The Mothers’ Union (MU) was founded in 1876 by Mary Sumner, who died on the 11th August 1921. The MU has named Saturday 9th August 2014 as Mary Sumner day in honour of their founder.
This prayer draws inspiration from a number of MU prayers and concludes with Mary Sumner’s own prayer.
Father of mercy and compassion who sent Your Son to free us and redeem us, hear us as we pray to you through Your Son Jesus Christ, asking him to speak with you on our behalf.
As we look around Your world, Father, that you gave into our stewardship, and as we watch and listen to the news reports, we see and hear of so much conflict, violence and war. Yet there is much to be thankful for too.
Lord of peace, show us the way to victory over violence. Let wars of weapons become only wars of words and negotiated settlements be sought. Help the peacemakers with the words of persuasion and the power of love and give each of us the courage to speak out agains unfairness and injustice.
The Mothers Union (MU) has spread around the world and has members in Iraq, currently enduring internal conflict. We pray for the safety of the members of the MU in Iraq and for the families they support. May their presence and commitment help to bring stability, peace and compassion to that troubled region and care and support to the families caught up in the conflict.
With the commemoration of World War One underway, we pray that everyone might learn from the massive loss of life and we call to mind the words of Winston Churchill from 1954 that “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” Lord and father, give the peacemakers the words to “jaw-jaw”.
Healing God, we pray for the people infected by the Ebola virus in Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and all of west Africa. Give the doctors and nurses caring for the infected strength and skill, the scientists knowledge to find a cure and the authorities the will and the means to contain the spread of the outbreak.
We pray for Your church, Lord, wherever in the world people meet in Your name. We pray for Christians suffering persecution and especially for the Christians in Iraq, in the communities of Mosul and Qaraqosh. We ask strength for the 50,000 Yazidis trapped in the mountains above Sinjar, dependant on aid air drops of food and water for survival and we pray for the 40 plus children already known to have died.
In these places we give thanks and gratitude for the courage and faith of those who serve you in ways seen and unseen. Many give selflessly of their gifts and strength to sustain others in need. Sustain them too, Father, that they can continue to serve there fellow people and You.
In this holiday season we pray that each man, woman and child will find rest and renewal and that without the business of their daily lives, they find time to be nearer to You.
We thank you for the holidays we enjoy and remember those who cannot afford any holiday. We give thanks for schemes like the Away From It All initiative by the MU, that provide holidays for people who would not otherwise have a break.
Healer of the sick and injured in mind, body or soul, send Your spirit of life to breathe over them, driving out infirmity and sickness from the body and doubt from the mind. Father god we name in your presence those we know who need the healing breath of your Holy Spirit to blow over them and in a few moments of quiet we set before you our own individual cares and concerns.
We give thanks, Lord, for all the members of the MU supporting families not only in Iraq but for every member wherever they might be around the world. They spread the good news of Your Son in so many practical ways and as Paul reminded us, “How welcome are the feet of the messengers of good news”. Let us remember how far those feet have travelled since Mary Sumner founded the Mothers’ Union.
The Mary Sumner Prayer
All this day, O Lord, let me touch as many lives as possible for thee and every life I touch, do thou by this spirit quicken, whether through the word I speak, the prayer breathe, or the life I live.