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OSJ Prayers: December 13, 2017

Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Flare

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last Wednesday to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, protests and demonstrations have broken out in Palestine, across the Middle East, and in other Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia. At least four Palestinians have been killed, while scores of people—mostly Palestinian demonstrators but also some Israeli soldiers—have been injured in clashes. On Saturday, after Hamas militants fired rockets at an Israeli town, the Israeli military carried out airstrikes on Gaza.

God of peace, we pray for peace amid this deep and ongoing conflict. We lament the decisions that have led to injustice in Palestine and Israel. We pray for a way forward so that all the people who call that land home may have the possibility of flourishing.

Millions of Yemenis on Verge of Famine

The United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Yemen has called for “sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access” into Yemen, with 8.4 million Yemenis on the brink of famine and millions more in desperate need of clean water, medical supplies, and basic food aid. A cholera epidemic has also spread, affecting about one million people. The Saudi-led coalition blockading Yemeni ports allowed some humanitarian aid to enter last month amid growing international pressure; last week, U.S. President Trump called on Saudi Arabia to “completely allow” aid to Yemen.

God, for the suffering people of Yemen, we pray for a change. We pray for life-saving aid to come quickly. We pray for the success of international efforts to create change and bring an end to the causes of this suffering. We pray for all who grieve, who are hungry, who are ill, who are fearful for their children. Spare their lives, Lord.

British Columbia to Proceed with Site C Dam

The provincial government of British Columbia has decided to resume work on the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam, despite strong objections from Indigenous peoples, environmental activists, and other parties. Calling it a “difficult decision” and a “divisive issue,” Premier John Horgan said that canceling the project midway through would ultimately cost more money than continuing. Site C will flood 5,500 hectares of the Peace River valley, submerging Indigenous lands and displacing farmers. Several First Nations have pledged to go to court, asserting that Site C violates treaty rights.

God, we lift in prayer the people who are most often marginalized and disempowered—we pray that their needs, their views, and their flourishing may be prioritized by people in power. We pray that we might all be better stewards of your created world, and that we might support policies that protect the land and give dignity to those who live on it.

Wildfires Raze California

The six wildfires ripping through southern California have now claimed more than 257,700 acres and one life. More than 1,000 structures have been destroyed, and 25,000 homes are threatened; over 98,000 residents have been evacuated. The wildfires are expected to burn for at least another two weeks. This year alone, firefighters in California have battled more than 6,700 wildfires. Governor Jerry Brown highlighted climate change as a factor; according to the Actuaries Climate Index, higher temperatures strongly correlate with brush fires—and these extreme temperatures are becoming the “new normal.”

God, we lament this “new normal” and our complicity in it. We pray for the people of California who have lost so much. We pray for wise, quick, effective, and creative responses to and in communities that face more and more disasters like this one. We pray that lives and livelihoods might be spared, that people in power would make wise policy choices that take seriously this threat, and for a global commitment to address the reality of climate change.

Do Justice Reader Survey

Five questions, five minutes (or less). We want to discuss the questions that keep you up at night from a Reformed, justice-seeking perspective. Take the Do Justice reader survey here!

Celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday!

January 21 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, and we are offering resources for your church to honor the day. Join other congregations in commemorating the sanctity of human life at all stages of development. For worship resources—including bulletin inserts, a prayer, and a responsive reading—click here. The deadline for ordering bulletin inserts is Dec. 18.

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