OSJ Prayers: June 27, 2018

Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 vote on Tuesday that the president of the United States has the authority to ban travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries if the president thinks it is necessary to protect the United States. The Trump administration and the courts have been in a volley of rulings and appeals on versions of the travel ban since early last year. Two earlier versions of the Trump travel ban were repealed in lower courts. Because the banned countries are Muslim-majority nations, and after copious statements and tweets from president Trump both during and after his campaign regarding restrictions he intended to place on Muslims, many see the ban as both a violation of religious freedom and a clear example of systemic racism.

For the direction, health, heart, and soul of the United States, Lord, we lift our fervent prayers. For Muslims and for non-Muslims affected by these attitudes and policies — Arabs, Sikhs, people who are seen as “other” in a time when viewing unknown people with suspicion is normative and systemic — we pray for protection, for comfort, for community, for rest. God, empower us to be people who remember that the gospel breaks down dividing walls. It does not build them. It does not support them. It does not let them stand. Call us to this work of the gospel: mutuality, community, love.

Monsoon Season Threatens Rohingya Refugees

In the Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh there has been a desperate effort to prepare for the current cyclone and monsoon season. To date, at least 400 millimeters (15.75 inches) of rain have fallen, leaving the almost 900,000 refugees living in bamboo shelters vulnerable to losing their current homes and livelihoods.

God, we pray for the people in these camps. They must feel desperate, full of dread, without hope. We pray that they might be protected from disaster. We pray that they might be able to survive. We pray that they might have some quality to their lives. We pray that there might be hope — because of policies, laws, relief, attention to their plight, and a recognition of their dignity from people in power.

Many Displaced by Conflict in Cameroon

A deadly conflict in Cameroon sparked by increasing tensions between English- and French-speaking populations has driven tens of thousands of people from their homes. At least 160,000 people are displaced inside Cameroon, and more than 21,000 have fled to Nigeria to escape what has been described by bishops as “blind, inhumane, monstrous violence.”

God, for the people in Cameroon whose lives have been upended and who are desperate for a safe place to go, we offer prayers. It seems that our ability to help is limited, and yet we believe that our prayers matter. God, protect these lives, and please end this violence.

International Investigation on Unrest in Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan government has agreed to an international investigation into protests that have left dozens of people dead since April. Civil unrest began in April over proposed government reforms to the country's social security system and have escalated as protesters demand President Daniel Ortega's resignation, justice for the victims of protest violence, and an end to repression. Ortega's government later revoked the controversial pension reform a few days after protests broke out, but the unrest continues. The Nicaraguan government has said the death toll among protesters is 34, but the Center for Human Rights states that at least 170 people have been killed.

God, we pray for the people who are most vulnerable in Nicaragua — the elderly, the sick, the children, and anyone who cannot protect themselves — people whom you see, whose cries you hear. We pray for the future of Nicaragua, and we ask that you would guide the hearts and minds of the people who are in power now. May your justice, may your will be done in Nicaragua today, God.

Support Rohingya Refugees. Give to World Renew

Monsoon season brings significant concerns for the safety and well-being of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. World Renew is responding to the crisis now. With your support they have already provided 200,000 people with food. Help to continue this response by giving today. Together we can change stories from despair to hope.

Bread for the World: Support a Farm Bill to End Hunger

The farm bill can help put the United States on track to ending food insecurity and hunger in our country and to save millions of lives overseas. To do so, it must be designed with strong and resilient food systems and good nutrition as its top priorities. This week the U.S. Senate will likely vote on its farm bill. This bipartisan legislation would protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and increase access to nutritious food, while also providing funding for international food aid programs. Join Bread for the World in advocating for a Farm Bill to end hunger.