OSJ Prayers: April 18, 2018

North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

In North Korea, where efforts to share the gospel are seen as a Western-led plot to overthrow the government, missionaries and Christians face severe persecution. In recent years, 10 pastors and missionaries near the border separating China and North Korea have suffered mysterious deaths, while one deacon was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor. If their faith is discovered, Christians and their families are either sent to labor camps or killed. For the 14th consecutive year, North Korea again heads the annual persecution watch list posted by Open Doors.

For the body of Christ suffering in North Korea, Lord, we lift our prayers. We pray for their peace, for an end to their pain, and for a stop to the persecution perpetuated by their leaders. As the West fears the damage that North Korea might do outside its borders, help us remember that violence is done daily to people within its borders—people known, loved, and seen by you. Come, Lord Jesus.

Hurricane Maria Effects Linger

Next fall 283 schools in Puerto Rico will not reopen, following a sharp enrollment drop of 38,762 students. Many schools are still experiencing power outages seven months after Hurricane Maria struck the island, while 53,000 households remain without electricity. Unemployment and homelessness rates—common risk factors for suicide—are high; in the three months after Hurricane Maria, the number of people who reportedly attempted suicide more than tripled. The U.S. Virgin Islands has also struggled in efforts to repair schools and offer employment opportunities, leading to an exodus of thousands of residents.

God, for the people whose lives changed when Hurricane Maria struck, we offer our prayers. We pray that their struggle would not be forgotten as news headlines change. We pray that the resources they need will quickly come. We pray that their voices—calling for relief, for electricity, for repairs, for jobs, for schools, for a valuing of their human dignity—would be heard and amplified and lead to change.

Humanitarian Crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The United Nations (UN) has declared the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a humanitarian crisis on par with Yemen and Syria in terms of the number of people in “desperate need.” DRC President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down despite exceeding constitutional term limits has led to fighting that has displaced 4.5 million people and left two million children severely malnourished. According to the UN, more than 13 million Congolese are in need of humanitarian aid. The DRC government recently boycotted and opposed a UN-led donor conference to raise $1.7 billion for the country, denying that a humanitarian crisis exists.

For the Congolese people, not forgotten, we pray to you, Lord. Bring help. Bring hope. Bring life-saving medicine, food, safety, shelter. Provide open arms in welcome to all who have fled. Open wealthy pockets and closed minds, and provide hope for new life.

Donors Pledge More Than $2 Billion in Aid to Yemen

Forty countries and organizations have pledged more than $2 billion in humanitarian aid to Yemen, which recently entered its fourth year of conflict. The ongoing civil war has left 22 million Yemeni people in need of aid, while mass famine remains a threat. A recent Saudi-led air-raid killed at least 14 civilians, including seven children, in a housing compound in Hudaida, a rebel-held city. The U.S. State Department announced two weeks ago that it intends to approve the sale of $1.3 billion in artillery to Saudi Arabia. The U.S. is the largest supplier of arms to the Saudi-led coalition.

God, as we thank you for the generosity of donors, we continue to lift prayers for justice and peace for the people of Yemen. As money and weapons are exchanged, we lament the ways in which we are complicit in the dehumanization of these precious lives that will see the violence for which such implements of war were made. We pray for wisdom for leaders, for changes to the status quo, for an end to this conflict, for hope and a future for Yemen.

Share Your Creation-Care Worship Resource

If you enjoy writing and you love God’s creation, consider sharing a worship resource with us! Create a prayer, liturgy, song (text-only or with music), visual, or any creative worship tool as an individual or as a group. The deadline for submissions is Apr. 30, so start writing! Find more information here.

Action Alert from Churches for Middle East Peace

Our denominational partner, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), has issued an action alert on the recent Gaza border protests. Read CMEP’s alert and ask Congress to support the people of Gaza’s right to peaceful protest.