On 3 March, millions of people around the world gathered in their communities, churches, parishes to pray universally for the Philippines. Every year, a specific country is selected by the World Day of Prayer Committee as a focus country to pray for. Next year will be Suriname, a small country in South America.
For the Philippines, the prayers revolved around the growing issues of family violence, human trafficking, child abuse, poverty, the vulnerability of women and other forms of injustice.
The theme “Am I Being Unfair to You” reflects the desire of prayer intercessors to bring into light the opportunity to be merciful, just and compassionate.
In the booklet, three women shared their poignant stories: Merlyn from Mindanao talked about her struggles as a domestic helper, Celia from Luzon narrated her angst as a sugar farmer and Editha from the Visayas, described her pain as a survivor of typhoon Haiyan.
Dina Delfino was invited as guest speaker at Iona, Gippsland area by the representatives of various churches – Mary Sayers (Catholic), Nola Coster (Uniting Church), Betty Hine (Seven Day Adventist), Sandra Hogan (Baptist and Anglican).
Dina shared that the Philippines is a country of paradox- it has the rich on one side and the poor on the other, the zealous piety of people at one level and the massive corruption at another extreme. There seems to be bad news all the time, and yet the fun and games people watch on TV reflect the light-heartedness and mirth of its people. The current challenges on the war on drugs force people to take sides and often there is the blindness that now permeates that could lead to illusion and delusion.
In the gathering she attended, Dina observed there was no Filipino present, but it made the prayer service more deeply inspiring as she witnessed those who made their sacrifices that morning to pray for a country they are not even rooted in – in the name of unity and prayers for world change. It was indeed a time of reconciling prayer and a time to ponder – what excuse do we still have up our sleeve to be unfair to someone?