National Prayer Vigil: In solidarity with people in poverty, we prayed for a just budget balance plan, but faith without works is dead. (James 2:17) Barbara Baylor challenged us: If further deprivation of justice for your marginalized brother and sister makes you mad, then refuse to take it anymore.
On September 14, 2011, Faithful Reform in Healthcare sponsored a telephone Prayer Vigil for the Nation, led by five nationally renowned faith leaders. More than 500 people/groups of people called in to raise their voices in solidarity and prayer. Participants prayed that God would open the ears of those in Congress so they might hear the cries of people in poverty. Each of the prayer leaders called for a compassionate and just response as Congress deliberates the future for safety net programs in their budget sessions.
Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, summoned God’s light to shine forth in our lives with a practical recognition of our divinely decreed interdependence. Simone bid Congress to respect that “we are all better when the common good is at the core of our decision-making.” Reverend Sandra Strauss, Director of Public Policy, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, and ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), followed with a prayer for the realization of a society “where each person is afforded health, wholeness, and human dignity simply because they are created in the image of God.”
Finally, Barbara Baylor, Minister for Health Care Justice, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries rallied us to become “mad as hell” and to “refuse to take it anymore.” She beseeched the faithful to appreciate and respond to the restlessness of their hearts concerning “what is happening today in our nation as the attack on poor, low-income, elderly and disabled women and children continues without any signs of letting up.” In closing the prayer service, she challenged us to revolutionize our stated prayers into prayers of practical advancement of real justice. Call, write or email your members of Congress and demand, “Do not balance the budget on the backs of [those who are] poor.”