OSJ Prayers: January 17, 2018

Conflict in Nigeria Claims at Least 80 Lives

Since Dec. 31, violent clashes between cattle herders and farmers in the central Nigerian state of Benue have claimed the lives of at least 80 people and displaced 80,000 more. The conflict escalated after the state governor introduced a law forbidding nomadic herders from moving through the state—an effort to encourage ranching and to prevent bloody land disputes with farmers. Compounding the conflict are religion and ethnicity: the herders are mostly Muslim Fulani, whereas the farmers are Christians from other ethnic groups. People fear similar violence in the state of Taraba, where the same law is expected to be enforced this month. The Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria is asking for prayer that President Muhammadu Buhari will enforce the rule of law and protect Christians from attacks.

God, for our family in Nigeria we offer prayers for protection and justice. We pray that people, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, would find ways to survive and thrive free from violence. We pray for pastors, imams, and politicians to lead in ways that engender peace and justice, that are free from bias, and that protect the dignity and flourishing of all, including “the other.”

Canada Introduces Draft of Carbon Pricing Legislation

Environment Canada released a draft of its carbon pricing plan on Monday, expecting most industries to accept the plan as a practical way to remain competitive while preserving the environment. The ministry will hold public consultations this winter to receive feedback from provinces, Indigenous peoples, industries, and the public. Four provinces already have full carbon pricing systems; the federal legislation will apply only to provinces that do not have their own carbon fee system in place by Sept. 2018.

God, we offer prayers for legislators who are bringing ideas to the table that aim to address the problem of climate change. Your will be done, Lord—direct their paths and give success to the ideas that might save lives. We pray for people already affected by this issue—give us a mindfulness of their reality and a willingness to change.

North American Churches Celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

This coming Sunday, Jan. 21, churches across the United States and Canada will celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, affirming the value of each life, honoring the God-given dignity inherent in each person, and recognizing that God has created every human being in his image.

God, you have created each human life unique, made in your image, full of dignity and bursting with worth and potential. We pray for an end to practices and policies that harm or destroy human life. We pray for an end to abortion, an end to violence, an end to poverty, an end to racism. We pray that we might see you in each human life we encounter, and work so that those lives might be dignified.

Gaza Hospitals Face Impending Blackout

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that hospitals in Gaza will see an almost total electricity blackout by the end of February unless they secure funding for their emergency generators. Gaza’s ongoing electricity crisis has forced hospitals to rely on their emergency generators for up to 20 hours a day. While hospitals in Gaza are facing overcrowding (especially in neonatal intensive care units) and severe medicine shortages, WHO notes “dramatic decreases” in the proportion of Israeli government-issued permits for people to receive health care outside Gaza. Fears of a medical emergency have intensified after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority if it would not resume peace talks.

God, for the people of Gaza, we pray for hope that comes through policy change. Change the hearts and plans of powerful people who do not believe Palestinians are worthy of dignity, who do not see the suffering of hospitalized adults and babies as worthy of their attention. End their oppressive ways. Bring new life to the prospect of peace, Lord. Ignite in the church a new sense of care for its suffering brothers and sisters in the Palestinian territories who have endured injustice for so long.

Advocate for Life!

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (HR 4712). Meanwhile, if funding is not extended for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by Jan. 19, certain states will no longer be able to fund this important health-care program. Ask Congress to support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and to extend funding for CHIP!

Ten Ways to Do Justice

The CRC Office of Social Justice and Faith Formation Ministries have developed a resource for North Americans who “want to follow Christ in seeking justice today.” This tool lists ten ways for Christians to participate in the spiritual discipline of seeking justice. Read more about this resource and download or order it here.