This prayer guide will equip and inspire your prayers for the climate.
It has been produced by Tearfund and 24-7 Prayer as part of the international Renew Our World campaign.
INTRODUCTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
The climate crisis is growing more urgent each day. We are on course for catastrophic global temperature rises that will put millions of lives at risk – and it’s hitting the world’s poorest people hardest. We know this is not God’s plan and we can help change this.
As Christians, we are all called to play our part in shaping a better future. God calls us to love one another and to help build his kingdom on earth.Through prayer and speaking out for change, we can build a fairer world that works for everyone.
“NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT UP TO 132 MILLION PEOPLE WILL BE PUSHED INTO EXTREME POVERTY BY CLIMATE CHANGE BY 2030.”
Already, more people are going hungry, extreme weather events are more frequent and severe, and entire communities are being displaced.We are on course for further catastrophic global temperature rises that will put our world and millions of lives at risk. Unless we act urgently, climate change will push 132 million more people into poverty this decade. We know this is not God’s plan and we can help change this.
Even faced with these facts, the issue of climate change can still be hard to grasp: it’s big, it’s global, and it can feel difficult to know how to begin to respond.
However, our generation has a choice no other generation will have – we’re the ones who can act and make sure everyone has the chance to live well, as God intended.
WE HAVE A PART TO PLAY
“LOVE DOES NO HARM TO A NEIGHBOUR.”
We can all play a part in responding to the changing climate by putting our faith into action. Speaking up for change and adjusting our lifestyle are great ways to respond. However, prayer is one of the most important ways that we can take action. We’re commanded to “pray in the Spirit... with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18), and when we pray we’re speaking to a mighty and powerful God. This means that when we pray, we are part of God’s transforming work!
As we lift up prayers and requests about these issues, injustices and difficulties, we must also remember to give thanks and praise for the beauty of the world that we’re part of, and praise God for the created earth that we live on. Through our prayers and actions, we’ll show our governments we care about a fair and sustainable world,for the love of God and our neighbours.
HOW TO GET STARTED
- Decide how often to pray: you might like to set aside a specific period of time every day, week or fortnight to pause and pray for the climate. Start with something that feels manageable and nottoo overwhelming!
- Remind yourself to pray: write down your commitment or add it to your phone as a reminder.
- Stay informed: find a source of information to help you pray
- Keep going: be persistent. It can feel like a huge topic, but your prayers are heard by God and can make a difference!
HOW TO PRAY
Sometimes, praying differently can really help you to go deeper in your relationship with God. Below are some interactive prayer ideas:
USING THE BIBLE
The Bible contains incredible words that can inform and inspire our prayers. Focus on a passage of scripture as you pray. You might like to:
» rewrite the passage in your own words;
» read in a different translation;
» apply God’s promises in the passage to your prayers;
» read the prayer as a blessing to a particular leader on your heart;
» memorise it.
Here are some passages to get you started, we’ve included a couple of verses from each:
“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters…” PSALM 24 (NIV)
“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God...” ROMANS 8:18–27 (NIV)
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those inauthority,…” 1 TIMOTHY 2:1–7 (NIV)
USING SOCIAL MEDIA
Often, our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds can be a distraction to our prayer lives. However, there are things you can do to make socialmedia helpful when praying:
» Follow key people or organisations who talk about climate change
» Share what you’re doing: there are lots of Christian organisations tackling climate change who will love to hear how you’re praying
» Challenge yourself to get creative! Turn tweets into prayers; Instagram photos into reflections; Facebook updates into a rallying call to action.
» Be bold and courageous with your social media prayer presence and challenge others you know to get involved too!
If you find it difficult to concentrate by sitting still to pray, try going on a prayer walk. Choose a route around your local area and as you walk, pray into whatever you see that speaks to you. You could pray for world leaders when you walk past your local council office, or communities overseas when you get to your town hall.
USE PRE-WRITTEN PRAYERS AND LITURGY
You may like to provide some pre-written prayers and liturgy.
Climate change is hitting the poorest people first and hardest, those who have contributed least to the problem. The past generation didn’t know, and it will be too late to leave it to the next, so this is our generation’s challenge.
Prayer is part of our response – it connects us to God and will shape the way we respond to these issues. The more we pray, the more we become passionate about making change happen. Here are some suggestions to take action:
Think and pray about steps you could take to live more sustainably and reduce your own carbon footprint. Here are some suggestions to get youstarted, and check out the resource bank for suggestions of where to find out more.
» Travel: could you walk or cycle more? Or use public transport, where available?
» Food: what impact does the food you eat have? Could you reduce eating meat each week?
» Energy: what type of energy powers your appliances at home, work and church? Could you switch to renewable electricity?
SPEAKING UP FOR CHANGE
In 2015 after years of negotiations, 195 nations committed to work together to tackle climate change and keep the earth’s temperature rise to1.5 degrees (the highest level we can handle without much worse damage). This deal is known as the Paris Agreement. This was a brilliant foundation, but we need to keep reminding governments to move faster and implement it. This includes keeping promises to reduce emissions,and for those most responsible (rich countries) to keep their promise to provide finance to help the poorest countries adapt to the changingclimate. Here are some suggestions for ways you can speak up for change:
» How is your government doing on implementing the Paris Agreement? Check out the Climate Tracker website
» Visit www.renewourworld.net to join a global movement of Christians acting and praying to tackle climate change
» Can you write or speak to your local or national leaders about their climate commitments?
24-7 Prayer is an international movement made up of communities of prayer, missional projects and countless individuals in Prayer Rooms all over the world. For over two decades, 24-7 Prayer has helped millions of people in countless locations to encounterGod and engage with the needs of the world.
The movement began in 1999 when a simple, student-led prayer vigil went viral, spreading into tens of thousands of locations and every denomination, from the Catholic Church in Austria to the Salvation Army in Australia, and countless persecuted communities in the Middle East.
Find out more: www.24-7prayer.com
Renew Our World is a global movement of Christians who believe that since we are truly image bearers of God, we should act like it – living out love for one another in actions and in truth. Since we are image bearers ofGod, we won’t stand by while our neighbours are trapped in poverty, and we won’t stay idle as creation is left untended, and inequality is left to fester.
Right now, we are campaigning and praying for action on climate change and waste. Join us at www.renewourworld.net