God of life, in whose image all humankind has been created;

The sacred stories of our ancestors tell us that, from Eden onward,

we have always been people on the move.

We have fled in fear from despots,

            been driven from our homelands by conquering powers

 sent into exile and enslavement

We have packed up our children and our lives, turning our back on drought, famine, and pestilence, seeking lands of milk and honey, restoration, and new hope.


We have crossed rivers and wandered through wastelands,

we have listened to the thunder from mountains and watched by night for signs and portents;

and we have believed it was You, calling us into a different future,

You, walking beside us on hard and dangerous paths,

You, incarnate in the strangers who welcomed us along the way

making room for us to begin new lives in their midst.


And now, our faith stories have strayed from their sacred roots.

Sixty eight million children of God are on the move, just as our ancestors were.

Families fleeing violence crowd our borders,

Millions wait with scant hope in refugee camps across the globe

The whole creation groans in pain with these, your people, who suffer abandonment, unjust judgment, and the indifference of those who could help, but will not.


Forgive us, God of the traveler, Christ the Stranger, Spirit of Welcome:

            We have forgotten our history,

            Become captive to doctrines of fear and division

            Neglected to visit those imprisoned

            And turned away from neighbors in need and the stranger in our midst.


But not all. On this World Refugee Day, we pray in profound thanksgiving for communities, congregations, and people who see the face of God in the face of a wanderer, an asylum seeker, a refugee:

  for those along the U.S. border who offer hospitality to newcomers, provide advice and resources, speak a prophetic word, open their homes and their hearts, make waters flow in the desert...grant them sustaining grace, resilience and the capacity to continue to care.


 for those who sit in courthouses, bearing witness during asylum and deportation hearings,

 for those offering sanctuary and visiting the detained, for communities receiving those on the road and supporting those who wait, for neighbors in Latin America who provide hospitality to caravans and hope to those who have been returned, we pray for courage, generous provision, and grace.


Help us, God of grace, to work with those who do your holy work of hospitality

 to walk alongside those who seek safe harbor and new beginnings,

 to bear witness with our words and our lives to your vision of a time when tears will be no more, every nation and tribe and language will sing praise together,

and all will be welcome in your Holy City, shaded by the Tree of Life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.  Amen.


Prayer for World Refugee Day, June 20, 2019

The Rev. Dr. Laurie A Kraus,

Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance


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