Praying For Human Flourishing and Human Suffering
Religion & Liberty Online

Praying For Human Flourishing and Human Suffering

One of the consistent themes in Christian social teaching is the recognition that this world has both material and spiritual realities. As such, it is not only important that we think about the moral, political, and economic structures that contribute to set the stage for human flourishing but that we also pray for those who are suffering that they would be free to live out their callings as human persons made in God’s image.

The Friday weekly intercessory prayer from the The Book of Common Prayer from the Church of Ireland directs our attention to these populations.

Gracious God and Father,
you have given your Son for us all,
that his death might be our life
and his affliction our peace.

the hungry …
the refugees …
the prisoners …
the persecuted …
all who bring sin and suffering to others …
all who seek to bring care and relief …

Gracious God and Father, we give you thanks
for the cross of Christ at the heart of creation,
the presence of Christ in our weakness and strength,
the grace of Christ to transform our suffering …
for all ministries of healing,
all agencies of relief,
all that sets us free from pain, fear and distress …
for the assurance that your mercy knows no limit,
and for the privilege of sharing Christ’s ministry in prayer.

Today we remember those who are suffering from hunger and living in animal like conditions in North Korea.

We remember the 218,171 inmates incarcerated in U.S. prisons.

We remember Cameroon as it has now received nearly 4,000 refugees from crisis-hit Nigeria, bringing the total Nigerian refugee count in neighboring states to 10,000 people, as the military continues it offensive against the people of that nation. reports from Syria, where fighting rebel factions are persecuting Christians including the murder of a Catholic priest and beheadings of Christian leaders. Recently, the Christian village of Homs was massacred and destroyed by fire.

We remember the people of Zimbabwe who have suffered under the rule of Robert Mugabe.

Finally, we remember the work of the church in all those places where there is suffering and injustice that those churches would be free to exercise their role as agents of healing, redemption, peace, and reconciliation.

Anthony Bradley

Anthony Bradley, Ph.D. is Professor of Religious Studies at The King's College in New York City and serves as a Research Fellow at the Acton Institute. Dr. Bradley lectures at colleges, universities, business organizations, conferences, and churches throughout the U.S. and abroad. His books include: Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in America (2010),  Black and Tired: Essays on Race, Politics, Culture, and International Development (2011),  The Political Economy of Liberation: Thomas Sowell and James Cone of the Black Experience (2012), Keep Your Head Up: America's New Black Christian Leaders, Social Consciousness, and the Cosby Conversation (2012), Aliens in the Promised Land:  Why Minority Leadership Is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions (forthcoming, 2013). Dr. Bradley's writings on religious and cultural issues have been published in a variety of journals, including: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Detroit News, and World Magazine. Dr. Bradley is called upon by members of the broadcast media for comment on current issues and has appeared C-SPAN, NPR, CNN/Headline News, and Fox News, among others. He studies and writes on issues of race in America, hip hop, youth culture, issues among African Americans, the American family, welfare, education, and modern slavery. From 2005-2009, Dr. Bradley was Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO where he also directed the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute.   Dr. Bradley holds Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Clemson University, a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Westminster Theological Seminary.  Dr. Bradley also holds an M.A. in Ethics and Society at Fordham University.