O God of sympathy and tenderness, who surrounded Job when he was despondent and sent Jesus to bind the wounds of the afflicted, we give you thanks that you take pity upon those of us who are infected and affected by the State of emergency due to AIDS and HIV infection in the Black community.
We give thanks that you nurse us to wholeness when we are distressed and forlorn. We give you thanks that even when despair so easily overtakes us, you send your Spirit to comfort our fears.
Hear us as we pray for those who are HIV positive. In the midst of their fears and infirmities, help them to sense your healing presence which brings peace of mind. Give to them that patience which allows their bodies to draw upon those divine sources of regeneration so necessary to health and vigor. Give them the determination to access treatment, care, and support that will prolong life and vitality. When they are buffeted by ignorance and stigma; when days are full of fretting and nights prolong their anxieties over a new dawn of suffering, hold them in your bosom and grant them peace.
Hear us as we pray for those who despair and their families. When earthly hope seems to elude them, grant them a vision of your boundless mercy. Appear to them in the sadness of their darkest moments, and make real for them the victory of Christ’s resurrection. Help them to hear the good news that transforms light out of darkness, and may they have confidence in your loving care from now on.
Hear us as we pray for those who are HIV negative. Help them to continue to care for their bodies as temples of your grace. Let them embrace testing and safe sexual practices that protect them from sexually transmitted infections. Keep them from abusing what you so intricately created, and give them discipline to look after themselves. We give you thanks for the countless mercies we take for granted: for movement, for strength, for our minds and our senses. Help us, O God, to take heed of our health as a gift freely given, and never cease to praise you for the grace it reflects.
Rev. Kamal Hassan is the Senior Pastor of the Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church (Richmond, CA)