It is now February and time to start a new month with a two new counties to pray for. For this month we have selected Haiti and the Marshall Islands. Join us in our prayer for these counties. In the past couple of months prayers were written by Rev. Dr. Matagi Vilitama, Rev. Dr. John Jegasothy and Levon Kardashian. This month’s prayers are written by Rev. Bronwyn Murphy and Rev. Dr. Clive Pearson. If you are interested in writing prayers email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for people to write these prayers and other prayers that will be published on the website to provide resources for congregations and leaders to prepare for worship service. We are also open to other suggestions and willing to look into other ways we can resource the church.
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The Republic of Haiti is a Caribbean country that shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east. Home to some 10.1 million people, Haiti struggles with poverty, environmental degradation, violence, instability and dictatorship.
A mostly mountainous country with a tropical climate, Haiti’s location, history and culture – epitomised by voodoo – once made it a potential tourist destination, but instability and violence, especially since the 1980s, have severely dented that prospect.
Haiti’s most serious underlying social problem is the huge wealth gap between the impoverished Creole-speaking black majority and the French-speaking minority, 1% of whom own nearly half the country’s wealth. Furthermore, the infrastructure has all but collapsed and drug trafficking has corrupted the judicial system and the police.
Haiti is also ill-equipped to deal with the aftermath of the tropical storms that frequently sweep across the island, with severe deforestation having left it vulnerable to flooding. It also lies in a region prone to earthquakes when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the capital in 2010.
God of all life and love,
We give you thanks for the people of Haiti – for their resilience, courage and capacity to endure. We acknowledge the trauma of European settlement and the ensuing slavery and oppression. We remember so many who were taken from their homeland and families to serve as slaves. We acknowledge the indigenous Taino people who were denied dignity and freedom; and the price paid by those who refused to settle for such injustice and cruelty. For those whose families have been decimated by oppression, cruelty, slavery, resistance and uprising – Lord God, we mourn for the suffering of the Haitian people.
God, in your mercy
Hear our Prayer
The Marshall Islands do not attract the level of attention that other threatened island nations like Tuvalu or Kiribati attract.
The Marshall Islands are to be found not far from the equator. They lie to the north east of Australia and are a part of Micronesia. The republic is made up of 1,156 islands and islets. Its population of 73,000 is spread out over 29 coral atolls. Nauru lies to the south. Majuro is the capital.
The name of the country is taken from a British explorer, John Marshall, who visited the islands in 1788. It seems as if the first Micronesian peoples arrived in the 2nd millennium BC; the first Europeans to sight the Marshalls were Spanish in the sixteenth century. The islands were historically known by the inhabitants as “jolet jen Anij” (gifts from God).
In terms of more recent history (since the late 19th century) the Marshall Islands have been part of the Spanish East Indies, the German empire (becoming part of German New Guinea), occupied by the Japanese and the United States. They have had full sovereignty since 1986 and became a member of the United Nations in 1991. The islands are in free association with the United States which provides defence. There are two official languages: Marshallese and English. The majority of its citizens are Christian – belonging either to the United Church of Christ – Congregational in the Marshall Islands or the Assemblies of God.
The Marshall Islands were the site for nuclear testing by the Americans during the cold war. The most well-known of those sites is Bikini atoll. The Marshall Islanders marked the 60th anniversary of those tests in 2014: the islands where tests took place remain unlivable. Many people in the surrounding areas were subject to nuclear fall-out and residual radiation remains. The people lament their loss of land and cultural heritage.
The Marshall Islands are now also vulnerable to rising sea levels; the capital Majuro has experienced king tides and the erosion of coastlines. The prospect of having to leave the islands is deemed to be ‘repugnant’. Like other small island Pacific states the Marshalls have pressed for international agreements on climate change and how to meet the threat of rising sea levels. The Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership was adopted in 2013.
Creator God, we give you thanks for the ‘gifts’ of these low-lying islands, spread out across the Pacific: we give you thanks for the ways in which these islands have been a home and shelter to an indigenous peoples for so long through time; we give you thanks for the gifts you have bestowed upon them and the cultural heritage in which they take pride and to which they belong. We give you thanks, for these gifts of God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ through whom, in whom and for whom all things were made. Amen.