As we prepare for the movement for the unity of our families this year, Familia Latina Unida calls for a daily time of prayer, in the morning and in the evening. To prepare ourselves, we call for Friday morning prayer gatherings, for an hour of prayer together every Friday morning. We have adopted 15 common prayers, to be prayed in succession, daily and in the Friday mooring hour of prayer. What follows is meant as an aid to that daily prayer.
Help Me With My Unbelief – Guide Me Through The Shadows Of Doubt And Fear.
We give thanks to God for our lives, our children, the breath in our lungs and the love in our heart – these are his gifts that make life worthwhile.
Jesus taught that all things are possible for those who believe. We believe that God will make a way for his people, for us, but we also doubt. Why would God choose me to help? Does God really intervene in the affairs of people like me?
We want to believe. What is required is that we open our hearts and our minds to receive God’s Kingdom. We have to struggle against the doubts that the world plants in us. “Get behind me Satan!” Jesus said these demons of doubt can only be overcome through prayer and so we pray with all our heart to win this battle.
Belief is a gift that God gives us when we really put ourselves in his hands and make ourselves ready to live as he asks us to live. This takes commitment to the ways of righteousness and it takes courage to tell the world: I will walk in the footsteps of Jesus no matter what you do or say.
In this prayer, we make ourselves ready to receive the power of belief – and we declare with all our heart, we let ourselves feel, our victory over fear and doubt!
Almighty God, Defend Our Families
The faithfulness of two people who join together to have and raise children is not just faithfulness to each other; it is a pledge of faithfulness to God.
God calls us to be a righteous people, a light to the nations, and in that righteousness, to be fruitful and multiply. That is, God calls us to stay together, work hard, and raise our children in the Ways of the Lord. It is through that faithfulness that a people of God continue on the earth from one generation to the next.
Migrants came to the north to work so that they can support their families. This is God’s work. Those who used our labor to line their pockets with profits have now turned on us as they realized our numbers were growing too great – and too powerful…
And yet those numbers are God’s promise: that He will make us as many as the stars in the sky. The struggle to stay together and raise our children is God’s work. That is why we believe, with all our hearts, that God will defend our families from the movement of hate that seeks to tear our families apart.
The Prayer Jesus taught us to Pray
The disciples asked Jesus how they should pray. He told them to pray that the Kingdom of God, the Will of God, would be present on earth. He told them to pray to God to give them “their daily bread” where that bread was not only bread to eat but the Word of God, the Word that shows us how to live. He told them to pray to God to forgive them their own offenses against Him, just as much as they were able to forgive their neighbors offenses against them. He told them to ask God not to lead them into temptation but to deliver them from the forces of evil around them.
In other words, Jesus told his disciples to spend time in Prayer, put themselves in the Presence of the Almighty God, and in that presence to struggle to be a righteous and unified people. You see, those who humble themselves before God need never be made to feel ashamed or afraid by the arrogance of men, nor need they let petty interests and divisions divide them from unifying their families and their people in service to God. Today we feel ourselves part of the millions of people down through the ages that have been and are now in this same prayer with us.
The Faithfulness of Mary
We pray this prayer in honor of the faithfulness of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. When Mary was asked by the angel Gabriel to give birth to a savior of her people, she never hesitated. She was asked to raise the future of her people, and she never doubted. She was asked to bear the anger and hatred of those who feared that this child would grow to challenge their evil ways, and she never was afraid. “Let it be with me as you have said,” she told the Angel.
We honor Mary for her faithfulness and we pray and let ourselves feel that wonderful strong and loving spirit growing in us.
The Appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe
We pray today in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, remembering that she appeared to Juan Diego when his people has been conquered and made to feel ashamed of their faith. The Virgin called Juan her “dignified son” and she showed him that the God which his European Conquerors claimed as “their God”, really favored him. She gave him the courage to make his conquerors respect his people and his traditions.
Throughout the centuries since that time, and especially here in the United States, the Virgin of Guadalupe has appeared to the people from the south, given them healing and given us courage and faith. We call on her now again when those who would destroy our lives claim that they have the right, that God is on their side. The Virgin of Guadalupe appears to us again, even now as we kneel in prayer, to assure us that God is with us.
God is Great ALL THE TIME –The Sonship of Jesus offered to us all.
When we put ourselves in an attitude of prayer and humble ourselves before God then we are sure that no man and no government have the right or the power to treat us unequally or unfairly. We are all equal in God’s sight for God is greater than everyone.
When we say that Jesus was the son of God it is because the Spirit was so strong in him that he was able to be completely faithful to what God asked him to do, like a loyal son to his father. The bible teaches that this gift of being a faithful son or daughter to God is available to all of us: if we choose it, if we declare that we are God’s child, not an illegal, not a worker to be used and thrown away, but God’s child, faithful to His calling in the world.
The Law God gave his people on the Mountain
Men make laws to protect the interests of the rich and the powerful. These laws are often unjust and they cause oppression and discrimination. On the other hand, we need laws to live by that insure we will be able to work together. This was the purpose of the laws that God gave Moses on the mountain.
The law first reminded the people to never put a King, or a President, or money or anything else before God and what God asked you to do. Then the law called on people to stop doing wrong to each other.
Jesus summarized the law of God in two commandments: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Just imagine a people that always put God first in their lives and that treated each other with respect and love and dignity. Such a people would be the envy of the nations everywhere; such a people could never be defeated or forget who they were – and that was the purpose of the law God gave Moses on the mountain. In prayer we let ourselves feel the possibility that we could live with each other in this wonderful law of God.
The Lord is my Shepherd
It doesn’t matter how strong you are or how much faith you have, there will be times when you feel no one is with you, times when it seems just too hard to go on.
In these times, we pray, we speak the words that bring us before God, and we see that He is with us and He has never forgotten us – and in fact he has chosen us to be his people. In this presence before a loving God are rest and healing and hope for the future.
Pray for the Light of Truth
Unjust laws tie us up in a web of lies. No human being is illegal. People came here to work, not for the American Dream but because of what the “American nightmare” had done to their countries. They came here because men who had businesses wanted them to come and work as cheap labor. What hypocrisy then for these same men to point at us and say “You are illegal! You are criminals!”
We pray for the light of truth, for people to be able to see things the way God does. When we see things as they are, then we will not doubt ourselves and we will not look down on ourselves – and we will have the love for each other that will bring about the power of our unity. Today we close our eyes and see the world we live in washed in the light of truth.
The Gift of Commitment and the Year of the Lord’s Favor
When Jesus began his ministry he went into the temple and began to read from the Prophet Isaiah. He felt and he proclaimed that the Spirit of the Lord was with him. He said he was called to come for the poor and the oppressed – to bring release from darkness for the captives.
We are captives of an unjust system of labor that denies us rights and threatens the most precious gift God has given us, our families. Jesus said that God wanted to bring us out of the darkness into the light and take this unjust burden from us.
And Jesus proclaimed that “this was the year of the Lord’s favor.” He meant that through his ministry, through his movement, this was the year when the people that the Lord favored, the oppressed, the unjustly treated – this was the year for them to be strengthened by the Spirit of God. When we recite the words that Jesus recited today in prayer, we feel the Spirit on us and we let ourselves declare without doubt that this is our year, the year of the Lord’s favor!
We read in prayer this scripture from the Prophet Isaiah, to feel the assurance and hope the people of God dared to feel, declaring from their hearts that God saw their suffering and would raise them up so that instead of shame they would rejoice in their history as a people. Why? Because the Lord hates robbery and injustice and the wrongdoing that we as a people have been subjected to! In prayer we dare to feel the righteous indignation of the Lord for what is being done to us and our families. We dare to feel the power of the Lord coming to our defense.
Make us Part of Your Promise
Just as we have allowed ourselves in prayer to feel what an ancient people felt, so now we place ourselves in the hands of the Lord. We let ourselves feel the Lord’s indignation at the way we are robbed and mistreated. For those who came here to work did not create the system of undocumented labor – which is a system of robbery and exploitation. We came for the survival of our families. And once here we formed new families and new children were born here.
How can men have the arrogance to rain hatred on these children as they are doing? Surely the righteous indignation of the Lord is rising up like thunder. In this time of prayer we let ourselves feel the Lord’s anger – and we let ourselves feel the Lord coming to change the future of his people, we hear his footsteps, the footsteps of his people marching together in their millions…
Let us Pray: With Jesus, with Mary, with the Virgin of Guadalupe, and for God’s victory in our lives!
To kneel in the presence of the Lord, to know that thousands of our people are in common together before God in prayer today, brings us a peace that is like being part of the greatness of nature, of God’s creation itself, in perfect harmony. We pray together as Jesus taught us to pray, and feel him praying with us. We pray with Mary, faithful, loving, enduring Mary – and we pray with the Virgin of Guadalupe still appearing, still assuring us, still giving us courage, still with us.
And in this time of prayer, we feel the victory over doubt, over our unbelief, over our fear. We are becoming stronger and stronger “believers” – and as we come more and more to believe in the resurrection we know that we will recover from dark times, from troubled times and we will see soon, and live long, a life raised up by God. And so we pray, “Make me your instrument of our liberation.”
God is Great – All THE TIME!
Oh God – Hear our prayer for our family, for our loved ones, for our people – and make us strong! Let us dare to feel right now that we are together in God’s hands, in the Kingdom where a Righteous God reigns-forever! And now we pray for those that each of us hold specially in our hearts………………………………