Special Update – Keep praying!

We’re sending this out now because we’ve heard that the next draft of the Paris Agreement is due to be sent to the lawyers at about 2 AM Paris time, before being translated and presented to delegates at a 9:00 AM conference tomorrow. The French Presidency then hopes that the agreement will be adopted by ministers in the afternoon at 2:00 PM. This timetable is far from guaranteed – but it offers the best available framework for our prayers.

Our world needs this conference to inspire strong climate action – action that safeguards creation and those who are most vulnerable, that promotes equity and offers a chance for all people to flourish. And so, even at this late stage, we continue to pray.

As a global movement, we’re spread across continents and time zones. For those who will see this call to prayer at a time when the negotiations about the draft text itself are continuing, please pray:

  • that God will grant each negotiator and political leader the stamina they need after such an exhausting few days
  • that the voices of those most affected by climate impacts will have moved delegates beyond positions of self-interest
  • that God will inspire negotiators and political leaders, both those present at COP21 and those in their own countries, with a true sense of the need to seek the common good
  • that, so strengthened and inspired, leaders and negotiators will show flexibility in areas that are difficult for them because of particular interests and sensitivities
  • that any who seek to block agreed efforts to increase justice and ambition will not be able to do so
  • that the French presidency will be given the wisdom to shape the best possible text from the discussions of the past day

For those who will see this call to prayer on Saturday as the text is presented, please pray:

  • for countries to show wisdom, grace, love of neighbour and love of justice in their responses to the text
  • that those guiding the conference’s process in its final stages may do so wisely and well
  • for the conference to make its final decisions in a way that maximises the good that comes from it

O God of love, teach us to care for this world, our common home.
Inspire government leaders as they gather in Paris to listen to and heed the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
Let them be united in heart and mind in responding courageously.
May they seek the common good and protect the beautiful earthly garden you have created for us, for all our brothers and sisters, for all generations to come. Amen

Prayer for the Earth, from the Worldwide Appeal to COP21 Negotiating Parties

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10 December – Hold on to the vision

Man looking at text

Climate talks have a reputation for not meeting deadlines – but there’s generally a real will to reach agreement in Paris – and the French leadership, which has been widely praised for its transparency and skill in handling the negotiations, has managed to keep everyone focused.

As a result, a new ‘clean’ draft of the Paris agreement was released on schedule on Wednesday afternoon. As we write this, the delegates are literally meeting through the night to get a new draft by this afternoon and agreement by Friday.

The new text is much shorter, and 75% of the ‘bracketed elements’ – things under debate – have been resolved. Overnight, COP President Laurent Fabius and French ambassador Laurence Tubiana have chaired discussion sessions around three key issues:

  • differentiation – how are the responsibilities of developed and developing countries defined?
  • ‘support’ – including climate finance, and
  • ambition – including potential temperature targets.

Meanwhile the president of last year’s talks in Peru, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, has chaired discussions on loss and damage, the preamble to the agreement and other key areas.

Many of the elements of a deal that involves climate justice are there in the options under discussion – but will countries choose them? Or will they follow selfish interests in a way that works against the common good?

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

As the delegates continue to work, we continue to pray:

  • that they will have the energy, wisdom and courage to make decisions that care well for our common home and enable people everywhere to flourish
  • for areas of the world where climate change is already changing lives, especially small-island states and low-lying coastal areas, where rising seas are imperiling people’s lives and livelihoods
  • for a sense of love and justice to underpin all the final negotiations in Paris and to sweep away blockages, so that responsibilties to reduce emissions, finance adaptation, and compensate for climate-related loss and damage are shared fairly.
  • in thanksgiving for the way God is moving people to pray together – may God use our joining in prayer for His glory and the good of all.

Holy Trinity, One God, be among the nations as they unite in Paris at this critical age of the world for the 21st session of the Conference of Parties. Grant those with earthly authority the wisdom to see the fragility, dignity, and goodness of all humanity and all creation, which you entrust to us, as one family, to nurture, protect, and love. Lord Jesus, send forth your Spirit among the powerful of the world so that they may observe the laws of the Father. May this fidelity result in lasting agreements that will ease the human causes and suffering of a warming climate.

Excerpted from “Prayer for COP21 Inspired by Laudato Si’,”contributed by the Global Catholic Climate Movement. Photograph: COP PARIS.

9 December – Crunch Time for COP21

The deadline for finalising the text for the Paris agreement is approaching and, as is usual in these processes, all kinds of stresses and compromises are rising to the surface.

As pressure mounts to reach an agreement, we need to pray that a good global temperature target, the commitments to reduce emissions which would start us on that journey, and the mechanism to review and scale these commitments up every few years all go into the deal, rather than being traded off against each other.

Energy levels are bound to be slumping after 10 days of tough negotiations. Now is a key time for our prayers. If you’ve been faithfully praying with us each day, now, today, is the time to reach out to your friends and get them praying too.

“The climate change agreements happen in the eleventh hour. That is the tradition, because the most difficult parts are left for the end, and it is an overall package,” Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy.

Holy God, we pray for all of the negotiators who are poring over text,
wrangling over language, and seeking
concessions
as they build a global agreement on addressing climate change.
In the midst of late nights and
endless meetings,
remind them for whose sake they work.
Send your Holy Spirit to empower them,
that they
might seek the welfare not simply of their respective countries,
but of your good creation and those who are left
most vulnerable by the effects of climate change.

Excerpted from a prayer by Kyle Meyaar-Schaap, Creation Care Coordinator at the Office of Social Justice for the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

In particular we pray:

  • for flexibility from the few countries that are proving serious barriers to agreement
  • for tangible decarbonisation targets and other core elements such as a mechanism to review and improve targets, not to be put aside in order to reach agreement on a global temperature target
  • for renewed vision, clarity of thought and passion to restore energy levels for negotiators
  • for the eyes of the world to focus with clarity on what is at stake in Paris
  • for a massive upsurge of targeted prayer to surround these last few crucial days.

Kiribati President Anote Tong said yesterday, “Offer a prayer tonight before you go to sleep for an agreement in Paris.”

“Those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” Isaiah 40:31

Prayer contributed by Tearfund

7 December – Ministers Negotiate

On Saturday, negotiators agreed a draft text for a Paris outcome, which ministers will now have the responsibility of turning into the final agreement. It’s a first step – but there’s a lot of work to do between now and the close of the conference if we are to end with a just, binding and ambitious climate deal. There are many unresolved big disputes, including the temperature target, who has responsibility for action in key areas, financial support for poorer countries to deal with climate change, the terms for countries to report their emissions, and the ways commitments will be reviewed so that ambition can be increased over time.

Last week was often exhausting, as negotiators worked late into the night to meet deadlines. This week will probably be no less so. We pray for renewed energy, courage and wisdom for all involved – and above all, that they will be able to keep the urgency of the task and a vision of the common good at the forefront of their mind at all times.

Creator God, You have called us to be keepers of your Earth.
Through greed, we have established an economy
that destroys the web of life.
We have changed our climate and drown in despair.
Let oceans of justice flow,
May we learn to sustain and renew the life of our Mother, Earth.
We pray for our leaders, custodians of Mother Earth;
as they gather in Paris at the climate talks
May they negotiate with wisdom and fairness,
May they act with compassion and courage,
and lead us in the path of justice
for the sake of our children
and our children’s children.

The Rt Revd Desmond Tutu, Emeritus Archbishop of Cape Town
Prayer contributed by Anglican Communion Environmental Network
You can find a powerpoint to accompany this prayer here.

6 December – Prayer for Our Earth

Sunday is largely scheduled as a rest day for the negotiations- though there will be a few consultations on some of the key issues for the Paris Outcome text. It’s also a day when we can rest in God’s mercy, recalling the goodness of God’s creation and committing the efforts of those in Paris, and all efforts to care for creation, to God in prayer.

You might wish to use Pope Francis’ “Prayer for Our Earth,” reprinted below, in your personal prayers or at a church service.

A Prayer for Our Earth

All powerful God,
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

Prayer written by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ and contributed by the Global Catholic Climate Movement. Photograph copyright Elizabeth Perry, reproduced with permission.

You might also wish to use a powerpoint prepared by Caritas Australia powerpoint to accompany this prayer, which can be found here.

5 December – Action Day

Today is ‘Action Day’ at the Paris climate talks. The main ‘action’ of the day will be the delivery of a draft text that can go to ministers for further negotiation next week. The deadline for its delivery is twelve noon, and negotiators have been hard at work.

But today the climate talks are also celebrating actions already taken – and so can we, celebrating everything from the kind of major initiatives to cut emissions that have been announced at the climate talks to the small actions we take to help to preserve our common home.

For today’s prayer, why not first pray for the negotiators in Paris, asking that they be gifted with boldness and courage, and that they keep the best interests of all of God’s wondrous creation top of mind as they negotiate. Then give thanks for positive actions and commitments that have already been announced at the Paris talks.

Finally, take a sheet of paper and write down some of the people who have inspired you by their words or by what they’ve done to care for creation. Give thanks for them, and think of an action that you, in turn, can take. Offer your commitment up to God … praying this prayer for yourself and for others:

Gracious God, Creator of All,
we raise our hearts in grateful praise
for all the beauty that surrounds us.
May we learn to respect all
as a sacred gift
and do what we can to repair
the damage we have caused
through our consumerism, greed and carelessness.
Grant us an ecological conversion
so that we can leave
our next generation
with a future full of hope
where there is enough for all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus.
Amen

Prayer by Sr. Marlene Kelly, GSIC,
contributed by Citizens for Public Justice

4 December

Today’s meetings include the topic of financing climate action and, in particular, of drawing in private finance for green development. A key financial issue will be providing sufficient funding to enable lower-income countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change as well as to undertake clean development.

At Copenhagen in 2009, high-income countries committed to mobilize jointly 100 billion US dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. Despite existing commitments, getting adequate support to meet this goal is proving an ongoing and major challenge.
“The moral and economic imperatives to act on climate change could not be stronger. Although the road ahead will be difficult, with new and unexpected challenges arising along the way, we can find inspiration in Nelson Mandela’s famous dictum: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ We face an unprecedented opportunity to achieve a more sustainable, prosperous, and socially just future. Creating that future must start now.”

Desmond Tutu and Trevor Manuel, June 2015, “Why tackling climate change is a moral and economic imperative.”

We pray:

  • for barriers to be removed and for agreement and vision to build up adequate climate finance
  • for justice in sharing the financial burden of adapting to climate change
  • giving thanks for the substantial funding for clean energy promised by the African Development bank on Tuesday
  • for wisdom, inspiration and resolve for our politicians, leaders and negotiators as they seek to finalise a draft text .

“Be glad, earth and sky! Roar, sea, and every creature in you;
Be glad, fields, and everything in you!
The trees of the wood will shout for joy when the Lord comes to rule the earth.

He will rule the peoples of the world with justice and fairness.”

Psalm 96:11-13

God of abundance
You call us
To a jubilee economy
Where people live in harmony with earth
And there is enough for all.

We are so far from our calling!
For some there is much,
For many there is little,
And the earth cries out for rest.

We pray that you will
Transform our hearts
So that we share with each other,
And grant us wisdom
To find new ways
Of providing for all
And restoring the land.

We ask this
For love of you,
For love of each other,
For love of all life on earth
And the generations yet to come.

Prayer from CCOW contributed by
Pray and Fast for the Climate

3 December

Cooperation is needed if we are going to get a just, ambitious, and binding agreement at Paris.

We’ve seen some examples of cooperation already this week. Some of the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts have joined together to call for measures including full decarbonisation by 2050. More than one hundred countries have formed the International Solar Energy Alliance. A new grouping of investors and twenty major economies is preparing to fund research and development around renewable energy technology.

Tonight, there will be another example of cooperation – an ecumenical service at Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral, where people from different church backgrounds will come together to lift their concerns about creation before God in prayer.

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
Psalm 133:1

We also come from different countries and church backgrounds. But, together with the people in Notre Dame, we’re united in Christ, and we pray:

  • giving thanks for God’s love, greatness, power and mercy
  • giving thanks for the many ways that Christians are sharing in prayer for the Paris climate talks
  • giving thanks for examples of cooperation for positive change among nations at the Paris talks
  • asking that the world’s nations will cooperate in creating and implementing a just, ambitious, and binding agreement … and that Christians will continue working and praying together to care for creation

Creator God
We are pilgrims
on the way to your Kingdom
and citizens of the world
Creation is suffering because of us.
The land has deteriorated.
Jesus Christ calls us to vigilance and commitment.
Send us your Spirit, sanctify us.

God of justice and peace
We are pilgrims
on the way to your Kingdom
and citizens of the world
our common home is damaged
The poorest are excluded
Jesus Christ calls us to solidarity and sharing.
Send us your Spirit, sanctify us.

God of Jesus Christ
We are pilgrims
on the way to your Kingdom
and citizens of the world
Before you,
we pledge to take specific actions
to change our practices
Jesus Christ calls us to conversion.
Send us your Spirit, sanctify us

Prayer contributed by the Conseil d’Églises chrétiennes en France
from the order of service for the ecumenical service at Notre Dame

2 December

Today we pray that decisions taken at the UN climate talks will help people build up their resilience to extreme weather and other climate impacts.

‘Resilience’ describes the ways in which people are able to cope with or recover from disasters, and to adapt to broader change. As changes to the climate increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, and existing vulnerabilities are made worse, the impacts, especially on poor and vulnerable people, can be very serious. This makes it especially important to ensure adequate assistance for the people and communities most at risk.

“The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down” (Ps 146:8)

Please pray:

  • for God’s healing on people who have already been hurt by extreme weather and other climate-related disasters
  • that national and international strategies for resilience will respect the wisdom and views of people within vulnerable communities
  • that the Paris talks will mobilise more support to help people, especially those most at risk, to respond to disasters and to cope with a changing climate

Lord of the storm,
to all who live beside dangerous seas
and on the banks of unpredictable rivers,
grant peace of mind
and the assurance of your presence
in each and every circumstance that may befall them.

The Little Handmaids of Christ. Christa Sevika Sangha, Church of Bangladesh

God of storm and calm,
your love is wider than the oceans
and loftier than the mountain peaks,
yet you reach to the depths of our pain
and meet us in our deepest need.
Bless the people of all lands,
protect the weak and vulnerable,
and encourage all communities
to renew with courage their search
for deep and lasting peace.

Adapted from a Sri Lankan prayer

Both prayers contributed by Us./United Society

1 December: Negotiations start in earnest

Yesterday saw many developments both in the Leaders Event and in side events. Today, the 1st of December, the actual COP negotiating sessions start. In addition the Lima Paris Action Agenda, which brings together state and nonstate actors for cooperative action around key issues, will hold events focused on forests and agriculture.

Fittingly, it’s also a day when many people will be taking part in prayer and fasting for the climate negotiations, as they have every 1st of the month since the Fast for the Climate movement was started after the Warsaw climate talks.

In the speech that inspired the Fast for the Climate Movement, Filipino negotiator Yeb Saño called for “real ambition and climate action.”

Please pray today:

  • in thanksgiving for Yeb Saño’s inspiration and all who have been part of fasting and prayer for the climate over the past two years
  • that the negotiations that begin today will lead to an agreement that involves real ambition and climate action.
  • That the events on forests and agriculture will help to preserve and protect earth’s forests, ensure the livelihoods of farmers worldwide, and enable access to food for all people.

Dear Lord,
We see sea level rising in low Pacific Island Nations,
plants and animals becoming extinct,
birds changing their migration patterns,
and the flowering time of plants advancing.

We also see that it is the poor who are suffering the most
from the way that the rich world is changing the climate
through overuse of fossil fuels and deforestation.

But today we have hope.
The preparatory meetings for the Paris negotiations
have gone further than any past meetings.
There is hope that a binding climate change treaty
can be drafted in Paris.
We pray in hope for a positive result.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.

Prayer contributed by A Rocha UK from material written by Sir Ghillean Prance

30 November – The Conference begins

Today is the opening of the conference. Much attention will be focused on the Leaders Event: 150 Heads of State and Government are expected to attend the negotiations, with more than 140 making statements. The day also contains a High-Level Segment,at which ministers and other heads of delegations will be making national statements Overall, some major announcements are expected, especially around clean energy, forests and finance.

Pray:

  • for safety for all attending the event
  • that leaders and decision makers will acknowledge the level of climate action needed
  • that the event will provide a basis for positive negotiations in the weeks to follow
  • that the media attention around the talks would increase the level of ambition in statements made and actions agreed

Father God, on this day as many world leaders attend the negotiations, please work in their discussions, whether public or private, to bring consensus and ambition on the commitments needed.
We ask that their negotiations will not be characterised by talking with little action, and that all country leaders will be heard, not just those seen to be the most powerful. Amen

Prayer contributed by Tearfund

29 November – Advent Sunday

As Advent begins, we continue to pray for the climate events taking place today, and we ask God to bless the coming weeks and to use them to bring an agreement on climate that reflects Christ’s light.

This prayer, written by the Archbishop of Cape Town, can be used as you light an Advent candle … or just as you take time to commit to pray for COP21 over the coming weeks.

A Prayer for Advent Sunday

Spirit of God,You established the dance of Creation:
bring life out of death,
bring order out of chaos.
Call us to radical action:
to care for the web of Creation,
to share our resources justly,
and to work for the renewal of our Mother, Earth.

We light this candle as we commit ourselves to fast and pray for climate justice.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Cape Town

Contributed by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network

28 November – Praying for Climate Marches

This weekend, people across Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific, Europe, North and South America have been or will be holding marches and other events to show their support for climate justice.

  • Thank God for all who are committed to a fairer and better world, and who are showing their commitment through these events
  • Give thanks that the events are taking place around the world, in rich and poor, large and small communities.
  • Pray that the witness these events provide will inspire negotiators and politicians to work over the coming weeks for a strong climate agreement.

God who loved the world into life,
You tell us to let our lights shine:
A million little lights
To form a beacon for change.
Strengthen us to be
A million little lights
That refuse
To let injustice continue without comment,
A million little lights
Illuminating the path to a cleaner, better world.
For the love of your people
For the love of your creation,
We pray.

Amen                                                   Contributed by Christian Aid