OSJ Prayers | March 2017

OSJ Prayers: March 9, 2017

French Mayor Prevents Distribution of Food to Refugees

The mayor of Calais, France, banned the distribution of food to migrants to prevent establishment of a new refugee camp as hundreds of people return to the port three months after an earlier one was demolished. The mayoral decree, released March 2, said the “regular, persistent, and large presence of individuals distributing meals to migrants” posed a threat to the peace and security of the area. It also made food distribution an offense. Food distribution volunteers are now doing their work in secret.

God, we lift our prayers for hungry people who have found their way to France as they seek refuge from persecution. We pray that they might be welcomed, that their needs might be readily met, that they might be able to raise their children in safety. We pray that communities — including our own — may see the face of Christ in the stranger, and extend welcome.

Attack on Afghanistan Hospital

Gunmen dressed in medical uniforms attacked the main military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, killing at least 30 people and wounding several others. Afghan forces worked for seven hours to evacuate the building and put an end to the siege. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Lord, we lift prayers for peace in Afghanistan. We pray for an end to the terror of ISIS. We pray for all who grieve today, for those who live in fear, and for repentance in the hearts of all who are bent on violence as a means to achieve their goals. We pray that the deep and complex issues that have brought about such suffering in Afghanistan may be addressed.

Deadly Attacks on Christians in North Sinai Force Many to Flee

Attacks against the Egyptian Coptic Christian religious minority have escalated since the dismissal of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Over the past month, seven Coptic Christians have been killed in North Sinai by a local armed group. As many as 150 Christian families have fled their homes to find safety. Many have sought shelter in the neighboring governorate of Ismailia in overcrowded temporary accommodations without adequate access to essential services.

God, for our brothers and sisters in Egypt, we lift our fervent prayers. We pray for their protection, for their immediate needs to be met, for a restoration of peace and safety so that they might be able to return home. We pray for all people in the world who are persecuted for their faith or their ethnicity. We pray that all who make decisions in Egypt may work diligently toward resolutions that  lead to justice and flourishing for all people.

U.S. Justice Department to Stop Monitoring Troubled Police Agencies

Late last month, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated that the federal government would no longer monitor troubled police departments. The monitoring of these departments was intended to increase accountability in local law enforcement amid rising racial tensions throughout the U.S. The Department of Justice has investigated the systemic civil rights abuses within several police departments (including Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson, and Seattle) and has called for wholesale changes to police practices.

Lord, for all who have been oppressed by people in power because of their race, we lift prayers of lament. We know, God, that changing our hearts is but one way to combat racism; we must also change the systems that so powerfully oppress. For the many police departments that are doing their work well, Lord, we give thanks; for the places where police violence has occurred, we pray for accountability. We pray for nations in which impunity has led to rampant abuse of power — and we pray that the United States will not move closer to a system of impunity but be willing to expose and reform abuses that occur.

U.S. Advocates: Tell Congress to Protect Refugee Resettlement!

On March 6, the Trump administration released a rewritten executive order on refugees and Muslims. The order will enact a 90-day suspension of all visas for nationals from six Muslim majority countries, halt refugee resettlement for 120 days, and decrease the number of refugees the U.S. admits this year, from 110,000 to 50,000, the lowest goal in U.S. history.

Congress needs to hear that the church welcomes refugees. Click here to contact your member of Congress today!

Holy Land Learning Tour

From Aug. 8 through 18, come and meet Christians whose lineage of ancestors living in the Holy Land dates back to the time of Christ. On this 11-day trip, you will not only explore sites you've read about in the Bible but also meet people who are ministering, living, and struggling in this part of the world today.

This trip will be led by CRCNA World Missions in partnership with the Office of Social Justice and Faith Formation Ministries.

For more information on this exciting opportunity, click here!