Pope Francis has encouraged the Catholic Church and “all people of goodwill” around the world to take part in the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1, joining with the Orthodox Church on this special day of prayer. As a response to environmental and ecological crises that we face, the Orthodox Church designated this day of prayer in 1989.
Bo Prosser, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s coordinator of strategic partnerships, offers a prayer below on our interaction with nature and our affect on God’s creation. Today, let us give thanks for the beauty of our magnificent world and ask forgiveness for the ways that we have abandoned our call to be caretakers and stewards of it.
On this day, we join our hearts and minds with those of brothers and sisters in Christ all around our world in prayer for creation. We know that when you created this planet that you pronounced this Earth as good.
We know that when you created this good Earth the water was pure, the air was life-giving, the soil was rich and the elements were all joined together in perfection.
We confess, O God, that in our sinfulness, we have taken the perfection you have given us and, in many cases, corrupted your creation. While our desires may have been mostly in service to others, our applications have been less than beneficial for the good of all. We have taken this good Earth and we have over-planted, over-fished, over-extinguished, over-hunted and even over-populated. We have been quick to serve ourselves and our selfishness.
We now toil away in over-polluted environments and over-extended resources. We have forgotten that you set all of creation before us as a gift and called us to be caretakers. We confess, O God, that we have become consumers!
On this day, we join our prayers with those all around our world for forgiveness and new vision. Give us eyes to see the beauty of creation, thereby rejecting the waste we dump on the land. Give us ears to hear the songs of the birds and the speech of the animals, rejecting the senseless torture and killing of these. Give us lungs full of fresh air that we might reject the polluting of our skies. Give us hearts of compassion for those with whom we pray, knowing there is one God and one Christ and one Holy Spirit for all of creation.
Sensitize us, O God, to the groaning of all creation today. Remind us afresh and anew that we are caretakers of this holy garden. Help us to visualize and realize your Kingdom, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Forgive us and bless us, O God!