Two prayers for you and your host culture

Sep 5, 2023 | 0 comments

In the month of September we’re highlighting culture resources. As we come to the start of a new semester, let’s pray for ourselves in our host cultures. We’ve created two prayers when it comes to culture: one for old hands and one for those new to a culture. At the bottom of this post you can get a downloadable version of each for you to use on a prayer walk, keep in your Bible, or hang in your home. We’re praying for you!


A Prayer for Old Hands in a Culture

God, whether I came here with the plan to stay for years
or one year turned into many,
thank you that I have (or we have) 
built a home and life here.

As I look back and think of my first-year self in this place

            I marvel at all I have learned

            I am humbled by what I arrogantly thought I knew

            I see the kind companions you brought across my path.

Thank you for this place, these people, this rich culture.
Thank you for the ways they have 

            welcomed me in

            fed me

            taught me

            challenged me

            expanded me.

I see you, oh God, in ways I could not have seen you
without my years here.
You have shown me you are too big and glorious to 
be held by any one culture.
And yet you are specific and detailed enough to weave
a glorious tapestry of 

            flavors, sounds, colors, textures, and smells.

Lord, in my comfort here protect me from
thinking I don’t have much to learn. 
Keep me in the posture of a student.

And in those areas of the culture where I encounter

            injustice

            broken systems

            blatant disregard for human dignity,

help me to stay tender towards those I’ve come to serve.
Help me not to harden my heart or shut my hand.

Lord, this place is now a part of me and 
I am grateful it has become

            my teacher

            my friend

            my home.

Thank you for seeing fit to let me
live, learn, and love you here.

Amen


A Prayer for New Hands in a Culture

I am here, oh Lord!

Here in this new land, 

in this new culture, 

in these new rhythms.

To it, I bring my new hopes

                  of what you will do in me 

                  and through me

                  to help bring your Kingdom here to earth.

On the days, Lord when I can exclaim,

“I am here, oh Lord!” help to 

protect my joy as I walk or bike or ride the subway

                  protect my language learning as I stumble 

                  protect my growth in the thinking patterns

                  and values of these people.

Keep me curious and guard me from thinking

I know that which I am still learning.

On the days when my heart cries out in frustration,

“I am here, oh Lord?!” 

and I feel trapped or tricked                

                  by you    

                  by my call

                  by what others will think.

Help me not to lean on my own understanding.

Lead me to 

people I can be honest with

guides who can help me untangle

and shepherds who will tend to me.

Give me patience for all of the new 

that can be overwhelming.

God, you have brought me here and in these 

early days, weeks, months, even years

help my roots to go deep by

                  understanding the history

                  seeing the world as they do

                  speaking the language, eating the food,

                  and walking in the shoes of my local friends.

Guard me from quick conclusions and speaking too early.

Help me manage the tension of

listening and learning

while I also

live and invest.

Thank you, God, that I am here.

Amen.


You can download these prayers to use on a prayer walk, keep in your Bible, or hang in your home.

Photo by Marie Rouilly on Unsplash

Amy Young

Life enthusiast. Author. Sports lover. Jesus follower. Supporting cross-cultural work.

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