OSJ Prayers: August 9, 2017

Montreal Olympic Stadium Opened for Asylum Seekers from the United States

To accommodate a surge of asylum seekers coming from the United States to Quebec, a temporary welcome center has been opened at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. More than 4,000 asylum seekers – many of them fearful of unfriendly rhetoric and policy proposals concerning immigrants – have entered Canada at remote, unguarded locations along the border since the beginning of this year.

God of welcome, may we be people who offer welcome, shelter, and sacrificial love to those who need it most. We pray for an end to xenophobia and hateful speech. We pray for policies that prioritize families, the poor, and people who have no safety.

Pastor Held in Eritrean Prison for 13 Years

Dr. Kiflu Gebremeskel, chair of the Eritrean Evangelical Alliance and a leading figure in the Full Gospel Church, has been imprisoned since May 2004. He was arrested in an early-morning raid on his home. He has never been charged with a crime or brought before a court. His wife and four children have not been able to visit him since his arrest. It is believed that Dr. Kiflu has been held in prison with other leading Christian pastors who were arrested around the same time.

God, as we remember the persecuted church in the world, we pray today for Eritrea and for Pastor Kiflu. We pray for our brothers and sisters who cannot bear witness to the gospel without consequence, who are experiencing violence or captivity because of their faith. Draw near to them and help us to know how to speak out for justice and freedom for your church.

Election in Kenya

One of Kenya’s presidential candidates, Raila Odinga, believes the election system has been hacked in order to manipulate the results. Early results from the vote on Tuesday indicated a strong lead for current president Uhuru Kenyatta. While Kenya’s election chief will begin an investigation, many fear a repeat of the violence after a disputed election 10 years ago, when more than 1,100 Kenyans died and 600,000 were displaced.

God, we pray for Kenya — for transparency and good governance, for peace that comes with an assurance of justice. We pray especially for citizens who are most vulnerable to the threats of violence: women and children, people who are poor, and those with disabilities.

Major U.S. Climate Report Presented by Government Scientists

A major report on climate change by government scientists was leaked this week — it concluded Americans are already seeing the effects of climate change, which is largely caused by humans. The report awaits the approval of the Trump administration, and many speculate the leak was intended to guard against the administration’s changing or burying it. Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a prominent climate scientist and devout evangelical Christian, was the only scientist affiliated with the report to go on the record in the New York Times story about the report’s contents.

God, we pray for wisdom, stamina, and a clear sense of calling and protection to surround Dr. Hayhoe and the other scientists who contributed to this climate report. We pray that each of us would have the courage to speak truth, even when it is not popular. We pray for leaders in the U.S. to take seriously, and deal swiftly, with matters that affect creation, vulnerable people, and justice.

U.S. Advocates: Tell Congress to Oppose the RAISE Act!

Alarming anti-immigrant legislation that runs contrary to biblical values was endorsed by the U.S. president, and now is the time to speak. The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act aims to reduce legal immigration by 50-70 percent. This would negatively affect all of us by harming the economy, social fabric, and moral character of the U.S. Tell Congress to oppose this bill today!

So You’re Going to the Holy Land?

Read this intro to a mini-series from Rev. Bill Vanden Bosch, with his thoughts on holy land tours—particularly on the different kinds of tours and what kinds of questions to ask when looking into a tour. Watch the blog for more!