OSJ Prayers: May 2, 2018

North and South Korea Pledge to Formally End War

At a historic summit last Friday, the leaders of North and South Korea pledged to formally end the Korean War, which began in 1950, and to pursue “complete denuclearization” of the peninsula. North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in released a joint statement pledging to sign a peace treaty later this year that would signify the official end of the Korean War. For over 60,000 families, the end of the war could mean reuniting with family members after decades of separation. The United States and China will likely be involved in the upcoming peace talks.

God, we give thanks for a new hope of peace and reconciliation in Korea. We pray for the leaders involved and for their wisdom and collaboration. We pray for the people of North and South Korea, especially all who are poor and marginalized—may this be the beginning of a new kind of flourishing.

Gaza Hospitals Struggle with Influx of Wounded Patients

Despite having intermittent electricity for four to eight hours a day, hospitals in Gaza have been busy treating—in addition to regular patients—the thousands of people who have required urgent medical attention after recent border demonstration clashes. Gaza’s health sector faces an acute shortage of medical supplies and drugs. To cope with the current influx of wounded people and to ensure that regular health services continue to run, hospital staff have had to cancel all surgical operations for non-life-threatening conditions.

Lord, we lift in prayer the people who need medicine, surgery, routine health care, and any other kind of medical care in Gaza. We pray that greater justice and a more lasting peace might result from the demonstrations that are occurring. We pray for protection and dignity for all who are marginalized and suffering.

Church Attack in Nigeria Leaves 19 Dead

An attack by gunmen on a Roman Catholic church in Benue state, central Nigeria, last Tuesday left 19 people dead, including two priests. Police suspect that the armed men, who also set fire to nearly 50 houses in the community, were ethnic Fulani herdsmen; if so, this attack is the latest in a series of bloody clashes between majority-Muslim herdsmen and mainly Christian farmers in central Nigeria. Hundreds of people have died this year alone, the violence exacerbated by dwindling land and water resources. In a recent joint press conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke against the violence and encouraged Nigeria to “protect innocent civilians of all faiths, including Muslims and including Christians.”

God, we pray for the protection of people who are vulnerable—including Muslims and including Christians. We long for abundant resources for all, but know that too many people face the reality of a scarcity of food and water. We pray for peace, Lord, in Nigeria, and for hope for those who fear the future.

Worldwide Findings Show Harsher Prison Sentences Affect Reintegration

Research teams in numerous countries have documented personality changes in prisoners, specifically in people who have been incarcerated for long periods of time, that affect their reintegration into society upon release. “Prisonization”—how prisoners adapt to their environment—appears to affect former offenders’ ability to trust others, make decisions, and engage in relationships. Positive research results from Sweden, which places a strong emphasis on rehabilitation and treatment, offer hope that sentencing rules and prisons can be designed in ways to better help past offenders rehabilitate and reintegrate into society. Nearly 2.3 million people in the U.S. and over 40,000 people in Canada are incarcerated.

God, we long for restoration, not retribution, because we know that you work to restore. We pray for policies that pursue restoration when crimes have been committed and for elected officials to lead in ways that bring those policies to reality. We pray for people in prison and for people returning home—may we remember and welcome them. May we be the face of Christ and see the face of Christ in those who have experienced incarceration.

Recent Visit by CRC Group to South Korea and the DMZ

In early April, a group of Christian Reformed Church leaders and members visited South Korea and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on a trip organized by Resonate Global Mission, and they prayed for God’s guidance in the meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea. Read about their trip here.

Share a Creation-Care Worship Resource

We have extended the deadline to share your creation-care worship resources! If you enjoy writing and you love God’s creation, consider creating and sharing a prayer, liturgy, song (text-only or with music), visual, or any creative worship tool. We welcome submissions from children and schools too! Read more and share your resource here.