OSJ Prayers: August 2, 2017

U.S. President Strives to Limit Immigration

President Trump unveiled legislation on Wednesday that aims to sharply cut legal immigration to the United States. The RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy) would cut by half the number of legal immigrants accepted into the U.S. each year. It would cut visas for immigrants reuniting with family already in the U.S., halve the number of refugee visas, and eliminate the diversity visa lottery.

God, we pray for immigration policies that are welcoming — that include people who are poor, who don’t have access to education, and who long to be with their families again. We pray that leaders might embrace the blessings that immigrants bring, and enact policies that reflect the values of family, human dignity, and diversity.

Call for Change in Missing and Murdered Women Inquiry

As many as 4,000 Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been murdered in Canada in recent decades. Last August, the Canadian government launched a two-year inquiry into the tragedy. A year later, many Indigenous groups have lost confidence in the inquiry and are asking for change after months of red flags occurring in the process. Most recently, one of the five commissioners heading the inquiry resigned. This week the Assembly of First Nations passed a motion to push for significant changes to the inquiry.

Lord, we pray that the voices of people most affected by this alarming loss of life would be honored, listened to, and acted upon. We pray for Canadians of faith and goodwill to join in drawing attention to their voices so that there might be a united call for serious, sober, and swift action. We pray that Canada might truly value and honor the lives of Indigenous women and girls.

Some Michigan Prosecutors Push Back on Juvenile Lifer Ruling

Children in Michigan who committed crimes and were sentenced to life in prison without parole were meant to live their whole lives incarcerated. When a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2016 said the harsh sentence should be banned (except in rare cases), 367 inmates had a chance for a judge to resentence them — and maybe someday to see freedom. But several prosecutors now seem to be resisting this ruling — filing instead for 236 of these inmates to receive new no-parole sentences.

God of restoration, we pray for hope for these many prisoners who fear their hope is lost. We pray for all who are forgotten and abused inside prisons, and we pray that the church will remember them, defend their dignity, and work to create the possibility of restoration.

Election Crisis in Venezuela

On July 30, the existing government of Venezuela claimed victory in an election. That victory is being questioned worldwide, with evidence of manipulated vote counts. The victory would give current leaders authority to form a new legislative body, rewrite the constitution, and override the current Congress, which is largely opposed to the existing leadership. Two leaders who are critical of the current president were jailed this week, and since April more than 120 people have died protesting corruption, a severe lack of food and medicine, and other abuses.

God, we pray for peace in Venezuela — a peace that comes from justice, transparency, and respect for the people who are most affected by the corruption there. We pray that all who abuse their power may be weakened. We pray for a future for Venezuela in which all people are able to flourish.

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U.S. Advocates: Tell Congress to Support the Dream Act of 2017

A bipartisan Dream Act has been introduced in the House and the Senate! This new legislation would allow young immigrants to earn legal residence and eventually American citizenship, making a huge difference for young immigrants living in the U.S. today. Congress needs to hear our support of this important bill! Show your support today!