(Written for a Jesus in the City Conference and prayed in St. Patrick's Cathedral this prayer gave us the title for the 4 Corners Festival... This morning I prayed this South Belfast section which covered the Ciclovia Belfast morning space.)
Lord we stand at City Hall
The heart and soul of the city
We thank you for a Council that works for all of its people
We pray for all the staff
Working across all kinds of services and amenities
We thank you for their skills and diligence
We pray for our Council members
Particularly we remember those who represent our Botanic Ward:
May they all work selflessly for all of our city
We pray for our Lord Mayor, Arder Carson
Be with him in his year in office.
Give him discernment in the difficult decisions he needs to make
With his theme for the year of "Mayor For Communities"
May he indeed be a first citizen for all our communities.
So Lord from our City Hall
We look south across this city
And we see Queens University in the distance
And between here and there the Golden Mile of this city's nightlife.
And Lord we give you thanks for education
For the pursuit of knowledge
That allows us to make this world a better place.
Lord we pray for professors and students alike
As today they engage in the imparting and gathering of knowledge
That from this University
Many will leave to become the cornerstone of tomorrows world.
But Lord we see today, the danger of knowledge
A danger of knowledge that is used for personal gain
Knowledge that is used to exploit other people
Knowledge that makes humanity seem so self sufficient that we have no room for you.
Lord we pray for the Churches in this area
That they would support students and professors alike
And give them wisdom that they might use their knowledge well.
Lord we see the neon light of Shaftesbury Square, Dublin Road and Botanic Avenue.
Lord we see thousands of people roaming the streets at the weekends seeking fun
And we thank you for the ability to life life to the full.
But Lord we pray for those who are victims of a vain search for meaning in their fun.
We pray you would make us all aware that laughter is to be encouraged
But that laughter runs on the spot and takes us nowhere
Often leaving us where we are empty and in despair.
We pray for the Churches in this area
That they will be there for the people who flock there
That they will reach out with tenderness and compassion
To those who become victims of hedonism
The junkie, the prostitute, the alcoholic, the aimless yuppie
And show them your love and your truth.
Lord, may we see your Kingdom come
And your will being done in the north of this city as it is in heaven.