OSJ Prayers: January 3, 2018

ISIS Attacks Claim at Least 50 Lives

A deadly suicide bombing at a Shiite cultural center in Kabul, Afghanistan, last Thursday killed 41 people and injured dozens more. This was the latest in more than a dozen mass-casualty attacks against Shiites since January 2016.

The following day, a shooting at the Church of the Martyr Marmina in Helwan, Egypt, left at least nine people dead, including several parishioners and a police officer. The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for both the attacks in Kabul and Helwan. That same day, a Christian-owned appliance shop in Helwan was also attacked, and the owner’s two sons were killed.

God, we pray for all who are grieving, both in Afghanistan and in Egypt. We pray that all who have been injured will recover. We join the prayers of our Christian family worldwide for comfort and protection over the church and for all who are targeted by such attacks. We pray also for the ones who perpetrate this violence—for justice, for repentance, for new life, Lord.

Deadly Protests in Honduras, Iran, and the DRC

Post-election violence in Honduras claimed at least 31 lives as people took to the streets to protest alleged election rigging. According to a human rights group, the Honduran military police are responsible for the deaths of at least 21 people. The U.S.-backed government has rejected a request to investigate alleged abuses and has downplayed the deaths.

Meanwhile, clashes between protesters and security forces in Iran have claimed the lives of at least 22 people, while more than 450 demonstrators have been arrested. The protests began last Thursday and have since spread to 25 cities over widespread dissatisfaction with the country’s struggling economy and government policies.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 12 people were killed in protests calling for the president to honor an agreement to hold elections. Scores more were injured after police and military forces shot live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber bullets at protesters. More than 120 people were arrested.

For people struggling for transparency and fairness, rule of law and equal rights, we lift our prayers, Lord. All people should have the opportunity to live in dignity, to meet their needs, and to feel safe. We pray for Honduras, Iran, and the DRC—that peace may come because of the presence of true justice. Give wisdom and guidance to the people in power, those struggling for power, and those robbed of power.

Canada Proposes New Funding Agreements with First Nations

In seeking a “new respectful nation-to-nation relationship” with First Nations, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott plans to revamp the current funding system and place more responsibility on First Nations to “report directly to their citizens.” Included in the proposed transfer-style agreements are plans to allow First Nations to receive 10-year government funding for various initiatives such as education and housing, rather than the current annual allotment.

God, we lift in prayer the First Nations people of Canada. We lament the injustices they have suffered and the barriers to flourishing that still exist. We pray that this new approach will lead to greater justice and wholeness for First Nations people. We pray for wisdom, oversight, and integrity for all who lead.

January Series at Calvin College

Calvin College’s annual January Series begins today and will run every weekday through Jan. 23. Featuring speakers from diverse backgrounds and professions, the free lectures will take place at 12:30 p.m. EST. Listen to the speakers live, or learn more here.

Support TPS for Salvadorans!

The government of the United States offers Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to immigrants from countries facing severe, extraordinary conditions, such as famines or earthquakes. On Jan. 8, the Department of Homeland Security will announce its decision on the status of El Salvador’s 195,000 TPS-holders in the U.S. Ask Congress to support TPS!