interior spirit must be at the heart of change. Change is not what happens outside us; rather, change must first take root within us. . . . Just as the world of nature has an inner freedom to be itself, so too Christian life, if it is truly an evolutionary life in Christ, must be rooted in freedom.

. . . We live in a dynamic and unfolding universe; ours is an open system of life. In light of an evolving universe where change is integral to the emergence of new life, we should welcome change as the very sign of life. To resist change is ultimately to resist Christ; it is to prevent evolution toward unity of life in the universe. To be a Christian is to be “on the way,” announcing the good news of the risen Christ through spiritual attitudes of poverty of being, humility, compassion, openness of heart and mind. . . .

[We need] a new understanding of Christ, a new way of doing theology, and a renewed sense of Christian life. The vernacular theology of the mystics is the most viable way that Christ can be raised from the dead and become “God for us”—through participation, dialogue, and engagement with the world. Teilhard [de Chardin’s] spiritual vision, centered on and rooted in Christ, emphasizes “global responsibility, action and choice in shaping the future of humanity on our planet. He affirms that life is a task to be done, a work to be achieved, and celebrates life as a most precious and wonderful gift to be loved and experienced as a sign of the Spirit who sustains us all.” . . .

[We] are to seek the hidden God in our world by seeking the hidden God in our lives—living Christ by doing Christ.

Richard Rohr
Centre for Action and Contemplation
cac.org

Sunday 27
 Muslim Creation Care Prayer

Through the silence of nature, I attain Thy divine peace. Oh sublime nature, in thy stillness let my heart rest. Thou art patiently awaiting the moment to manifest through the silence of sublime nature. Oh nature sublime, speak to me through silence, for I am waiting in silence like you the call of God. Oh nature sublime, through thy silence I hear Thy cry. My heart is tuned to the quietness, that the stillness of nature inspires.

Courtesy of Hazrat Inayat Khan

Monday 28
Litany for the Planet

Grasses multiply and wild flowers proliferate
     Because you God in Christ set the earth free

Vegetables colour the garden and herbs give aroma to the spiral
     Because you Spirit led us into the new creation

The lion and the lamb are making friends; the worms love the lettuce
     Because you Wisdom inspired new natural   companions

The insects live in diverse croplands with birds sharing the spoils
     Because you Lord of Love taught us to share

Every part of the creation is significant from flies to mosquitoes
     Because you Creator of all, reasoned everything into being

Now teach us triune God to transcend ideology to sustainability
     Because Christ you are the peace between us

Tuesday 29
Psalm 65

1-2 Sing God a brand-new song!  Earth and everyone in it, sing!  Sing to God – worship God!  2-3 Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea, Take the news of his glory to the lost, News of his wonders to one and all!

4-5 For God is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs.  His terrible beauty makes the gods look cheap; Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags. 5-6 God made the heavens – Royal splendour radiates from him, A powerful beauty sets him apart.

Bravo, God, Bravo!  Everyone join in the great shout: Encore!  In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might.  8-9 Bring gifts and celebrate, bow before the beauty of GOD, Then to your knees—everyone worship!

10 Get out the message—God Rules!  He put the world on a firm foundation; He treats everyone fair and square.  11 Let’s hear it from Sky, With Earth joining in, And a huge round of applause from Sea.  12 Let Wilderness turn cartwheels, Animals, come dance, Put every tree of the forest in the choir –   13 An extravaganza before God as he comes,  As he comes to set everything right on earth,  Set everything right, treat everyone fair.

(The Message)

Wednesday 30 Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. 

John Muir
(also known as “John of the Mountains”; naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist. (1838-1914)

Thursday 31  

 

 2018 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF
2017 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF

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