Comment on a Prayer for Afghanistan on Facebook
Peggy Browder Collins, Cristine Phillipps Arnold, Melanie Smith Krenek
When my Mom was still living, she prayed constantly. She taught us to care about every person. When I was growing up, there were whole communities of people praying constantly.
Now Cristine’s prayers are organized and focused on specific issues. I can see her effort and care to pray clearly and completely.
Protection, Safety, Provision for all people there. There are about 39 Million people living there. They all have lives and family and purpose. Peace, Hope, no Fear, Restoration of Order so they can heal and grow – every one of them. All the visitors too. Every one who happens to be in that country at this moment. No exceptions. Every person. Everyone. Every person connected in some way.
Over my life I keep bumping into global problems where I have to think about millions or billions of people as individuals with real lives, in real places, with real skills, wants, relationships, and purposes. Visualizing “every one” helps me to understand. Practicing that – in prayer or meditation or study or planning or trying to understand – improves your ability to pray clearly. The more you pray and clearly see the lives of others, or situations, the more you can pray – clearly and completely. It is a very useful skill. Especially in a global society where there is so much going on.
I had to update my prayers for the whole world just now. All year I have been praying for “7.8 Billion people”, but I checked just now and it has moved to “7.9 Billion people, their families, lives, situations, and purposes.”
On the Internet, “Afghanistan” OR “阿富汗” OR “Афганистан” OR “アフガニスタン” OR “아프가니스탄” OR “أفغانستان” OR “אפגניסטן” OR “Əfqanıstan” OR “ауғанстан” shows up with about 560 Million entry points. I am tired and could not list all of the various ways people refer to Afghanistan easily, so I rounded it off to a Billion places on the Internet where Afghanistan is mentioned. For practical purposes, I expect that every one of the 7.9 Billion has some awareness and connection to Afghanistan in their memories and lives. So I end up visualizing and praying for “Afghanistan in the context of the whole world and its future”.
I worked for many years in international development. I know the kinds of prayers that those groups routinely pray for “all countries, all people, all things that affect them” – Education, purposeful jobs, respect for others, water, food, housing, clothing. The list is long. It goes to millions of ways to try to say what is important in peoples lives.
Well, there is not infinite space to write here. And I just updated my population estimate. Wikipedia says there might be as few as 31 Million people there now. The UN says 2.5 Million refugees in other countries. But the UN has not learned to pray in real time, so they are almost always out of date in their prayers. Or someone there might have a clear picture, but they don’t know how to share so others can pray “completely, in real time”.
For 23 years, every day, I have prayed for the whole world, every person, every issue, every topic, every possible future. I don’t leave out the world itself and every living thing. If you know that life depends on events, you also have to pray for natural resources and events. Sorry to ramble. I just had not realized, until I read Cristine’s summary, how much prayer and a way of holding all things in mind is important in everything I do. As a practical matter, until you know all that relates to something, you cannot change it. I was asked to set up the Famine Early Warning System technologies many years ago. And because I had years of praying for every country and every thing in every country, it was easier to take something as amorphous and large as “famine” and do something practical about it.
Sorry, I am just trying to see what might come next. But it is best to just take each thing and do your best, keeping all things in your mind and prayers. Thanks for sharing this long and fairly complete prayer. But I would like to organize all things on the Internet related to Afghanistan. Open, lossless, complete, auditable, accessible for immediate use, accessible for all languages and ages, up to date, collaborative and encouraging, purposeful and positive.
Then the rather hard work of keeping all the people and pieces in mind at once, can be done with all the pieces clearly laid out for everyone to work on together. A real time model of the whole of every country can help focus global prayers to practical purposes.
Richard K Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation