OSJ Prayers: August 16, 2017

White Supremacy March in U.S. Yields Fatalities, Injuries

Violence erupted in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend when white nationalists, protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, were met with counter-protests. The tension escalated with racial taunting and acts of violence until police finally dispersed the crowd. A car driven by a white supremacist plowed into a peaceful crowd; 19 were injured, and 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed. Many are calling it an act of domestic terrorism. A police helicopter providing aerial assistance crashed, killing Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

God, for an end to the racism plaguing the United States, as well as our churches and our hearts, we pray. Comfort all who mourn these deaths, heal the many who have been injured, and bring hope for those who were terrorized by this blatant display of hate. No part of white supremacy ideas come from you, Lord; set your church on a course to unlearn this evil, to repent of it, and to dismantle it.

Crops in Jeopardy in Uganda

Edward Okiror, World Renew program consultant in Uganda, reports that Kaberamaido has been very hard hit by a fall armyworm outbreak. This insect is capable of destroying crops completely within a matter of weeks. This year's infestation has spread to 21 African countries.

God, we pray for the well-being of all in Uganda and other parts of Africa who are threatened by this outbreak. Bring wisdom to know how to respond, bring whatever resources might help, and protect people from harm. We pray for ways to protect people from the devastation of plagues like this.

New Boundaries for National Marine Conservation Area in Canada

The Canadian government reached an agreement with Inuit leaders that will introduce the protection of a massive swath of northern sea in one of the most ecologically sensitive regions of the Canadian Arctic. The proposed size of the conservation area more than meets the expressed wishes of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents 14,000 people.

God, we thank you for signs that the dignity and flourishing of these people is being valued and pursued by the Canadian government. We pray for protection and respect for all of your creation — people, creatures, water, land — and for more and more leaders who work toward that end.

NGOs Forced to Suspend Rescue Efforts off Libyan Coast

Three non-government organizations (NGOs), including Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children, have suspended their search-and-rescue efforts of migrant boats off the coast of Libya. They report receiving threats from Libyan authorities. For many years, NGOs have been an integral part of rescue operations in the Mediterranean region for precarious migrants seeking safety. Concerns are now growing that the number of migrants who die at sea or are forced back to Libya to face an uncertain future will increase.

God, we pray for migrants and refugees who are desperate for safety, and who put themselves and their families at great risk in order to pursue it. We pray for all who are called to provide help. We pray also for change in the hearts of people who try to prevent that help. We pray for our own hearts as well — make us more and more mindful of the needs of others, and willing to risk safety and comfort to help meet those needs.

Statement from the CRCNA on Charlottesville

“The response to this horrific incident laid bare the divide that still exists in this country. Oppression and injustice are alive and well. The aftermath of the violence was telling. . . . As Christians, our choice is clear: we are called to love each other, as God has loved us. This is not an option. This is a command. The Bible also says that those who love are of God, but those who do not love are not of God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8).” Read the full response here

Support Sustainable Agriculture with World Renew

World Renew's sustainable agriculture program promotes crop diversification to offset the loss of maize, millet, and sorghum. You can support this program here.