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OSJ Prayers: September 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma Devastates Communities

Entire communities in the Caribbean and throughout Florida and several other states have been destroyed by Hurricane Irma. At least 47 lives have been lost. Many areas have no electricity and face limited supplies of food and clean water. In the Caribbean, some islands have virtually no infrastructure left. Pope Francis and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado have both called for conversation on climate change in the wake of increasingly deadly weather patterns, which have the most impact on people living in poverty.

God, we lift prayers to you for the people who are most vulnerable, and most in grief, in the wake of these storms. We pray that we might be wise, courageous, and faithful stewards of creation, willing to consider your call to respond—whether it is a call to relieve immediate suffering or a call to address a long-term issue like adaptation to a changing climate.

United Nations Calls Province in Canada Out for Racism

A United Nations panel on racism has issued a call to the government of the province of British Columbia to immediately stop work on an $8.8 billion dam, also known as the “Site C” dam. The project is controversial as several First Nations communities will be affected and their lands lost. The government has determined that it will carry on with construction until an appointed independent commission decides whether the project should continue or end.

God, we pray that all people may be treated with dignity and given the ability to flourish. We lament the ways that Indigenous peoples continue to be treated with antipathy. We pray for wisdom as lawmakers balance competing interests—and we pray that justice will prevail always.

Messianic Jews Face Persecution; Arab Christians Give Thanks for Priest’s Release

In the town of Arad, in southern Israel, a Messianic congregation recently faced persecution from a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who protested the gathering by cursing and shouting religious slogans. The group has been aggressively trying to spread their influence in Arad, raising signs attacking the community and the mayor regarding secular customs.

God, we echo the prayers of the leader of the Messianic congregation, who is asking for peace in his city, for a stop to the aggression, and for protection for the mayor. We pray that this congregation might be able to shine the bright love of Christ to their neighbors, no matter the consequences.

Meanwhile, Christians in the Arabian peninsula are rejoicing over the recent release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil. Father Tom was abducted near Aden, Yemen, 18 months ago in an armed raid on the Missionaries of Charity nursing home, where he lived and worked as chaplain. Yemen still faces severe humanitarian issues in the midst of ongoing conflict, food shortages, and a cholera epidemic.

God, we thank you for your care and provision for Father Tom, and we pray that he will be restored to wholeness after this ordeal. We pray for the nursing home residents who have experienced trauma and grief. We pray also for the people who committed the murders and abduction in the raid last year—may their hearts turn toward the new life Christ offers. And we pray for Christians and all others in Yemen who are suffering during this time of injustice and conflict—bring aid, healing, and hope.

Brazil Investigates Reported Massacre among Amazonian Tribe

Brazil’s National Indian Foundation is investigating reports that illegal gold miners massacred between eight and 10 members of an isolated tribe in the remote Javari Valley. Recent severe budget cuts to the agency exacerbate the issue; with fewer bases and resources, the department faces an uphill battle to protect the more than 100 Indigenous tribes spread throughout the country. The government has also moved to reduce the total protected area of the Amazon rainforest and plans to approve mining and development in other protected zones.

God, we pray that desires for wealth would not overshadow the immeasurable gift of life—and that the lives, dignity, and flourishing of the Indigenous peoples of Brazil would be protected. We pray for leaders in Brazil, for executives in mining companies, and for all who have power in this situation. Inspire and empower them to do your will.

Support World Renew’s Response Efforts to Devastating Storms

World Renew’s Disaster Response teams are working in Florida and the Caribbean to determine how to assist those in greatest need. World Renew is also working in Texas and southern Asia to help victims there. Please prayerfully consider donating to support World Renew’s efforts.

 

Protect Kids from Online Porn

Porn is addictive, and yet 9 in 10 boys and 6 in 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18. The online pornography that is available today provides new challenges--we need new ways to protect our kids. But pornography doesn’t just affect the viewer. Pornography is often linked to other forms of sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking and prostitution. Urge your Member of Parliament to help protect our kids from online porn.

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