OSJ Prayers: October 25, 2017

Democratic Republic of Congo Violence Creates Refugees, Kills Others

Ethnic and political conflict have fueled widespread unrest and violence in the southeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, estimates that the violence has forced 428,000 Congolese to leave their homes in the past three months alone, raising the number of internally displaced people to 3.9 million. About 100,000 others have fled to neighboring countries as refugees. Meanwhile, at least 39 Burundian refugees in the DRC were killed in a protest last month when soldiers opened fire on them, and nearly 100 others were wounded.

God, we pray for an end to the violence and unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We pray for all who are suffering because of it—people who have lost their homes and families, who face an uncertain future, and who are full of grief. Give them hope, Lord.

Changing Climate Has Lethal Effects in U.S. Prisons

Soaring temperatures have resulted in some inmates literally dying of heat in prisons across the United States. Unable to leave their cells, prisoners have had to endure temperatures over 100 degrees—at times, indexing to 150 degrees, when accounting for humidity—for days on end without air-conditioning. While some states have made provisions to mitigate excessive heat, others have simply refused to do so, leaving family members and advocates worried as climate experts predict that extreme heat waves will soon occur with more regularity.

God, we remember all who are in prison—human beings, created in your image. We pray that they would be treated with dignity and their rights respected. We pray for an end to such abuse, and for strong oversight in prisons to guard against this and other atrocities.

Canadian Government Underfunded First Nations Child Health Care

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled last year that the federal government discriminated against First Nations by underfunding services on reserves, including serious shortfalls in child health care. Recently released documents show that Health Canada knew of the disparity between health services available to on-reserve First Nations children and children elsewhere. In many cases, the lack of services forced parents to turn their children over to the child welfare system to receive a “basic level of care.” The newly formed Indigenous Services agency is working on improving the system.

God, our hearts ache for these children. Empower your church to know how to advocate on their behalf so that all people in Canada may receive equal treatment and the services they need. We pray also for Indigenous peoples all over the world who must fight for their basic rights.

Malaysia Launches Inquiry into Case of Missing Pastors and Others

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has opened an inquiry into the case of Pastor Raymond Koh, who was abducted in February of this year from his car. The 62-year-old pastor has not been heard from since then. SUHAKAM is also looking at the disappearances of three others last year: social activist Amri Che Mat, who was abducted last November; and another pastor, Joshua Hilmi, and his wife, Ruth Sitepu, who both disappeared a week after Che Mat.

God, we pray for the safe return of these pastors and leaders, and that they may be protected from harm. We also remember all those around the world who are persecuted and abused because of their faith, their political views, or their advocacy for human rights. Draw near to them, Lord.

Syrian Civilians Continue to Suffer Severe Food Crisis

Food shortages in Syria caused by blockades, infighting, and supply hoarding have exacerbated a dire crisis, with dozens of cases of malnutrition and thousands of children at risk of starvation. Clinics and hospitals report new mothers being unable to breastfeed their babies because they themselves are undernourished, and supplies such as baby milk powder are virtually non-existent. Approximately 3.5 million Syrians live in besieged or isolated areas, with the majority in places blockaded by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s military forces.

For the people who are suffering in Syria, we lift prayers for hope, healing, and a future. Lord, please block and eliminate all evil plans, and use the people who have power to restore peace and flourishing in Syria. We pray for all who grieve, who suffer, and who face uncertain futures as we wait, Lord.

Calling Faith Leaders in West Michigan: Support the Dream Act!

If you’re a faith leader in West Michigan, please consider signing this letter to Rep. Amash or this one to Rep. Huizenga, urging them to support the Dream Act—legislation that would provide a long-term solution for undocumented youth in our communities.

Support World Renew’s Hurricane-Relief Efforts

World Renew’s Disaster Response Services (DRS) teams are helping residents affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria—many of whom have lost their entire homes and all their belongings. Please prayerfully consider supporting World Renew in this effort by either donating or volunteering (opportunity in Houston, Tex.).