This month’s prayers follow the theme of this year’s World Federation Day, ’Living Simply’.
Week 1: God’s call to simplicity of lifestyle
Read Philippians 4:11-13 and Proverbs 30:7-10
Nature has poured forth all things for all people for common use. God has ordered all things to be produced, so that there should be food in common to all, and that the earth should be a common possession for all. Nature, therefore has produced a common right for all, but greed has made it a right for a few.
St Ambrose of Milan
There’s a story about a man who goes to his minister and says that he can’t find God. The minister
opens his Bible and asks him if he can see the word ‘God’ on the page. The man scoffs that of course
he can. Then the minister puts a sixpence on the page and asks, ‘Can you see God now…?’
The Bible doesn’t really deal with ‘green issues’ or speak to us about being eco-warriors. Yet the
New Testament particularly calls us to a simple lifestyle – because, as followers of Jesus, we are
confident that we can depend more on God than on the things of this world. In fact, the story of the
rich young man in Mark 10:17f suggests that, the more ‘stuff’ we have, the more we are inclined to
let that interrupt our relationship with God. Our whole Christian story is founded on God opening
himself up to vulnerability by emptying ‘himself of all but love’ (Philippians 2:6-8). We are invited, in
return, to lean into the love of God. All else is secondary. As we see things more the way God sees
them, we begin more to share the approach God has to the stuff of the world – more emphasis on
justice, more emphasis on living care-fully on the planet…, more prioritising of our global and local
Here’s another story – two very famous American writers were at a fabulous party at the fabulous
home of a big star. The one commented to the other, ‘You know, no matter how popular your books
get, you’ll never have what he has.’ ‘Ah’, said the other, ‘But I have something that he will never
have…’ ‘What’s that?’ the other asked, surprised. ‘I have enough.’
I have my hand in the hand of the one who holds the waters. It is enough.
And so we pray:
In all my anxieties this week, help me to find your grace.
As I attend to my households needs this week, help me find space for generosity to others.
As I rush this week through your world, draw me to awareness, justice and compassion.
May my life more mirror yours.
May those who meet with me meet also with you.
In your name and through your grace I bring my prayers to you.
Action: this week, focus on your unnecessary ‘stuff’. Could you put something aside for the charity
shop every day? Or look at your recycling – is there something you could do to improve the amount
you recycle (like, find a place to take your batteries or soft plastics, or…). Or try out one of the local
shops where you have to take your own container?