OSJ Prayers: September 27, 2017

Puerto Rico Severely Devastated by Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria was the latest hurricane to sweep across the Caribbean, devastating the island of Puerto Rico on September 20. Maria knocked out the entire power grid, leaving the whole island without electricity, and ruined vast sections of infrastructure. Food and water are in limited supply, and hospitals are at capacity. At least 10 people have been killed as a result of the storm. The rising sea levels and warmer ocean temperatures associated with climate change have produced cause for concern about stronger storm surges and more frequent and intense storms.

God, we lift our prayers for the people of Puerto Rico, who have been devastated by this storm. We pray for those who are most vulnerable, who cannot leave, who have no backup plan, and who need medicine, food, and protection in order to survive. We pray that help would come quickly, that your church would generously support these people in need, and that we might find ways to adapt to this new reality of strong, frequent storms and earnestly address the effects of our changing climate.

Millions Affected by Ongoing War in Syria

Since 2011, the war in Syria has displaced 11.8 million people and killed over 400,000. Today, more than 13.5 million people in the country desperately need humanitarian aid, with limited or no access to clean water, medicine, electricity, and food. In some regions, rebuilding has begun, but the road ahead is bleak: entire cities’ infrastructure have been destroyed; roads and transportation no longer exist; town centers, farms, schools, markets, and universities have been bombed into oblivion.

God of life, we pray for new life in Syria. We pray that safety may emerge there so that people can rebuild and rediscover a hopeful future. We pray for humanitarian aid to come quickly, for protection for those who are desperately in need and for an end to the terror they have experienced. We pray for peace in Syria.

Religious Persecution in Nigeria Continues

Many Christians in Nigeria face continued persecution from militant Islamist tribal groups. While the government has focused on eliminating the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram, Hausa-Fulani herdsmen have carried out armed attacks on Christian villages in the Middle Belt region, destroying churches, homes, shops, and farms. Almost 1,000 Christians have been killed, and more than 20,000 displaced. Nevertheless, there are those working toward peace between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, and the CRC has been involved in this effort through the Wukari Peace Process in Taraba state, located in the Middle Belt area.

Lord, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in Nigeriamany of whom are determined to break new ground in resisting violence and promoting peace. We pray for the success of the Wukari Peace Process, which is one way the CRC has been working toward a path forward for Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. We pray that your Holy Spirit would empower healing from the trauma people have experienced, forge greater unity between tribes and faiths, and create a new community across the divides of culture and beliefs.

Brazilian Government Blocked from Opening Amazon to Mining

In a move applauded by Indigenous people groups and conservation activists, a judge ruled against President Michel Temer’s decree abolishing protections on an area the size of Switzerland and opening it up to industrial-scale mining. The 17,800 square-mile reserve in the heart of the Amazon rainforest is home to several Indigenous tribes—and several illegal mines. Environmental groups have warned that President Temer, who has close ties to the mining and agribusiness industries, will likely try to reintroduce his plan in the near future.

We lift in prayer the president of Brazil; work in him, Lord, that he might lead with dignity and respect for the lives of all who live in his country. We pray for protection from harm for the land and for the people of this region. May our global appetite of consumerism be tempered by our calling to be stewards of the gifts you have given. When we make purchases, may we do so with an awareness of our participation in systems that enhance, or destroy, the flourishing of those you love.

Last Week to Order International Day of Prayer Inserts for Your Church!

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed . . ." (2 Cor. 4:8). Will your church be remembering the persecuted Church this November? The order deadline for free bulletin inserts is Oct. 1. We've also put together a litany, powerpoint, prayer, and other resources to support your church. Get your free bulletin inserts here.

Urgent Appeal for Rohingya Refugees

World Renew is partnering with the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh to provide much-needed food and aid for the more than 400,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled there from Myanmar within the past month. If you would like to donate and support World Renew’s effort, click here.