‘Open my eyes to …’ Kent Annan’s Haiti Partners

Haiti Partners co-director Kent Annan translating for program coordinator Enel Angervil during the retreatThis spring, readers around the world are trying an experiment in prayer—each offering a line that starts with the words, “Open my eyes to …” This ReadTheSpirit project is encouraged by writers such as John Philip Newell, Brian McLaren, the WISDOM women’s network and, today, author and grassroots activist Kent Annan, who specializes in educational programs to help communities in Haiti. Like others this spring, Kent introduced the “Open my eyes to …” idea at a retreat for activists working tirelessly on rebuilding Haitian educational institutions.

Here is Kent Annan’s introduction to the prayer they produced: Twenty-six of us gathered for Haiti Partners first annual Partners Retreat in South Florida. The work we’re part of has been going on in Haiti for many years (the co-directors have a combined 28 years experience working in Haiti). But it’s a new organization. We’re building community. We’re learning from each other. We’ve moving forward in the mission of “helping Haitians change Haiti through education” and we’re moving forward in faith.

We were together for 24 hours, and as a morning devotional we read Jesus’ first sermon, where he quotes from Isaiah and says he’s on the side of the poor, the blind, the oppressed. Haitian colleagues up from Haiti for the weekend, Haitian Americans, and a range of other Americans were in the room; our gathering included staff, board, supporters, and friends. We individually, and then collectively, asked for God to keep opening our eyes. This prayer came out of that time …

A Haiti Partners Prayer:
Open my eyes to…

Teachers and students at IMN Community school, one of Haiti Partners’ seven elementary schools. The school is in Darbonne, near the epicenter of the January 2011 earthquake, and had to be rebuilt.Open my eyes to …
Your wisdom and guidance in the Spirit of your good news.
Be a devoted disciple of your will, not mine, as your light guides us to follow you. 

Open my eyes to…
Spending less, giving more.
Spending less time doing unimportant things, giving more time to God’s work.
Spending less time thinking negative thoughts, giving more to positive prayer.
Be thankful, be humble, and reverent, and to help those who cannot help themselves.

Open my eyes to…
Needs and dreams.
Attention, compassion, love.
Understanding more deeply the people around me.
The social injustice in the world and then guide me toward changing those injustices.
That which is negative, hopeless, without vision, lacking courage or strength—so that I may understand, care, share, and be an ally.

Open my eyes to…
The world outside our nation.
The needs and dreams of others, that we might help needs and dreams be realized.
Know how I can help Christian leaders to work transformation with the church in Haiti.
Accompany people in Haiti who need education so children’s lives can be changed for a better future.

Open my eyes to…
See where you want me to go and what you need me to do there.
See more and more how every moment of my life can be devoted to your mission.
See how in all things your will is to be done.
See your many gifts, especially of imagination, generosity, and commitment in people I know and those I will meet.

Open my eyes to…
Find a way to move joyfully beyond a call to active, concentrated action.
See Jesus, and where he is at work, so I can join him and be there with him.


(For the text of this prayer, special thanks to contributors Linda Aiken, Enel Angervil, Kent Annan, Benaja Antoine, Allan Beverly, Adam Bolinger, Jonathan Chan, John Engle, David Jones, Allan Klotsche, Bob Lawton, Mary Pautz, Guylaine Richard, Sandy Schumann, Tamara Simmonds, Charlotte Terry, Arthur Tilley, Leslie Tilley, Laura Timm, Fequiere Vilsaint.)

Care to learn more about Kent Annan and Haiti Partners?

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Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.

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