OSJ Prayers: May 17, 2017

Dangerous Border Crossing Has Taken 6,000+ Lives

From October 2000 through September 2016, at least 6,023 people died attempting to cross the United States’ southern border into Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. That exceeds the number of people who died in the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina combined. One sheriff in Texas estimates that for every one body that is found, there are likely five others that go unreported.

God of hope, we pray for all who leave home and risk a dangerous journey that they hope will end in safety and flourishing. We pray for the family members and friends they leave behind — especially those who never again hear what happened to their loved one. We pray for the development of laws that are fair, that honor human dignity, and that aim to protect life.

Ongoing Protests in Venezuela

At least one person has died in renewed violence in Venezuela, as thousands of opponents of President Nicolás Maduro staged sit-ins and roadblocks across the country in a seventh week of antigovernment rallies. Luis Alviarez, 18, was killed during protests in the western state of Tachira. Since the start of the protests, at least 39 people have died.

For the people of Venezuela, we lift our prayers, Lord. We pray for good governance and transparency and democracy. We pray for the safety of people who are protesting. We pray for those who are grieving the death of a loved one, and for those who are vulnerable and afraid in the midst of this violence.

82 Chibok Schoolgirls Returned

Last week 82 Chibok schoolgirls were released from Boko Haram captivity. In return, as part of a deal, the Nigerian government released five Boko Haram commanders. In April 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped from a Chibok boarding school by Boko Haram. Today 100 of those girls remain captive  while the government continues to negotiate for their freedom.

God, we give thanks for the release of these 82 girls — finally. We pray now for them as they attempt to begin a new life; we pray that they will find resources to help heal their trauma. We pray for those who are still being held — how long, O Lord? We pray for women and girls all over the world who are victimized by violence.

Torture by Police in Pakistan Condemned by United Nations

In a report released on Friday, the United Nations Committee Against Torture condemned the widespread practice of torture in Pakistan by the police, military, and intelligence agencies. The committee voiced its concerns over the significant number of cases of police or military involved extrajudicial executions involving torture and enforced disappearances. The report urges Pakistan to implement policing reforms and to incorporate a specific definition of torture in its legislation.

We pray, Lord, for those who are tortured, intimidated, or persecuted in Pakistan. We pray that the exposure of these practices would create pressure for Pakistan to change. We pray for those who participate in torture — heal and restore their hearts too. We look forward to a world where violence is no more; let it begin with us.

Become a Blessing Not Burden Partner!

Are you interested in helping your congregation learn more about immigration, integrating the topic of immigration into worship, speaking to public officials about common-sense immigration policy, and connecting church members to local organizations working with immigrants? Find two friends and become Blessing Not Burden Partners! Click here to learn more.

Join with Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) to Advocate for Gazans!

During the 2014 Gaza war the local power plant was severely damaged, and today Gazans face up to 21 hours without electricity every day. Destruction of water purification plants has made 95 percent of available water undrinkable. Tell Congress, “Gazans need clean water and reliable electricity!” Take Action Here. For more on CMEP’s position on Gaza and to learn about their Lenten campaign, see