“Women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb – the first to be entrusted with the news of the resurrection of Jesus.” Nicky Gumbel
I have always been encouraged by accounts of faithful women in the bible – Sarah, Deborah, Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, Esther, Mary mother of Jesus, Mary and Martha, the woman at the well, the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak and many others – women play a part in God’s plan; we, as human beings, are powerfully made in His image; and Jesus does not discriminate. God sees people of faith – men, women, Jew, Gentile, black, white – and Jesus commends them.
Hebrews 11:16 says:
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
I have also been inspired by many women of faith in my life. My mother was one of those quietly faithful women, serving in many different roles in her church family; always seeing the best in people; with a wonderful gift of hospitality. Even in her early 80s she would organise coffee for the “older folk” in church. In later life she suffered from Alzheimer’s but even when she could no longer speak coherently the holy spirit shone through in her smile.
And so I offer this prayer for all women everywhere.
Father of us all, Creator of the Universe, we pray for all women everywhere.
We thank you for those inspirational women in the bible.
- for Deborah who you chose as Israel’s judge and prophetess
- for Rahab who on hearing of your miracles trusted in faith and herself was therefore spared
- for Ruth faithful to you and her mother in law
- for Mary who in faith heard the Angel Gabriel and accepted she would become mother of the Messiah
- for Mary washing Jesus’ feet with perfume
- and for all women of faith in the bible and across time and eternity
We pray for women today who are not seen as equals
- women who are not permitted basic human rights
- women whose cultures reflect them as inferior, as stereotypes, as less valuable than men
- women whose bodies have been violated by female genital mutilation, by rape and sexual assault
- women who have been forced into prostitution, whose bodies are bought and sold as commodities
- women who are casualties of war and the arms trade
- women who are being exploited in every corner of the globe simply as a result of their gender
We pray that you intervene powerfully to bring an end to this inequality and violation of women
- that we would all celebrate our differences
- that we would recognise different gifts irrespective of gender or race
- that we would dissolve the barriers of prejudice and inequality
- that we would work for a just society in which none are despised and discriminated against
- that we would work for a society in which we are all valued for our true humanity, our “made in your image” humanity
We pray that we would be an inspiration to other women
- that we would be a welcoming, encouraging, creative people of God
- that we would be compassionate, resilient and resourceful mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and friends
- that we would fight the injustice of poverty, inequality and abuse
- and that we would not be afraid to speak out in support of women across the world who cannot speak out
Lord God we pray all this in Jesus’ name,