OSJ Prayers: July 17, 2018

Protests in Haiti

On July 6 the Haitian government, in an attempt to boost their revenues in compliance with an International Monetary Fund request, announced hikes of up to 50 percent in prices for gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. Protests soon erupted from people who felt that the steep price increases would be too much of a burden for those already living in poverty. Protests escalated into violence that killed at least four people. The president suspended the decision, but protests calling for his resignation continued. The CRCNA has several staff members living and working in Haiti. All of these staff members and their families are currently safe.

Lord, for all who are vulnerable in Haiti we offer our prayers. We ask for an end to the violence and for the protection for your people. Give wisdom and courage to leaders in power to do what is right and just. May the decisions that they make reflect your goodness and justice. May your will be done in Haiti today, Lord.

Regulations on Faith Communities Proposed in Rwanda

After closing more than 700 churches and some mosques in March, Rwandan government officials have moved to institute guidelines for the operations of faith-based groups in the majority Christian country. Proposed guidelines have been brought to Parliament that would require Christian and Muslim clerics to attain university education before preaching in churches or mosques. The guidelines would also bar clergy who have been convicted of crimes of genocide, genocidal ideology, discrimination, or other sectarian practices. Those in support of the guidelines state that the law will put necessary structures in place that will prevent churches from taking advantage of the poor.​ Opponents of the guidelines feel that putting university education requirements on faith leaders will stifle the growth of the church because denominational seminaries are scarce. The draft law received wide support from most legislators in Rwanda’s Parliament. It will move to the committee stage, after which it will be brought back to Parliament for endorsement.

God of all nations, we lift up to you the people of Rwanda. Strengthen the resolve of the people whom you have called to serve your church, thwart the plans of the evil one to destroy, and equip the leaders in Rwanda’s parliament to make decisions that would aim to promote, and not hinder, the flourishing of your church.

Deadly Attack in Pakistan

A suicide bomber killed 149 people, including nine children at a campaign rally in Mastung, in southwestern Pakistan on Friday. More than 180 were injured. The so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility. A local political candidate was among the persons killed. The attack comes ahead of a general election set to take place on July 25. The violence is seen by many as a crackdown on political activists, journalists, and critics of the powerful military.

God of peace, we offer our prayers for all the people who are facing grief, fear, and deep divisions as a result of this event. Intervene in the plans of people who plot evil, Lord. Protect everyone from extremism and violence. Draw near to your people in Pakistan, who suffer deeply today.

U.S. Refugee Resettlement at Historic Low

The number of refugees resettled in the United States decreased more than in any other country in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This represents the first time since the adoption of the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act that the U.S. resettled fewer refugees than the rest of the world. The U.S. has historically led the world in refugee resettlement.

God, we lift up the millions of refugees fleeing for their lives in search of safety and stability. Give them hope and courage. Please move the hearts of national leaders to offer refuge. Instill in us your love and compassion so that we may offer hospitality to people who desperately need it. May we answer your call to welcome the stranger, even when that may be hard.

All Nations Heritage Week Resource: Racial Justice Film Week

Looking for a way to celebrate the CRC's All Nation's Heritage Week? Why not sign up to be a host site for the second Annual Racial Justice Film Week that takes place September 24-30? We have suggested movies and a film kit for each movie.

Tell Congress: Do Not Expand Immigrant Detention

Congress will not resolve the crisis at our border with bills like the Keep Families Together and Enforce the Law Act (H.R. 6190, S. 3093). Instead of resolving the issue of family separation, it exchanges that practice with a different but also heartbreaking one: family incarceration. Ask Congress to reject proposals to expand family detention and speak out against “zero tolerance” policy!