The following prayer is offered on behalf of the more than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped April 14 by Boko Haram.
Loving God, you created each of us in your image — girls and boys.
You gave us eyes to see the beauty in each other and in all of creation.
You gave us ears to hear the stories of our elders.
You gave us minds to create and heal.
You gave us arms to embrace and comfort each other.
You gave us legs to play, dance and explore new and familiar places.
You gave us imagination to see what others cannot see.
You grieve the violence and deprivation facing the missing girls in Nigeria and around the world.
Comfort them in their fear, torn away from their school and families.
Sustain the families who grieve the loss of their daughters.
Transform the hearts of those who dishonor your beloved children.
God of hope, give us strength to be vessels of peace and hope.
Give us courage to end hate and free the oppressed.
Give us wisdom to nurture the sacred worth of girls in all that we do.
In the name of Jesus the Liberator,
—Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary
—Susan Greer Burton, Director of Women’s & Children’s Advocacy
General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church
May 8, 2014
Editor’s note: The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, and United Nations & International Affairs. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.
This release is available on the GBCS website at “A prayer for the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria.”