OSJ Prayers: September 20, 2017

World Hunger Rises for First Time This Century

815 million—a recent United Nations report on food insecurity and nutrition identifies that figure as the number of chronically undernourished people in the world. This represents an increase of 38 million people from last year. The five UN agencies involved in the study cite the widespread rise in conflict and climate change as key drivers of food insecurity, highlighting a major concern that the poorest people are the ones who suffer most when crises arise.

God, for the overwhelming number of people in the world who do not have enough to eat, we lift our prayers and laments. Convict us of the ways we contribute to this problem through our personal choices and our political leaders.

Rohingya Exodus Continues

Every day, 20,000 Rohingya people are crossing Myanmar’s border into Bangladesh to escape systematic violence by government military forces and radical Buddhist mobs. As many as 421,000 Rohingya have now fled their homes in the state of Rakhine in less than a month, forced to leave after mass killings, rape, torture, and destruction of homes and villages.

God, we pray for the Rohingya refugees who are suffering such horrorlead them to a place of safety. We pray for the government of Bangladesh and for aid agencies straining to respond to the ever-growing human need. We pray for leaders who are making decisions for refugees; by your Spirit, empower their decisions to reflect your love, hope, and the flourishing of all people.

War Crimes in South Sudan

The ongoing conflict in South Sudan has resulted in “war crimes involving sexual violence,” according to Amnesty International and human rights advocates. Thousands of women were sexually assaulted by soldiers as they fled, and many of their husbands were killed trying to stop the soldiers. The four-year-long struggle for power between government military forces and rebel troops has displaced 3.5 million people and killed tens of thousands, creating one of the world’s fastest-growing refugee crises. Human rights groups and survivors accuse both sides of the rampant abuse.

God, for the people of South Sudanthose traumatized, those grieving, those lost and hopelesswe lift our prayers. Draw near to them, O God. We plead for a way forward that protects dignity and human life, for an end to the violence and abuse, and for safe harbor for all who are displaced as they await peace in South Sudan.

Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

The decade-long blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza and its two million residents has caused “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises,” according to the United Nations. A UN report released in July called the area “unlivable.” Only four percent of Gaza’s water supply is safe to drink, and hospitals and households have electricity for just three hours a day. Civilians in Gaza are trapped in the middle of a power struggle between Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel.

God, the people of Gaza are human beingscreated in your image, beloved by you. May we hear their cries just as you hear them, O Lord. May your church disentangle itself from the harmful theology that has led so many Christians to dehumanize Palestinian people. May Israel be held accountable for its abuses against them. We pray for peace and for justice.

Facing Our Fears: Immigration and Economic Injustice

The Association for a More Just Society, the CRC Office of Social Justice, and Alianza Americas is hosting an event Thurs., Sept. 21, at 7:00 p.m. at LaGrave Avenue CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich., on the root factors that drive immigration from Mexico and Central America, and how people in the United States can respond. More details can be found here.

Use Your Social Media Accounts for Dialogue and Justice!

We need your voice! Do you get excited about sharing your passion for social justice with others and inviting them to take action? Do you want to have an active role in sparking constructive conversations about social justice issues? Become part of a network of justice and dialogue seekers by being a Social Media Ambassador! Sign up here.