BEYOND THE DARK – Worship @ Home Sunday, 27 September 2020

(c) The Salvation Army International Headquarters

2020 Annual Day of Prayer
for Victims of Human Trafficking

The Salvation Army, Prestonpans Corps

Based on materials from

Bible Reflection by Major Elizabeth Turner

Introduction

The Annual Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking is a call to stand together in prayer and fight against modern slavery and human trafficking.

We want to activate our collective voice to say that we believe a world without modern slavery and human trafficking is possible.

John 10:10 says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

God reminds us of his desire for all of us to experience life to the fullest — a life full of love, justice and freedom.

We invite you to join Salvationists around the world to corporately cry out for wholeness, justice and freedom for those on the margins and experiencing modern slavery and human trafficking.

Song           Jesus is Lord

Jesus is Lord! Creation’s voice proclaims it,
For by His power each tree and flower
Was planned and made.
Jesus is Lord! The universe declares it,
Sun, moon and stars in heaven
Cry, ‘Jesus is Lord!’

Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord!
Praise Him with hallelujahs
For Jesus is Lord!

Jesus is Lord! Yet from His throne eternal
In flesh He came to die in pain
On Calvary’s tree.
Jesus is Lord! From Him all life proceeding,
Yet gave His life a ransom
Thus setting us free.

Jesus is Lord! O’er sin the mighty conqueror,
From death He rose, and all His foes
Shall own His name.
Jesus is Lord! God sent His Holy Spirit
To show by works of power
That Jesus is Lord.

David J. Mansell.
© 1982 Word’s Spirit of Praise Music/Adm. by CopyCare.

Chorus Prayer gently lifts me…

Prayer gently lifts me to highest Heaven,
From earth’s confusion to Jesus’ breast;
My sin and weakness, my doubt and sorrow,
Are lost for ever in sweetest rest.

Prayer

Dear Lord, as I quietly bow before you in the safety and security of my own home, help me to feel the pain of those who are far from safe and have no security.

Help me to care enough about the injustice of their situation to remember to pray for their liberation, not only today but in the days ahead, so that they too may know safety and security, as all people should.


In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is…

the recruitment or movement of a person, by force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of profiting from the exploitation of that person. Individuals are bought and sold and forced into commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour.

Human trafficking is…

not just something that happens “over there.” It affects every country in the world in some way, and it can trap anyone—male or female, child or adult, rich or poor. Its victims cross racial, ethnic, geographic, economic, and educational backgrounds.

Human trafficking is…

a criminal system based on greed, control, and power. In whatever shape or form, all people dream of a hopeful future, whether it’s to be loved, to be seen, to belong, or to find a better future for their families. Traffickers exploit those desires among those who are most vulnerable and makes promises that are deceptive.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Biblical Reflections

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

Comment: We care about the issue of human trafficking and modern slavery because we believe that every single person, whether child or adult, female or male, is made in God’s image and is, therefore, valuable and worthy of dignity. Human trafficking dehumanizes people, turning them into objects and commodities. Our hope is to see people restored into the fullness of who God created them to be.

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)

Comment: Turning our backs and ignoring the injustice in our world is not an option. God calls us to identify with and suffer alongside those who are in bondage. He calls us to show true, active compassion.

Song Beauty for brokenness

Beauty for brokenness,
Hope for despair,
Lord, in Your suffering world
This is our prayer:
Bread for the children,
Justice, joy, peace;
Sunrise to sunset,
Your kingdom increase!

Shelter for fragile lives,
Cures for their ills,
Work for the craftsman,
Trade for their skills;
Land for the dispossessed,
Rights for the weak,
Voices to plead the cause
Of those who can’t speak.

God of the poor,
Friend of the weak,
Give us compassion we pray:
Melt our cold hearts,
Let tears fall like rain;
Come, change our love
From a spark to a flame.

Refuge from cruel wars,
Havens from fear,
Cities for sanctuary,
Freedoms to share;
Peace to the killing-fields,
Scorched earth to green,
Christ for the bitterness,
His cross for the pain.

Rest for the ravaged earth,
Oceans and streams
Plundered and poisoned—
Our future, our dreams.
Lord, end our madness,
Carelessness, greed;
Make us content with
The things that we need.

Lighten our darkness,
Breathe on this flame
Until Your justice
Burns brightly again;
Until the nations
Learn of Your ways,
Seek Your salvation
And bring You their praise.

Graham Kendrick.
Copyright © 1993 Make Way Music.

Bible Focus        

Finally, brothers and sisters, keep rejoicing and repair whatever is broken. Encourage each other, think as one, and live at peace; and God, the Author of love and peace, will remain with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11 (The Voice)

Reflections

For just one verse, 2 Corinthians 13:11 packs a lot in. It’s as though Paul is desperate to remind his readers of all that he’s been teaching them about living the Christian way and then popped it in a ‘nutshell’. A ‘nut’ which should be taken hold of in our lives, cracked, digested and evidenced by our behaviours. This little verse is all about living in ways that go beyond what is expected.

Our society says ‘Broken? Don’t worry about that, toss it in the bucket. There’s plenty more where that comes from and better too for that matter!’ In terms of ‘things’, we are seeing the folly of that kind of thinking, as the sheer volume of discarded stuff is poured into landfill sites to the detriment of our environment and our health.

The same attitude directed at people and the result is just as toxic but more so. People are not commodities to be used and exploited. For people made in God’s image have intellect, skills and qualities that should be allowed to be discovered, honed and offered for the benefit of the wider community and the glory of God.

As we pray today for those who have been cruelly plucked from their native communities and placed in a strange land, forced to do the unthinkable, let’s remember that they are people just like us, who naturally wanted to better their prospects and opportunities. But these people were lied to and betrayed. 

Try to imagine how you would feel in their shoes, and pray as though what was happening to them was happening to you, for in a way, it is. From a human perspective and a Christian perspective they are our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters.

Why not consider writing to the local MSP to ask them to do all that is in their power to crack the terrible ‘tough nut’ of modern slavery? Furthermore, think about how you relate to your family, friends and people in the community. Have you a relationship that is ‘broken’?

The Bible makes it clear we’re to repair it. As Christians we are called to live better, to go beyond the accepted culture of our society which rubbishes and disregards people for the slightest failure or flaw. Of course it is far from easy, but it is something we must undertake with God’s help if we are to know the abiding love and peace of God in our lives.

‘Encourage each other’ is something that we read over and over again in the Bible. Just imagine if we adopted a culture of encouraging others as much as possible. Expressing gratitude, complementing the thoughtful acts of others, their good ideas and hard work, offering appropriate physical, emotional or financial support to someone who is struggling in some way are all positive ways we might be able to encourage another person. The possible ways of encouraging other people are endless. Perhaps through positive encouragement, depression, mental illness and suicidal tendencies would be lesser.

Asking God to help you look at others with his eyes, and inspire you to encourage them in some meaningful way, would be a positive step in the direction of becoming an encourager. It is possible for people who are trafficked to be ‘hidden in plain sight’ and so be working in our midst, wholly unsuspected by us. A word or action of encouragement from us might just be the very thing that emboldens them to speak to someone about their situation and gain the help they need to break free from their terrible circumstances.

The directive to ‘think as one’ from the Bible is a reminder that we have God’s Spirit living in us. He is the one whose thoughts really do ‘go beyond’ all others for the ultimate good of people. In our union with God, his thinking puts us in tune and harmony with him and with other believers, as they too align their thinking with God’s.

Never will those thoughts be to hurt, harm or destroy another in word or deed, but always to seek the best for others. Where we can have influence, let us be sure to put it into action. Where we do not have influence or proximity enough to confront injustice, let us pray that those who are closest to any adverse situation gain all the courage they need to intercept and make a difference.

Concerning the matter of human trafficking, most of us will only be able to make a difference with our prayers, but that is still an important ministry. But even in our everyday lives, actively living out the good that we read about in the Bible is to learn to ‘think as one’, to the glory of God and the good of others. If we do that we will be living at peace with God and with those around us. And his genuine love will permeate our being and change the atmosphere of our community. I know that’s the way I want to live, I hope you do too.

Song Let me love thee

(May also be sung to the Tune: Blaenwern – Love Divine)

Let me love thee, thou art claiming
Every feeling of my soul;
Let that love, in power prevailing,
Render thee my life, my all.
For life’s burdens they are easy,
And life’s sorrows lose their sting,
If they’re carried, Lord, to please thee.
If their pain thy smile should win.

Chorus (not with Bleanwern)
Let me love thee, Saviour,
Take my heart forever;
Nothing but thy favor
My soul can satisfy

Let me love thee, come revealing
All thy love has done for me.
Help my heart, so unbelieving,
By the sight of Calvary.
Let me see thy love, despising
All the shame my sin has brought,
By thy torments realizing
What a price my pardon bought.

Let me love thee, I am gladdest
When I’m loving thee the best;
For in sunshine or in sadness
I can find in thee my rest.
Love will soften every sorrow,
Love will lighten every care,
Love unquestioning will follow,
Love will triumph, love will dare.

Herbert Howard Booth (1862-1926)

A PRAYER FOR
VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Dear God, we pray for victims of human trafficking … for those who have been dehumanized and held captive by the greed and violence of a broken world. For girls and boys, women and men, who are bought and sold and abused by those who have forgotten the eternal value of a human soul.

May they rediscover their worth in You. And may we affirm their worth as individuals who are made in Your image.

Lord, reveal the way our choices may play a part in keeping others captive by creating demand for more slaves, and give us courage to make different choices. Give us eyes to see injustice and exploitation, and give us the courage to speak out against evil.

Use us to bring light into the darkened corners of this world, that they may not remain dark forever.

May Your light expose the evil deeds of the captors, and may Your love create a change of heart within those who are perpetrators of human trafficking. Use us to loosen the chains of injustice and let the oppressed go free.

We pray for an end to the evil that is human trafficking, and we pray that the victims of trafficking may find restoration and healing in You.

Amen.

Song Will you come and follow me

Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
And never be the same?
Will you let My love be shown,
Will you let My name be known,
Will you let My life be grown in you,
And you in Me?

Will you leave yourself behind
If I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind
And never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare,
Should your life attract or scare?
Will you let Me answer prayer
In you and you in Me?

Will you let the blinded see
If I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free
And never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean,
And do such as this unseen,
And admit to what I mean
In you and you in Me?

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide
If I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
And never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
To reshape the world around,
Through My sight and touch and sound
In you and you in Me?

Lord, Your summons echoes true
When You but call my name.
Let me turn and follow You
And never be the same.
In Your company I’ll go
Where Your love and footsteps show;
Thus I’ll move and live and grow
In You and You in me.

Graham Maule & John L. Bell.
Copyright © 1987 WGRG, Iona Community.

Benediction

May God’s blessing surround you each day,
As you trust Him and walk in His way.
May His presence within guard and keep you from sin.
Go in peace, go in joy, go in love.

BEYOND THE DARK
COMMITMENT PRAYER

I hear the cries of daughters and sons beyond the dark, trafficked and enslaved for the profit of others.

I stand with you.

I see the next generation of vulnerable children targeted for the benefit of worldly pleasures.

I will fight for you.

I stand with frontline practitioners, advocating for the freedom of victims of oppression and walking alongside survivors.

I acknowledge you.

I lament for the ways I have knowingly and unknowingly contributed to modern slavery and human trafficking through my ignorance, my privilege and my spending power.

I refuse to be blind.

May my prayers and those of your people turn into action as we fight against injustice together.

We are not free until we all experience light.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.salvationarmy.org/isjc/SAFightforFreedom

The Salvation Army works with all these organisations to combat Human Trafficking across the globe.

About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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