Advent 1: Jesus – Light of the World,


I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing this email/blog from Tearfund.
Praying together for an end to global povertyDear All, As Advent begins, Rachael Adams, One Voice in Prayer editor, reflects on the power of light and darkness and what it means for us today. 

The star must have shone so brightly for the magi – literally lighting up the sky for them to follow so expectantly underneath. But also metaphorically, providing direction in a time of oppression and darkness for so many people.
If you light a candle in a well-lit room, it’s going to get lost. But turn off the lights, and watch it come alive. In the deepest darkness comes astonishing light.

What does this mean for us? Tearfund’s calling is to work where the need is greatest. This means our staff, partners and the churches we work with are operating in challenging contexts and situations – often in places of conflict and sometimes, where Christianity or prayer is restricted. Where it can feel dark. But they press on.‘Whatever I’m doing, I feel inspired by the call that God gave me,’ shares Mario, who works with our local partner in Mozambique to help people who have fled horrific violence. ‘My last word of hope is one day we shall live as a family, united in peace.’

What does this mean for us? Jesus Immanuel, God with us, always – no longer will we feel alone in our struggles. Jesus – Prince of Peace – here to show us another way is possible. Jesus – Light of the World – illuminating a path for us to follow; a beacon of hope in these trying times. We cannot do what we do without the hope of Jesus.

We cannot do what we do without the power of Jesus.
We cannot do what we do without the love of Jesus. And this applies to us all. We can choose how we pray, give and act to support those near to and far from us.
As we countdown to the birth of our Saviour, let us face the darkness, knowing Christ overcame.Pray with usFirst, light a candle. Lighting a candle can help focus our prayers and it reminds us that light always overcomes darkness (John 1:5). Jesus – Light of the World,

We think back to when you first came – 
the centuries of waiting, silence and darkness
and the hope you brought.
Where there is conflict, oppression and injustice,
shine your light, Lord.
Where we feel alone, tired or weary, 
shine your light, Lord.
Renew and refresh us, so we feel alive in you again.

This Advent season, may you shine as brightly as the star did for the magi, 
may you guide us to be a light for all – near and far. 

Show us how to pray, give and act in a way that glorifies you, always.
In your name, amen.

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ John 1:5

Pray for the world Deadly earthquake in Indonesia
On Monday 21 November, an earthquake struck Indonesia. At the time of writing, 268 people have been killed – most of them children, who were trapped in classrooms when the earthquake hit. The damage is severe; 58,000 people are now homeless.
Pray for God’s comfort for those who are grieving.
Pray that the recovery efforts will be swift and efficient and resources will be made available for people in need.
Change coming on plastic pollution Earlier this year, we shared that governments around the world had agreed – praise God – for negotiations to begin on a new treaty to tackle plastic pollution.
From 28 November to 2 December, representatives from countries around the world will gather in Uruguay to begin initial negotiations. Pray that strong foundations will be laid down at these talks for a treaty that protects people living in poverty – including waste-pickers – from the harms of plastic pollution.
Eliminating violence against women and girls – Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world. Cry out to God for justice for women and girls.

Pray for success for the work Tearfund is doing globally to tackle this issue, including training church leaders and influencing governments.

Pray for more opportunities for our team to deliver training and for hearts and minds to be changed.In Focus: COP27

Were your prayers about COP27 answered? As COP27 – the United Nations climate talks – wrapped up last week, our advocacy team shares the impact our prayers and actions had on the conference and how we can continue to pray.
We prayed for the conference itself; for the voices of people living in poverty to be heard and for favourable media coverage. Our team received positive media coverage throughout COP27, including on BBC, The Times Radio, The Guardian and The National and with various Christian media outlets too. Through these channels, we were able to amplify the voices and concerns of people living in poverty and help influence leaders at the conference. 
We prayed for the outcomes we’d like to see; for words to be turned into action for limiting global heating to 1.5°C and for high-income countries to provide money for lower-income countries to adapt to the climate crisis. And for a commitment to phase out fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, we leave this COP27 still on course for around  2.5°C of warming – and that’s only if countries implement their current plans. For people in poverty around the world, every fraction of a degree matters. Warming of one degree more than the agreed target of 1.5°C, will mean more floods, storms and droughts – bringing food and water insecurity for even more people.

Good news: after long and extended negotiations, an agreement was reached to establish a fund for ‘loss and damage’. This refers to climate damage that has happened or that cannot be avoided, such as sea-level rises, which sweep away entire communities. While details are yet to be worked out in full, the inclusion of this is a ray of hope for vulnerable communities and shows that their voices are being heard by decision-makers.Sadly, the agreement fell short of calling for a phase out of all fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. This makes it even more challenging to achieve the goal of limiting global heating to  1.5°C.

We prayed for the church to take action on the climate crisis and we continued to pray for people living in poverty who are most affected by climate change. On Saturday 12 November, thousands of Christians marched across London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and other cities in the UK to raise their voices as part of the Global Day of Action.
Many churches across the UK also used our prayer guide in their churches and planned services to raise awareness and pray for COP27 and for our global neighbours who are suffering from the effects of climate change. We draw hope from the fact that COP27 has been about far more than just the negotiations. It’s been about people coming together from around the world to create and speak up for change.  

Pray with us  – Read through the points again and lift them up to God in praise or petition – depending on the outcome. Where agreements haven’t yet been met, ask God to make a way. And keep praying for Christians around the world to speak up about climate change and for protection and provision for our global neighbours who are suffering from the impacts of the climate crisis.

© Tearfund – Charity No. 265464 (England and Wales) No. SC037624 (Scotland) | Tearfund 100 Church Road Teddington, England TW11 8QE UK

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