OSJ Prayers: July 6, 2017

U.S. Refugee Ban Goes into Partial Effect

The United States Supreme Court decided that in October it will hear two cases related President Trump’s executive order on refugees, and until then a limited version of the travel and refugee ban will be in effect. Now travel for immigrants and refugees from six Muslim-majority countries will be allowed only for a person who has "any bona fide" relationship with a person or entity in the United States (for example, refugees who have a parent, child, sibling, or spouse already in the U.S.). Many refugees who are fleeing violence and persecution lack such an existing relationship.

God, we lift in prayer all whose futures are now affected by this ban, especially vulnerable women, children, and those in need of life-saving medical care in a safe country. We pray that the church would find its voice to defend the world’s most vulnerable people. We ask for wisdom for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Thousands of people have been killed, and more than a million have been displaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, raising fears that Congo may slide further into anarchy, leading to a repeat of the war that killed 5 million people between 1996 and 2003. Last summer, a regional leader who was opposed to the government was killed by police. Local communities then formed a militia, and the authorities have been battling insurgents ever since. There have been reports of dozens of massacres, ambushes, and attacks on villagers, as well as the discovery of 10 mass graves last week.

God, we pray fervently for all who are displaced, traumatized, injured, or in grief over tremendous loss because of renewed violence in Congo. We pray for Congo’s leaders, especially the president, to act with prudence and wisdom, that they might lead in ways that promote peace and justice. We pray also that global forces may know how to intervene to prevent impending war.

Violence in Venezuela

Venezuela has been in turmoil for months, with regular street demonstrations and at least 90 protest-related deaths since April. This week was particularly chaotic: crowds stormed the National Assembly; the president was accused of swiping powers from one of his highest-profile critics; a rogue policeman launched a helicopter attack on the Supreme Court; and protesters injured lawmakers and journalists at the capitol. Venezuelans struggle to make a living in the face of severe shortages of food, medicine, and other basic supplies.

God, we lift in prayer all who are vulnerable, silenced, sick, poor, and hungry in Venezuela. As clashes between those loyal to the government and those who oppose it continue to boil, we know that real lives are affected. We pray for a way forward, that those in power may be committed to justice, and that hope and a future may emerge for those waiting for peace.

Hundreds of Civilians Flee Mosul

Iraqi military forces continue to battle the remaining ISIS fighters in Mosul. Fighting has caused significant displacement from the city; around 400 civilians fled the Old City area late last week, joining more than 742,000 who have fled Mosul and the surrounding areas since the battle for the city began. It is estimated that 100,000 civilians remain, lacking access to clean water and medicine and having scarce access to food.

God, we pray for so many people trapped in such a dangerous place. We pray for their protection, for safety and peace to be restored, and for an end to the violence in Iraq.

Creation Care Preaching Challenge!

Calling all pastors! Are you looking for resources for preaching on creation care?? We encourage you to participate in the Creation Care Preaching Challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge, discover resources, and learn how you can incorporate creation care into your preaching.

Are you a Justice Seeker in Canada? We Want to Hear From You!

Cindy Stover is the new Justice Mobilizer for Canadian Ministries, and is looking to hear from local leaders about the justice work that is happening in Christian Reformed churches across the country. We invite you to fill out this survey about which areas of justice your church is engaged in, and which resources could benefit you in the future: