OSJ Prayers | February 2017

OSJ Prayers: February 24, 2017

DACA Recipient Detained

In Washington state, a young man who was protected from deportation under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has lost his protection and is in deportation proceedings after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents claimed he was gang affiliated. His lawyers claim that this is false, and they allege that ICE agents repeatedly pressured him to falsely admit to gang affiliation.

God, we pray for young men of color in the United States who can name the ways that they have been discriminated against because powerful people insist they are dangerous, criminal, or violent. We pray for this DACA recipient and for his family. We lament over the ways that the news of his deportation has struck fear in the hearts of young immigrants all over the United States. We pray for the passage of new laws that will treat immigrants with dignity and leave no one vulnerable to exploitation and injustice.

Famine Declared in South Sudan

The United Nations announced on Monday that war and a collapsing economy have sparked a famine in South Sudan, leaving millions of people in urgent need of food. Three years ago, an ethnic conflict erupted, killing tens of thousands, forcings millions to flee, and hindering the delivery of aid. Malnutrition rates are above emergency levels, and many have died of hunger.

God, we lift our prayers for the people of South Sudan. We pray for the children, women, and men, all made in your image, who are dying. We pray for peace. We pray for aid. We pray for a compassionate response from wealthy nations. We pray for an end to this famine.

Supreme Court Orders New Hearing for Texas Inmate

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a new court hearing for a black Texas prison inmate, Duane Buck, who claims that improper testimony about his race tainted his death sentence. The justices voted in favor of Mr. Buck. He had tried for years to get federal courts to look at his claim that his rights had been violated when jurors were told by a defense expert witness that Buck was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he was black.

Lord, we thank you for the good news that Mr. Buck will receive a new court hearing. We pray for justice to be done. We pray that his livelihood and community relationships may be restored. We pray for an end to the death penalty, which does not restore. We pray for an end to racism in the criminal justice system, which has taken the lives and dignity of so many people of color in the U.S.

74 Found Dead on Libya’s Western Shore

This week the bodies of 74 refugees were found on the Mediterranean shore of Zawiya, Libya. Migrant deaths have risen to record levels on the route from Libya to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea. Since the beginning of 2017, an estimated 230 people have died while risking the dangerous trip. More that 4,500 people died attempting the crossing last year.

God, for migrants and refugees seeking freedom and hope, we lift our prayers again. Make us mindful always of our call to extend hospitality to the stranger. We pray for hope in a world that increasingly is closing its doors to the plight of refugees. Bless all who welcome others. May we be people who are welcoming.

Restorative Justice Event in Holland, Michigan!

West Michigan! The Saint Benedict Institute, in partnership with Hope College, Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, and the Calvin Prison Initiative, is hosting “Hope for Restoration: Radical Hospitality and Prison Reform,” a day-long conference on restorative justice, on Saturday, Mar. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Maas Conference Center at Hope College, Holland, Mich. To register and learn more, click here.

Resource: A Lenten Journey of Confession
and Action

Often when we think about a Lenten spiritual discipline, we think of giving something up. But the purpose of a Lenten spiritual discipline—to grow closer to God—also allows us to take this time to intentionally and regularly practice an action that can become a discipline in our lives. This year we want to invite you to practice confession, lament, and doing justice during Lent. This resource will take you through each week of Lent, providing you with ideas for reflection, opportunities for confession, and ways to do justice.