OSJ Prayers: September 19, 2018

“The Church is the Church only when it exists for others . . . not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Let us pray to God and continue to advocate on behalf of those to whom we belong!

Officials Fear Worst Yet to Come from Florence Flooding

Officials are planning to airlift food and water to Wilmington, N.C., after the city of nearly 120,000 people became cut off from the rest of North Carolina by rising flood waters from Hurricane Florence this past weekend. In Wilmington, the state’s eighth-largest city, residents waited for hours outside stores and restaurants for necessities such as water. Extreme flooding has isolated the coastal city by blocking all roadways going in or out. Officials believe that Florence, despite leaving over 343,000 North Carolinians without power, for the moment, and leading to at least 17 storm-related deaths, has yet to deliver the worst of its long-term effects by way of rising, widespread floodwaters and additional damage to infrastructure.

God, we lift in prayer the people whose homes have been damaged or destroyed, those who aren’t sure yet what has happened to their homes, those who have lost loved ones, and those who have lost hope. We pray for residents especially imperiled because of poverty, disability, age, or illness. God, for all the helpers, we pray for energy. For those who allocate and spend dollars, we pray for wisdom.

U.S. Institutes Further Cuts to Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Resolution Programs

Earlier this month it was announced that the United States would stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees and their descendants who fled or were expelled from Israel due to the 1948 Palestine War and the 1967 Six Day War — and more cuts are coming. The U.S. has cut additional aid to Palestinians for programs supporting conflict resolution with Israelis. The latest cuts are to programs that support reconciliation work among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, as well as among Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel. On Sunday, a U.S. Embassy official announced the funds would be redirected to programs between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. In recent months, the U.S. has shut down the Palestinian Liberation Organization office in Washington, D.C., cut economic aid to Palestinians in the occupied territories, and scrapped plans to finance hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem.

God, we lament the impact that these cuts will have on vulnerable people. We pray for Palestinians who have been cut off from their homes, their livelihoods, and their dignity — and who now face cuts to the relief measures that have helped to sustain them. God, we pray for steps forward toward peace between Palestine and Israel.

Famine in Yemen

More than five million children are in serious danger of dying from starvation in Yemen, as the war there is now focused on an important port city that serves as a lifeline for goods and aid to 80 percent of the Yemeni people, as well as an entry point for weapons for the rebel army. Since the war began, food and fuel prices have soared, and aid groups are concerned about the renewal of fighting at the port city making the situation even worse — even killing “an entire generation of Yemeni children,” according to Save the Children.

God, we lift our deep concerns for the children of Yemen, and for their parents, their communities, their country. We ask for an end to the violence that has changed their lives. We pray for the much-needed food, medicine, and life-saving goods to come to those who need it. Come quickly in Yemen, Lord.

Proposal for ‘Indefinite Detention’ of Migrant Children Surfaces

The Trump administration is proposing to lift court-imposed limits on how long it can hold children in immigration detention. Under the current rules, immigrant minors can't be held in jail-like settings, and there are sharp limits on how long the government can detain children. With the rule change, the government would be permitted to detain migrant families together for as long as their immigration cases are pending. The proposed regulations would satisfy the "basic purpose" of the 1997 Flores agreement, the administration argues, by making sure that children are treated with "dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors." As of early September, nearly 500 children were still in government-run shelters without their parents.

God, for the children — beloved in your sight — who are incarcerated today without the care of the parents who love them, we offer our sincere prayers for change. We pray for all who care for them, who make decisions about their future, and who pass and uphold laws that determine their treatment and what happens to them. God, we pray for justice for immigrants in the United States.

Ask Parliament to Support the TRC Calls to Action!

Today, far fewer First Nations children graduate from grade 12 than other children in Canada do, because First Nations children aren’t receiving the proper funding and support needed for a quality education. The federal government has promised to implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Now is the time to follow through on those promises!

Host a Church Between Borders Workshop

Church Between Borders takes away the politics and gets at the human and Christian elements of this issue.”

CBB participant, Grand Rapids, MI

Church Between Borders is a three-part interactive workshop that sparks thought and discussion for groups interested in engaging immigration from a biblical perspective. If you have more questions or are eager to get your church signed up, please send us an email at