'And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that ‘they' get justice, and quickly.'
The year 2012 is the 100th Anniversary of William Booth's last public address. Determining the location of the famous ‘I'll Fight' speech remains open to speculation but none the less celebrating his legacy continues.
While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight - I'll fight to the very end!
We of the Salvation Army see those words - inscribed in books, on walls of our buildings and on our lips of speakers in events of inspiration. The ‘speech' lists issues pertaining to:
• The lost
• Dark souls
If we were to review our lists of people that would welcome our fighting spirit, who would we add?
‘Lord forgive us if our lists are more historic than present day.'
‘Lord, turn our lists into faces, names and stories of people who long to know our faces, our name and our story.'
Injustice continues in the world when our silence keeps the darkness alive and victims cry out unheard:
‘No one has come to defend us or to bring about justice.
We had hoped for a day of sunshine, but all we found was a dark gloomy night'.
‘Lord, revive our focus on Jesus as the Light of the World. Help us to take the spotlight off ourselves while...'
As we The Salvation Army fight for justice may we be patient in our deliberations at the tables of the United Nations, governments and in our communities to talk into the night on complex issues.
‘We feel our way along as if we were blind; we stumble at midday, as if it were night.
We can see no better than someone dead.'
‘Lord, often we feel our way with a justice focus that lacks an intention to deepen our thinking, wrestle with complexities that result in taking action prematurely.'
'Give us a determination for those who mourn injustice and to explore with contrasting responses, ‘flowers in place of sorrow, olive oil in place of tears, joyous praise in place of broken hearts'.
The one word ‘while' in the ‘I'll Fight' speech lifts these historic phrases into a present day realization. Another word we could consider with ‘while' is ‘maranatha' that interpreted means, ‘Come Lord Jesus'. The word ‘maranatha' is the oldest Christian prayer, lifted from the hearts of early day Christians, surrounded by the issues of their day.
The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission has a 2012 phrase to offer:
‘LIVING RIGHT WHILE RIGHTING WRONGS'
‘Lord help us to notice the WHILE in our everyday. Forgive us when spaces of time are limited to events whose approaches become ends in themselves.'
The image of God's servant as a ‘while influence' could be described as a ‘Tree of Justice planted by the Lord'. Isaiah 61:3b
‘Lord, plant me in the earth's suffering soil of rocks, thorns and thirst to live and grow without fanfare while living to bring about justice'.
You can also read the Prayer Focus in French, Spanish, or Portuguese.