God with us,
we give you thanks that your are always with us,
in good times
and in times of sorrow and struggle.
We thank you that you reach out to us in love,
that you are ready to welcome us home
in this world and the next.
On this feast of St Stephen
we pray for places in the world
where this is bloodshed and violence,
trouble and sorrow.
We pray for all who are persecuted for their faith,
and for prisoners of conscience and political prisoners:
once more we pray for Nazanin Zagharri Ratliffe, and for her family –
that soon she will be free,
that politicians and negotiators will work for her freedom.
We give you thanks for this day:
the chance to rest and recover,
to look at our gifts,
go out for a walk
or curl up in warmth and relax.
In our contentment
let us never forget that you are here,
our companion and friend.
Gives us compassionate hearts
to reach out to those in need,
and help us to grow in our faith
as we walk with you into the coming year.