OSJ Prayers: October 4, 2017

Shooter Kills 58, Injures More than 500 in Deadly Las Vegas Act of Terror

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old Nevada resident, opened fire on concertgoers attending a music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 500 others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. For nearly 11 minutes, Paddock shot repeatedly at the crowd from the 32nd floor of a hotel overlooking the concert venue; in his suite, officials identified several assault rifles among the 23 firearms found. Paddock killed himself moments before a SWAT team entered his room.

God of peace, we lift up to you the families and friends grieving the loss of life to this violence. We lift up the many people who were injured—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And we pray that we as your people would turn away from the violent inclinations of our hearts and minds, and toward forwarding your plans for peace in our world.

Man Injures Police Officer and Four Civilians in Edmonton Attacks

In Edmonton, Alta., a man has been arrested after stabbing a police officer and deliberately hitting four pedestrians with his van in two separate incidents on Saturday night. The suspect fled after stabbing the officer, prompting a manhunt. A checkpoint stop several hours later alerted police to his name, leading to a high-speed chase through a busy section of Edmonton, during which the man hit four people with his van. Police are investigating the motive behind his attacks.

God of justice, we pray for the people affected by the violence in Edmonton on Saturday. We ask that you bring healing to the injured and grace to the first responders. Alleviate the fears of Edmonton residents so that this event will not breed suspicion or hate, but serve as an opportunity for Christians to show the love of Christ in tangible ways.

Political and Economic Crisis in Venezuela Worsens

The worsening political and economic crisis in Venezuela has led to 25,000 Venezuelans crossing the border into Colombia every day, seeking everything from infant vaccinations to food supplies, before returning home. In addition, more than 300,000 Venezuelans have already permanently left their homes in hopes of a better future in Colombia. With Venezuela facing triple-digit inflation, the economy has all but collapsed: Staple goods are scarce and exorbitantly priced, medicine is largely unavailable, and unemployment is close to 25 percent.

God of light, we know that in you there is no darkness. We carry before you the crisis in Venezuela right now and its impact on neighboring Colombia. God, shine your light on the governing powers in Venezuela. Dispel the darkness of greed, and bring corruption to light. Empower your people to stand where you stand: against injustice and with the wronged.

Airstrikes Target Hospitals in Syria

Four hospitals in Idlib, Syria, were bombed by airstrikes in the past week, and another was damaged after a neighboring apartment building was bombed. Two other hospitals were evacuated. The United Nations has decried the attacks as a systematic attempt by the government to target medical facilities. Doctors and aid officials have voiced despair at the lack of protection offered to civilians: In the past week, 61 civilians were killed, and 241 others were wounded amid government-ordered retaliatory airstrikes on civilians as part of its offensive on rebels in the area.

Triune God, you care for the church through your Word and Spirit. As part of your universal body, we pray for our sisters and brothers in Syria right now. The Church there is struggling to serve as your hands and feet in war-torn communities while they themselves are suffering. Grant them your protection, and help us to show them that they are not forgotten.

Ten Ways to Make Your Church a Safer Place

Safe Church Ministry and Faith Formation Ministries have partnered to develop a helpful guide for congregations interested in making their churches safer. The Ten Ways toolkit offers practical action steps that congregations can adopt.

‘For Such a Time as This’

Calling all musicians, worship leaders and planners, preachers, artists, justice workers . . . and anyone else! Join us Oct. 21 at First CRC Toronto, Ont., as we are re-storied together, inspired for service, and knit together in community. This event is organized by CRC Worship Ministries, the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue, the Institute for Christian Studies, and First CRC Toronto. Register here.