Enviro Prayer Diary

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

 

July 2021 Environmental Prayer Diary


Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has made a renewed and urgent call for prayer in the time of the renewed record highs of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Daily noon-time prayer

God bless the world,
Give it wisdom at this time,
Grant us relief and release,
Be with those who are ill,
And bless the carers fighting this pandemic,
For Jesus Christ’s sake,
Amen



 

Thursday

 

1

Plastic Free July

Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues of our times, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products overwhelms the world’s ability to deal with them. Plastic pollution is most visible in developing Asian and African nations, where garbage collection systems are often inefficient or non-existent. But the developed world, especially in countries with low recycling rates, also has trouble properly collecting discarded plastics. Research shows that only 16% of plastic in South Africa is recycled. The rest is thrown into dustbins and sent to landfill sites.  Plastic trash has become so ubiquitous it has prompted efforts to write a global treaty negotiated by the United Nations.

Plastics made from fossil fuels are just over a century old. Production and development of thousands of new plastic products accelerated after World War II, so transforming the modern age that life without plastics would be unrecognizable today. Plastics has  revolutionised medicine with life-saving devices, made space travel possible, lightened cars and jets – saving fuel and pollution – and saved lives with helmets, incubators, and equipment for clean drinking water.  The conveniences plastics offer, however, has led to a throw-away culture that reveals the material’s dark side: today, single-use plastics account for 40 percent of the plastic produced every year. Many of these products, such as plastic bags and food wrappers, have a lifespan of mere minutes to hours, yet they may persist in the environment for hundreds of years.

We humans invented plastic, but now we humans will have to also solve the problems caused by it. Who is responsible for the plastic pollution?  Governments can make rules, companies that produce or use plastics can produce guidelines on its use, but only we – the consumers – can solve the problem by using and disposing of plastic wisely and responsibly.

It’s time to join the millions of people reducing their plastic waste to care for God’s Creation.  What direction will YOUR strategy take?


 

Friday

 

2

Every creature, every plant,
every rock and grain of sand
proclaims the glory of its Creator,
worships through colour, shape,
scent and form.
A multi-sensory song of praise.
Creator God, may we join
with the whole of your creation,
in praising you, our Creator,
through the fragrance
and melody of our lives.


 

Saturday

 

3

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”

Thomas Merton


 

Sunday

 

4

Lord, make us people who recognise, nurture and act towards a more sustainable world for the benefit of all who draw life from this planet. Raise up campaigners who will speak out for wisdom, restraint and compassion. And teach us to partner you in protecting this precious world and the lives of our most vulnerable global neighbours. Amen


 

Monday

 

5


 

Tuesday

 

6

Creator God, who placed this planet
and all its resources into our care,
encourage those who now remind us
of our responsibilities, both to you
and future generations, to do all
that is necessary, whatever the cost,
to save this world that we call home,
so our children and theirs might not
look back, both in shame and anger,
at what we, in denial, have failed to do.


 

Wednesday

 

7

“You should really know what the complete natural world of your region is and know what all its interactions are and how you are interacting with it yourself.  This is just part of the work of becoming who you are, where you are.”

Gary Snyder
Philosopher and poet


 

Thursday

 

8


 

Friday

 

9

Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti of Pope Francis on the Fraternity and Social Friendship

Pandemics and Other Calamities in History

32.        True, a worldwide tragedy like the Covid-19 pandemic momentarily revived the sense that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together. As I said in those days, “the storm has exposed our vulnerability and uncovered those false and superfluous certainties around which we constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities… Amid this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about appearances, has fallen away, revealing once more the ineluctable and blessed awareness that we are part of one another, that we are brothers and sisters of one another”.[31]

33.        The world was relentlessly moving towards an economy that, thanks to technological progress, sought to reduce “human costs”; there were those who would have had us believe that freedom of the market was sufficient to keep everything secure. Yet the brutal and unforeseen blow of this uncontrolled pandemic forced us to recover our concern for human beings, for everyone, rather than for the benefit of a few. Today we can recognize that “we fed ourselves on dreams of splendour and grandeur, and ended up consuming distraction, insularity and solitude. We gorged ourselves on networking, and lost the taste of fraternity. We looked for quick and safe results, only to find ourselves overwhelmed by impatience and anxiety. Prisoners of a virtual reality, we lost the taste and flavour of the truly real”.[32] The pain, uncertainty and fear, and the realization of our own limitations, brought on by the pandemic have only made it all the more urgent that we rethink our styles of life, our relationships, the organization of our societies and, above all, the meaning of our existence.

Prayerfully consider how this is affecting our own Country


 

Saturday

 

10

“Do not despise the fish because they are absolutely unable to speak or to reason, but fear lest you may be even more unreasonable than they by resisting the command of the Creator.  Listen to the fish, who through their actions all but utter this word: ‘We set out on this long journey for the perpetuation of our species.”

Saint Basil of Caesarea (4th century)


 

Sunday

 

11

World Population Day

This year’s World Population Day is the twenty-seventh to be observed with the theme of “COVID-19 and Beyond”Putting the brakes on COVID-19: how to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls now.

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a staggering toll on people, communities, environments and economies everywhere. But not everyone is affected equally. Women, who account for the largest share of front-line health workers, for example, are disproportionately exposed to the coronavirus. Supply chains around the world are being disrupted, impacting the availability of contraceptives and heightening the risk of unintended pregnancy. As countries are on lockdown and health systems struggle to cope, sexual and reproductive health services are being side-lined and gender-based violence is on the rise.

Moreover, women disproportionately work in insecure labour markets and are harder hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Nearly 60 percent of women worldwide work in the informal economy, at greater risk of falling into poverty. Women’s unpaid care work has increased as a result of school closures and the increased needs of older people.

The pandemic is hitting marginalised communities particularly hard, deepening inequalities and threatening to set us back in our efforts to leave no one behind. Our response to COVID-19 in every country is critical and will determine how fast the world recovers and whether we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or not.

Prayerfully consider what each of us can do make a positive contribution to this problem


 

Monday

 

12


 

Tuesday

 

13

World Shark Awareness Day

New assessments by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) show 316 chondrichthyan species – sharks, rays and skates, and chimaeras – are now threatened with extinction.  Among them are four hammerhead shark species (Sphyrna family) and four species of angel shark (Squatina family) that are endangered or critically endangered, making them some of the most threatened shark families, as well as the giant manta ray (Mobula birostris), which is now facing a very high risk of extinction. “These findings are sadly predictable,” said Dr. Andy Cornish, Leader of Sharks: Restoring the Balance, WWF’s global shark and ray conservation programme. “As IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group continues to pull the curtain back on the state of sharks and rays, the crisis should be triggering alarm bells for anyone who cares about the health of our ocean. Twenty years have passed since the international community recognised the threat of overfishing through the International Plan of Action for Sharks. Yet, obviously, not nearly enough has been done to halt the overfishing that is pushing these animals to the brink of extinction.” 

https://wwf.panda.org/?1171816/More-than-300-species-of-sharks-and-rays-now-threatened-with-extinction

 

Wednesday

 

14


 

Thursday

 

15

In the beginning, Lord,
I was alone.
Like the earth,
before your Spirit moved over the waters
I was formless and empty,  and darkness filled the depths of my heart.
Then, it was as if you declared ‘Let there be Light’,
and out of the darkness I began to see hope,
like a shimmering ray of love
breaking through the parting clouds at the conclusion of the night.

In the beginning, Lord I was alone,
but when I saw you in the light I was no longer afraid.
You held out your hand, and though I had a choice
I had no choice,
because to refuse was to embrace again the darkness.

In the beginning, Lord I was alone,
Now I feel again a part of your creation,
loved, wanted, needed, family.
In the light of your presence,
I hold out my heart that others
might glimpse through it your reflection,
and be drawn from the darkness that I once embraced
into the light of your sunrise,
the brightness of your face.


 

Friday

 

16

World Snake Day

Snakes are not everybody’s favourite animal, and they are not always appreciated.  Many people do not understand or acknowledge a snake’s role in the environment. Some people believe they are here to harm us, others have not a clue as to why snakes even exist.  Too many people still hold the biblical perception of a snakes’ portrayal.  In Genesis 3:14 – the serpent is portrayed as a deceptive creature or trickster, who promotes as good what God had forbidden and shows particular cunning in its deception.  This, however, is not what snakes are in reality. 

In fact, like all animals in the web of life, snakes play an extremely beneficial and important role in our ecosystem by maintaining a balance to the food web. Because snakes are both predator and prey, they keep the pest population down by feeding on mice and other small rodents that damage crops and carry disease.  Snakes also form a large part of the diet of many birds of prey as well as a wide variety of mammals and other reptiles.

Snakes are really amazing and simply awesome animals that need to be conserved, just like all of this country’s incredible wildlife.  So, should you see a snake in your garden or in a nature reserve, let it be (call a snake-catcher if you are against snakes being in the garden).  Do not harm it. A snake is more terrified of you than you are of it!  Try to remember and understand that it is on this planet for a reason, a good reason. We need snakes, because without healthy ecosystems and a healthy environment, the world would be dysfunctional.

If you are concerned about the snakes identification and whether it is venomous on harmless – download the excellent app from the African Snakebite Institute.  (Also available on PlayStore on your cell phone.)  This app also has an up-to-date list of experienced snake catchers in your area.


 

Saturday

 

17

This is your world, Lord,
beautiful, bountiful,
yet fragile when abused.
Forgive our treatment
of what is your gift to us,
and instil within a desire
not only to care for it
as faithful stewards,
but preserve its beauty
and the life upon it
for future generations,
before it is too late.


 

Sunday

 

18

Mandela Day

Mandela Day is an annual international day adopted by the United Nations. It is more than a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to take his life’s work into a new era and change our world for the better.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrating Mandela Day will be mostly digital! This means you can volunteer safely from your home or office – by using your skills and interests to help a Cause – online! There is so much good that can be done virtually – coaching, mentoring, finance, tech support, marketing. You can also purchase much needed items online and arrange to have them delivered to the Cause of your choice. And of course a monetary donation goes a long way too.

Using Nelson Mandela’s own words: “It’s in your hands to make the world a better place.”

Find something you’re interested in and take part in digital #MandelaDay!


 

Monday

 

19

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens  carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”

George Washington Carver


 

Tuesday

 

20

Creator God, we give thanks that science is continuing
to increase our understanding of the world we live upon
and the bodies we live within.
We pray that knowledge gained by research and technology
might not simply be profit-driven,
but kindle a growing desire for the common good of all,
that rich and poor alike might see the benefit and humankind become,
as in the time of Eden, good stewards of this earth.


 

Wednesday

 

21

A Call to Prayer

The earth is at the same time mother, 
She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. 
She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all. 
The earth of humankind contains all moistness, all verdancy, all germinating power. 
It is in so many ways fruitful. 
All creation comes from it. Yet it forms not only the basic raw material for humankind, but also the substance of the incarnation of God’s son.

Hildegard of Bingen


 

Thursday

 

22

Song of the Sanctuary

You who watch the highest heavens
Wond’ring where God’s mansions are;
You who hope to spot an angel
Spinning like a falling star;
Earth is calling, Earth is calling,
Come back home and rest in me.
Come back home and rest in me.

You who build exotic buildings
Taller than the forest tree,
Don’t you know that all foundations
Deep, deep down reside in me.
Earth is calling, Earth is calling,
Come back home and live in me.
Come back home and live in me.

You who travel Earth as pilgrims,
Dreaming where you’d rather be;
God’s own glory fills my body,
I am God’sown sanctuary.
Earth is calling, Earth is calling,
Come back home to God in me.
Come back home to God in me.

You who hope for joys in heaven,
Do you know the joys of Earth?
Ancient forests filled with singing,
Seas that shout when whales give birth?
Earth is calling, Earth is calling,
Come back home and sing with me.
Come back home and sing with me.

You who long for bread like manna
Falling from the hand of God?
Know that Earth provides your water,
Precious breath and daily food.
Earth is calling, Earth is calling,
Come back home and dine with me.
Come back home and dine with me.

Words: © Norman Habel 2000


 

Friday

 

23

A Prayer about Wind, Waves and a Caring Jesus

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41

Dear Lord Jesus,  we pray for those who awake this day to destructive winds and threatening waves, no less real, but of a different kind. Family squalls, threatening the already-weakened stability of marriages and parenting; tropical storms on the verge of becoming hurricanes in our churches, targeting the peace and purity of your Bride; relational riptides, tearing friends apart and pulling some out to sea.

Like earlier disciples, our temptation is to cry out, “Jesus, don’t you see what’s going on? Are you under the covers asleep while we are under the threat of great harm? Don’t you care if we drown?” Theologically we know better, but existentially, we’re not so sure at times.

Lord Jesus, if you don’t intend to get us out of the storm yet, then at least come to us in the storm and speak these words persuasively and powerfully to our hearts, “Quiet! Be still!”

Calm our restless, raging hearts. Quell the emotions of panic and fear, anger and cynicism. Bring your tranquillity into our instability. As the wind blows and the waves grow, it cannot be “every man for himself.” It’s got to be every woman, man and child for you, Lord Jesus, and each of us for the other. It’s not primarily about our safety, but your glory. Nothing but the gospel is sufficient for such a task, nothing.

We believe, increase our faith in you. If we cannot trust each other, we must trust you or there is no reason or basis for hope. Humble us once again, Jesus. Redemptively terrify us that we might cry out, “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him.” So very Amen we pray, in your name and for your glory


 

Saturday

 

24


 

Sunday

 

25

Embrace this world,
it is a fragile place in need of healing,
where arrogance and self-interest
seek to undermine your common good,
and those in need take second place to those who have.
Embrace this world,
wash it in your tears of mercy and love,
and bring healing and restoration into its brokenness
dear Lord, we pray.


 

Monday

 

26

Psalm 85

You, Lord, showed favour to your land;
    you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
    and covered all their sins.
You set aside all your wrath
    and turned from your fierce anger.

Restore us again, God our Savior,
    and put away your displeasure toward us.
Will you be angry with us forever?
    Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
    that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.

I will listen to what God the Lord says;
    he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
    but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
    that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
    righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
    and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
    and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
    and prepares the way for his steps.


 

Tuesday

 

27

Loving God by Loving the World

I have often wondered what might compel more Christians to take personal responsibility to mitigate climate change. With all the scientific evidence we’ve been given, it doesn’t seem to be a head issue but a heart one. Scholar Sallie McFague (1933–2019) offers both theological and ethical reasons for us to make some much needed changes at an individual level. She writes:

As St. Augustine [354–430] puts it, sin is “being curved in upon oneself” rather than being open to God. In our ecological age, we now see that being open to God means being open to the other creatures upon whom we depend and who depend upon us. We do not meet God only in Jesus of Nazareth, because God is also incarnate in our world as the universal Christ. . . .

To love God by loving God’s world has meant different things to different people in different times. For us . . . it is epitomized by climate change . . . the central crisis of the twenty-first century. Put simply, climate change is the result of too many human beings using too much energy and taking up too much space on the planet. Through excessive energy use and its accompanying greenhouse-gas emissions, we are changing the planet’s climate in ways that will make it uninhabitable for ourselves and many other species. . . .

This is a strange “crisis” to face: It does not have the immediacy of a war or plague or tsunami. Rather, it has to do with how we live on a daily basis—the food we eat, the transportation we use . . . the luxuries . . . [and] long-distance air travel we permit ourselves. We are not being called to . . . fight an enemy; rather, the enemy is the very ordinary life we ourselves are leading. . . . Yet, for all its presumed innocence, this way of life lived by well-off North Americans [and prosperous people in other countries RR] is both unjust to those who cannot attain this lifestyle and destructive of the very planet that supports us all.

What, then, would be [an appropriate] ethic for twenty-first-century people and especially for well-off, religious people? One of the distinguishing characteristics of many . . . religions is some form of self-emptying. Often it takes the form of ego-lessness, the attempt to open the self so that God can enter. . . . In the Christian tradition, kenosis or self-emptying is seen as constitutive of God’s being in creation, the incarnation, and the cross. In creation, God limits the divine self, pulling in, so to speak, to allow space for others to exist. . . . In the incarnation, as Paul writes in Philippians 2:7, God “emptied the divine self, taking the form of a slave,” and in the cross God gives of the divine self without limit. Likewise, one understanding of Christian discipleship is [as] a “cruciform” life, imitating the self-giving of Christ for others. . . .

Could we live and move and have our being in the universal Christ, participating in the insight and power of God incarnate in the world as we deal with . . .  the basics of existence—space and energy—so we can live in radical interdependence with all other creatures? We are not alone as we face this challenge—the universal Christ is in, with, and for the world as we struggle to deal with climate change.

From Richard Rohr’s daily meditations
www.cac.org


 

 

Wednesday

 

28

World Conservation Day

Celebrated on July 28 each year, World Nature Conservation Day recognises that a healthy environment is the foundation for a stable and productive society and to ensure the well-being of present and future generations, we all must participate to protect, conserve, and sustainably manage our natural resources.

We all depend on natural resources like water, air, soil, minerals, trees, animals, food, and fuel to live our daily lives.  To keep the balance in the natural world, we must also help various species to continue to exist. A report from the World Wildlife Foundation suggests that since 1970, the pressure that we exert on the planet has doubled and the resources upon which we depend have declined by 33 percent. Despite the efforts put into conservation by organisations and conservation activists, their work has been undermined by those who have financial interests.

Protecting Our Planet Starts with You and you don’t have to do anything major and spectacular! (…. unless you want to!)  Simple every-day actions gets the job done!

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. Follow the three “R’s” to conserve natural resources and landfill space.
  • Volunteer. Volunteer for clean-ups in your community. You can get involved in protecting your watershed, too.
  • Educate and share. When you further your own education, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources.
  • Conserve water. The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually end up in the ocean.
  • Choose sustainable. Learn how to make smart seafood choices at http://wwfsassi.co.za/sassi-list/
  • Shop wisely and less. Buy less plastic and bring a reusable shopping bag.
  • Use L.E.D. light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also flip the light switch off when you leave the room!
  • Plant a tree. Trees provide food and oxygen. They help save energy, clean the air, and help combat climate change.
  • Don’t send chemicals into our waterways. Choose non-toxic chemicals in the home and office.
  • Plant a food garden and enjoy home-grown vegies.

 

Thursday

 

29

According to Deuteronomy 11 and 28, the blessings of obedience to God include: many children, seasonable rain, good crops and livestock, and economic prosperity. The curses for disobedience include: defective children, failing crops, diseases, mental confusion, disaster in war and climate catastrophe. Human disobedience has consequences for the whole of nature (Isaiah 24). Revelation 11.12 declares God’s judgement against those who destroy the earth.

What should our response be to increasing evidence of a sickness in our planet brought about by human activities?


 

Friday

 

30


 

Saturday

 

31

World Ranger Day

World Ranger Day is celebrated annually to commemorate Rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and to celebrate the work Rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural heritage.

Climate change, poaching and armed conflict are some of the challenges facing World Heritage. The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified these issues affecting sites and the managers who protect them.

Today, we use the occasion of World Ranger Day to commemorate and warmly thank the guardians of our natural areas for their commitment and sacrifices in protecting our common heritage, particularly during this difficult time across the globe.

Pray for blessings, protection and strength for the courageous men and women involved in this important work.


2021 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF

2020 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF

2019 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF

2018 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF

2017 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF

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