OSJ Prayers: January 24, 2019

You'll be seeing some changes to OSJ Prayers
in the coming weeks.

To better equip CRC people to work and pray for justice, the OSJ Prayers newsletter will now be posted on our joint blog with the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue, Do Justice, every Wednesday as Justice Prayers.

What does this mean for you as a Prayers subscriber?
You’ll still receive Prayers in your inbox every Wednesday, but now it will come through Do Justice. You’ll also receive other Do Justice posts every Monday and Friday to help you keep praying about justice issues throughout the week.

What do you need to do?
Just add to your address book and look for posts to arrive three times per week. You might want to star them or move them out of your promotions folder to make sure you see them.

New York Makes More Abortions Legal

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under fire from many faith leaders after signing a bill into law that makes abortion legal in many cases where it was previously outlawed, followed by actions of celebration such as illuminating prominent buildings in the state with a pink light. The bill allows women to get abortions after 24 weeks if their life or health is threatened by the pregnancy, in addition to permitting women to have an abortion at any time if the fetus is “not viable.” The law also regulates abortion under public health law rather than criminal law, and allows licensed nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and licensed midwives to conduct abortions.

God, all human life is sacred, created, known, beloved -- and we grieve when abortion ends a human life. We lift in prayer all human beings who are not yet born. We lift in prayer women who are grieving the news that their baby may not survive. We pray for women whose pregnancies are threatening their health and even their lives. We pray for health-care providers who give counsel and care in such delicate situations. And, God, we pray for lawmakers who have such power over the very lives of babies, women, and vulnerable people. Give wisdom to their decisions and compassion to their acts.

DACA Stays in Place, for Now

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s saying nothing this week about DACA, the Obama-era protections for young immigrants that President Donald Trump has been working to end, some 700,000 DACA recipients will, for the time being, keep their work authorizations and remain protected from deportation. Meanwhile, in negotiations to end the five-weeks long government shutdown, President Trump offered a three-year pause in his plan to scrap DACA and TPS (temporary protected status) for immigrants from some Latin American and African nations. This result, however, does not provide the permanent legal status or citizenship these immigrants are hoping for.

God, we lift in prayer all the people who watch this breaking news with breaking hearts, because so much in their lives depends on the outcome. We pray for lawmakers who are working to end the government shutdown that has affected many thousands of people in devastating ways. We pray for the president, whose task includes leading the U.S. in ways that protect and value people who are vulnerable.

Forced Labor by Canadian Company Considered by Court

The Supreme Court of Canada is considering a case that may decide how Canadian companies will be held accountable when they do business abroad. At issue is a British Columbia-based mining company, Nevsun Resources Ltd., accused of complicity in the forced labor, slavery, and torture of workers at a gold, zinc, and copper mine in Eritrea, East Africa. The lawsuit against Nevsun was brought by a group of Eritrean refugees who say they were forced to work as slaves at the mine under Eritrea's mandatory military National Service Program. The Supreme Court justices are weighing not the merits of the case itself but only whether a domestic court, or an Eritrean court, should hear it.

God, for the people who have bravely brought their story forward and pleaded for justice, we offer our prayers for dignity and fair treatment. God, we ask for wisdom in the hearts of Supreme Court Justices who are tasked with ensuring that justice is upheld. We pray for due accountability in this matter and that systems may serve to protect people from injustice rather than conceal, perpetuate, or exacerbate it.

Venezuela Faces More Uncertainty, Violence

Violence flared again this week in Venezuela, and at least seven protesters reportedly were killed. President Nicolas Maduro, who has been increasingly accused of undemocratic behavior by the United States and many other nations in the region, is now facing a National Assembly that is controlled by his opposition -- and their leader, Juan Guiado, has now declared himself interim president. He said it is the only way to end the Maduro "dictatorship" in Venezuela, which has seen millions flee in recent years to escape sky-high inflation and food shortages. The U.S., Canada, and some Latin American and European countries have announced they support Guaido's claim to the interim presidency.

God, we remember all who are most powerless in such moments -- people who are elderly, ill, disabled, or poor, as well as so many children. As powerful people work toward competing visions of the future for Venezuela, protect those who cannot find enough to eat, safe places to stay, and/or medicine to sustain their lives. We pray, God, for a way forward that addresses the long-standing, desperate situation the people of Venezuela have had to face.

Creation Care Worship Resources

Christian Reformed people from all walks of life have poured out their devotion to our Creator God and his call on our lives in this new crowdsourced collection of creation care-themed worship materials. After careful review and editing by CRC Worship Ministries and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, these materials are ready to be used in your congregation. Every week this month we’ll release a new section of the collection: from prayers to visuals, from sermon notes to liturgies at

Justice and Immigration: Understanding Root Causes

Join the Association for a More Just Society, the CRC Office of Social Justice, Erin Lane (former U.S. State Department employee), and James Nealon (former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras and AJS board member) for an evening of learning about justice and immigration. Join us Feb. 20 at Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Mich.