AIDS Creative Prayer

Hymn Suggestions: 

City of God (Schutte)
Come to Me (Weston Priory)
Come to the Water (Foley)
I Have Loved You (Joncas)
Isaiah 49 (Landry)
O Healing Light of Christ (Landry)
Healing River of the Spirit (Beach Spring)
Precious Lord (Dorsey)
Holy Darkness (Schutte)
On Eagle’s Wings (Joncas)
Peace Is Flowing Like a River (Landry)
Shelter Me, O God (Hurd)
The Cry of the Poor (Foley)
You Are Mine (Haas)
Opening Prayer for Forgiveness and Strength:
God calls us as a people, a whole people, none of whom is worthless. We are called to bear witness to the good news that no one is a stranger or an outsider, and that in Jesus Christ all division and separation have been broken down.     In the face of the worldwide crisis of HIV/AIDS we are called to be one people, yet hardness of heart, discrimination, and oppression prevent us from being who God calls us to be.
For this we ask forgiveness.
God of compassion, we often misrepresent you as a God of wrath, yet you are a God of love, raising us all to life; and so we ask: 
Lord, have mercy.
R.     Lord, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you banish the fear that has paralyzed us in responding to the needs of all who are affected by HIV and AIDS. When we falter, encourage us and strengthen us; and so we ask:
Christ, have mercy.
R.     Christ, have mercy.
Spirit of unity, you build up when we break down; you unite when we divide; you comfort when we condemn; and so we ask:
Lord, have mercy.
R.     Lord, have mercy.
May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

The poor and the weak have revealed to me
the great secret of Jesus.
If you wish to follow him
you must not try to climb the ladder of success and power,
becoming more and more important.
Instead, you must walk down the ladder,
to meet and walk with people
who are broken and in pain.
The light is there, shining in the darkness,
the darkness of their poverty.
The poor with whom you are called to share your life
are the sick and the old;
people out of work,
young people caught up in the world of drugs,
people angry because they were terribly hurt
when they were young,
people with disabilities or sick with AIDS,
or just out of prison . . .
people who are oppressed
because of the colour of their skin . . .
people in pain.
                        -- Jean Vanier, Canada
In Prayers Encircling the World: An International Anthology (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 1998,page 135, #164) as taken from The Broken Body by Jean Vanier, published by Darton, Longman & Todd, London. Used with permission.
Psalm 31:
            Antiphon: God is my rock and my fortress.
            In you, Yahweh, I take shelter;
            never let me be disgraced.
            In your righteousness deliver me, rescue me,
            turn your ear to me, make haste!
            Be a sheltering rock for me,
            a walled fortress to save me!
            For you are my rock, my fortress;
            for the sake of your name, guide me, lead me!
            Pull me out of the net they have spread for me,
            for you are my refuge;
            into your hands I commit my spirit,
            you have redeemed me, Yahweh.
            God of truth, you hate those who serve worthless idols;
            but I put my trust in you:
            I will exult and rejoice in your love!
            You, who have seen my wretchedness
            and known the miseries of my soul,
            have not handed me over to the enemy.
            You have given my feet space to spare.
            Take pity on me, Yahweh,
            I am in trouble now.
            Grief wastes away my eye,
            my throat, my inmost parts.
            For my life is worn out with sorrow,
            my years with sighs;
            my strength yields under misery,
            my bones are wasting away.
            To every one of my oppressors
            I am contemptible,
            loathsome to my neighbors,
            to my friends a thing of fear.
            Those who see me in the street hurry past me;
            I am forgotten,
            as good as dead in their hearts,
            something discarded.
            I hear their endless slanders,
            threats from every quarter,
            as they combine against me,
            plotting to take my life.
            But I put my trust in you, Yahweh,
            I say, “You are my God.”
            My days are in your hand,
            rescue me from the hands of my enemies and persecutors.
            Let your face smile on your servant,
            save me in your love.
            I invoke you, Yahweh;
            do not let me be disgraced,
            let the disgrace fall on the wicked!
            May they go speechless to Sheol,
            their lying lips struck dumb
            for those insolent slurs on the virtuous,
            for that arrogance and contempt.
            Yahweh, how great is the goodness
            reserved for those who fear you,
            bestowed on those who take shelter in you,
            for all to see!
            Safe in your presence you hide them
            far from the wiles of humanity;
            inside your tent you shelter them
            far from the war of tongues!
            Blessed be Yahweh, who performs
            marvels of love for me
            in a fortress-city!
            In my alarm I exclaimed,
            “I have been snatched out of your sight!”
            Yet you heard my petition
            when I called to you for help.
            Love Yahweh, all you devout;
            Yahweh, protector of the faithful,
            will repay the arrogant with interest.
            Be strong, let your heart be bold,
            all you who hope in Yahweh!
            Glory . . .
Psalm is reprinted from Psalms Anew by Nancy Schreck, OSF and Maureen Leach, OSF, © 1984 The Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa. Used with permission.
We bring our prayers before God who knows our prayers before we pray them, who in listening to our intercessions helps us to acknowledge the desires of our own hearts.
Each intercession may be read by a different person.

Response: Bless us with compassionate hearts.
God of compassion, many step away from people with AIDS out of ignorance or fear or denial. Help us to step toward our brothers and sisters who have AIDS, those who are an ocean away and those on the sidewalks down which we walk. Help us stand in solidarity with their suffering, in recognition of their worth, we pray . . .
God of the poor, AIDS does not discriminate by race or religion or economic class. But people do. Help us to respond to the cry of the poor for AIDS medications and health care, for food, for education, for communities of support, we pray . . .
God of the orphan, there are villages in Africa where all of the adults have died of AIDS; only their children remain. Help us to create a global village that will raise these children in love and hope into a secure future, we pray . . .
God of justice, our nation has the power to fund a large percentage of the efforts that will slow the spread of global AIDS. Strengthen our call for a national response that is wise and immediate and generous, we pray . . .
God of our inmost hurts and heartbreaks, AIDS reaches us where we live. Be with us as we call to mind the people we have loved, known, or encountered who are living with or who have died from AIDS __________ (Allow space for quiet reflection and naming people who are being prayed for at this time.) we pray . . .
We have brought our prayers for healing and compassion before God. Let us bring all these together as we pray in the words taught to us by Jesus. Our Father . . .
 Catholic Relief Services, 209 West Fayette St., Baltimore, MD 21201-3443, Phone: (800) 235-2772* FAZ (410) 234-3183 * Used with permission.
Concluding Prayer
Jesus, giver of life and hope, you knew the love of a human family and the warm companionship of your disciples; and though few of them remained with you at Calvary, you found even there the support of your friend and your mother and of unnamed women. We pray that those today who live with HIV and AIDS may also be blessed with tender and loving companions, who will give them practical help in their times of need and offer them hope in their times of darkness. May they find in us too an unseen source of strength as they and we are held together in your love.