Join us in this prayer for Brazil, set to beautiful music, that I have recorded especially for this edition. It is not only smoke from forest fires that hangs over the land, but also from spiritually mixed and confusing sources!
Oceans, which generate such a huge percentage of the oxygen we breathe, are often described as the “lungs of the Earth.” Like the oceans, Amazonia, the heart of the vast Amazon rainforest, also often shares the same tag, capturing and storing as it does something like a staggering 20% of the Earth’s carbon dioxide and ‘exhaling’ vitally needed oxygen. Even before the deeply upsetting and disturbing news broke of seventy-five thousand fires devastating massive areas of magnificent and vital forest (and this before the peak ‘burning’ season which usually occurs in September) I was already grieving the distressing events happening in that region. See for example this report by Sky News from three weeks ago.
May the world wake up in time to turn back from, and even undo, the damage we are causing to this beautiful gift of the Lord to us. May governments across the planet, especially those that have deliberately closed their eyes to such truths, turn from environmentally unfriendly policies and take necessary measures.
These are extremely concerning times for Creation, whether indigenous peoples, animals, trees and plants, biodiversity and much else beside. There are seriously questionable choices being made (as opposed to accidental out-of-control events) – as for example Japan’s recent decision to resume commercial whaling. The future wellbeing of the planet is in real jeopardy and we can see that.
As with all news stories, the chances are that, when the present bout of fires die down, the media will lessen its intense coverage and focus on some other matter. The West will have appeased its conscience by donating some token funding to aid the firefighting and Brazil will slip from the headlines again. But I have put together this article with a view to encouraging us to continue to remember it in our prayers.
I came close to releasing a similar bulletin last year when the far right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, was making his bid to be elected. An article in The Guardian sounded a warning then about what kind of a person this man nicknamed the ‘Trump of the Tropics’ really was; and how he risked taking Brazil back to the bad days of the long running military dictatorship.
As it turned out, a high percentage of voters, mistrustful of the Left, and fearing ever more corruption and instability endorsed a candidate who openly admired Chile’s notorious dictator, Augusto Pinochet and fervently advocates gun ownership – and this in a land with one of the highest rate of homicides in the world – a long way behind Honduras, but still very high at 168 murders per day.
To a large extent, Bolsonaro would be happy to sweep Brazil’s bloody past appears into the Amazon. A ‘pact of silence’ has ensured the full story of the brutality and widespread torture under the military period dictatorship never to be told. Even under a president who was considered somewhat more moderate, hundreds of people continued to disappear, and believed executed.
The guilty have never been brought to trial, and most people therefore have only a dim idea of the real horrors involved. There is something here not unlike the sad traces left in Spain following the civil war, and how reluctant people there continue to be to give voice to them even now.
Bolsonaro denies planning to lead Brazil back into dictatorship, of course, arguing instead that the nation needs “a government with authority but without authoritarianism.” There were strong rumours that he would fill his cabinet with ex-generals. See this article in the Financial Times for a brief profile of the cabinet line-up.
May the Lord shape, protect and safeguard His work amongst the MANY millions who love Him dearly in this vast country. May He overrule the working out for Brazil on the international stage.
Let’s extend our prayer to Brazil’s neighbouring lands too; firstly Bolivia, which has also been deeply affected by the forest fires but which does not have the means to fight them, and which has also suffered for decades – centuries even – from political and spiritual instability and intransigence. May the power of the Lord break through in Bolivia.
Let’s not forget to pray, too, for Venezuela – just because it is no longer primarily so much in the news. Nor for Uruguay, where secularism and Afro-Brazilian spiritism have been so rampant for centuries. Half the nation may claim to be nominal Catholics but in reality, less than 2% are actually practising. It is only very recently that Pentecostal groups have begun to make inroads into the country, and there is a great need to pray for a spiritual awakening in this land where the levels of depression, suicide and divorce are the highest in Latin America.
In all these countries, Father God, we pray that what You have done in one generation will be mirrored, reflected and taken still further in the next. May ministry to children and to youth find willing workers, take new paths, and thrive and flourish. We also pray that You will spare people from the thrall of showbiz Christianity and personality cults, and let your church shine. Father, let Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus alone be high and lifted up in this country where spiritism still holds a huge sway on peoples’ hearts, minds and spirits.
Be with those who mourn, and with those who live their lives in fear in the shadow of gangland crime and violence in the favellas that occupy one third of so many of the major cities. Bridge the gap between rich and poor; continue to root out corruption, and bring more and more to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
Join us in this prayer for Brazil, set to beautiful music, that I have recorded especially for this edition. it is not only the smoke from forest fires that hangs over the land, but also from spiritually mixed and confusing sources.