All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Almighty God, who called Abraham and Sarah away from their homeland to bless the world through their blessedness, who called Israel out of Egypt to wander in the wilderness before they entered the land you promised, and whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ who had nowhere to lay his head: Grant your mercy and blessing to all those forced from their homelands through famine, war, or persecution. Guide them in safety to havens of rest and peace. Protect them from all violence, danger, and oppression. Relieve the distressed, protect the innocent, and comfort the afflicted. Pour out your Holy Spirit on them, that they may seek after you and find you. Bless those who serve their needs, and fill your church with the power and compassion of your Holy Spirit, that we whom you have called strangers and foreigners on the earth may find in serving their needs that we have served Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
-Rev. Paul Wheatley, St. Augustine Oak Cliff