OSJ Prayers: July 12, 2017

Violence in Chicago over Fourth of July Weekend

Over the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago at least 102 people were shot between Friday and early Wednesday; 15 died, and 87 were wounded. The youngest person shot was 13 years old. Police confiscated 159 guns and stated that many of the shootings appeared to be over petty disputes that escalated into gun violence. The Chicago Police Department states it is conducting a comprehensive review of incidents.

You are a God of promises: of abundance, of flourishing, of justice. We pray for these promises to be visible in Chicago. We pray for parents who are making sacrifices every day for safety and for their kids’ dignity. We pray for pastors who are burying bodies and comforting those in grief. We pray for government — police, elected officials — who use the power of the law. We pray for change — fewer guns, better wages, affordable housing, empowered voices.

Victory Declared in Mosul, but Clashes Continue

On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced victory over the so-called Islamic State in the city of Mosul. Since the announcement, there have been sporadic clashes in the city, and the United Nations states that there are likely hundreds of civilians still trapped in the area. The battle for Mosul has lasted nearly nine months, and it has left large areas in ruins, killed thousands, and displaced more than 920,000 persons.

For the people who are trapped in Mosul, Lord, we lift prayers for protection and for hope. We pray for all who fight in these battles; inspire a new way forward, Lord. All those whom you created have dignity — victims and perpetrators of violence — and we pray that dignity and flourishing might be restored in Iraq.

World Leaders to Meet in December on Climate Issues

French President Emmanuel Macron plans to host a summit on Dec. 12 in order to move the Paris Agreement forward. The final statement from the Group of 20 leaders meeting in Hamburg on Saturday exposed the divide that remains between the United States and other G20 members on the 2015 Paris accord aimed at combating climate change. World leaders are hopeful that the U.S. will reconsider the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

God, we pray for the process in which world leaders are collaborating to address issues that affect all who live on this planet. May your Spirit be present in those negotiations, inspiring ways forward that build community, protect the vulnerable, and promote justice.

Myanmar Army Accused of the Torture and Death of Ethnic Ta’ang Civilians

Myanmar Army soldiers detained and tortured dozens of Ta’ang civilians from a village in northern Shan State last week. Residents of the village later found the dead body of one of the men who had been taken by the military. According to Fortify Rights, Myanmar Army soldiers bound, beat, and threatened civilians with death, accusing them of supporting the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). Soldiers deprived the detainees of adequate food, water, and access to toilet facilities.

For these persecuted people, we lift our prayers. Create a way to safety for them, Lord, whether it is through the refugee resettlement process or another means of protecting the lives of these people, created and beloved by you. We pray that Myanmar would become a place where human rights are upheld.

Save the Date: Restorative Justice Conference in Ottawa, Ontario!

The Church Council on Justice and Corrections is cohosting the 2017 National Restorative Justice Symposium that’s happening in Ottawa, Ont., this fall. Mark your calendars for Nov. 19-21! This year’s theme is “Global Innovation, Local (R)evolution.” You won't want to miss it. Find out more information here.

Urge Congress to Create a Faithful Budget to End Abortion

Recently in the United States, we’ve experienced a decline in abortions.This has a lot to do with increased access to contraceptives and family planning services. Many women receive those services through Medicaid. Every human life, no matter how small, is made in the image of God, and we are called to protect and defend the most vulnerable among us. There are many creative ways to work toward ending abortion. Advocating for adequate funding for Medicaid is one of them. Raise your voice here.