OSJ Prayers: May 31, 2017

Canada Responds to Humanitarian Crisis in Africa

On March 29, the government of Canada announced a 1:1 match for humanitarian projects responding to famine and extreme food insecurity in countries throughout eastern, central and western Africa. Canadian donations made in response to this crisis between March 17 and June 30 will receive the match. Severe drought and conflict have placed millions at risk of starvation. Famine has already been declared in South Sudan, and several other countries are on the brink of famine. The scale of this crisis is enormous; a United Nations official declared this the “worst humanitarian crisis since 1945.”

God, we thank you for this moment of hope: when the government of Canada is partnering with people of faith and goodwill to respond to this frightening and heartbreaking emergency. We pray for those at risk of death in this region. Give us the courage to to pay attention, to respond, and to advocate for solutions.

Racist Attack in Portland

On Friday, two men were stabbed to death on a Portland, Ore., commuter train while trying to stop a racist attack against two teenagers. The suspect, a 35-year-old white supremacist, was shouting remarks characterized as hate speech when three other passengers tried to calm him down. The suspect stabbed all three of them, killing two and injuring one. He was later arrested and charged with murder. The FBI is looking into whether to charge him with a hate crime.

Lord, we admit that acts like this terrify us. We are overwhelmed by such hate and by the power of white supremacy and racism in our communities. We lift prayers for the grieving families of the peacemaking train passengers who were killed. We pray that their deaths might be a catalyst for something good: give us courage to transform hate into hope, and to learn to root out racism in our own hearts and lives.

Victory for Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

After 40 days of fasting, Palestinian political prisoners have suspended their hunger strike and declared victory. The strike began on April 17, when 1,500 original strikers started fasting to demand better humanitarian treatment, including the restoration of regular family visits, an end to solitary confinement, better medical care, and access to education. The director of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission announced on May 27 that 80 percent of the demands were won after 20 hours of negotiation with the Israeli Prison Service.

God, we thank you for the success of this campaign, and we rejoice that these prisoners will finally be treated with basic human dignity. We pray that all the people of Palestine who are held captive — whether in prisons, or in day-to-day life under Israel’s occupation — might be given freedom. We pray for a true justice and a real peace to come to this region.

War, Contraception, and Risky Births in Sudan

Women and girls living in rebel-held areas of southern Kordofan, Sudan have little or no access to contraception, adequate prenatal care, or emergency obstetric care—leaving them unable to control the number and spacing of their children, and exposing them to serious health complications and sometimes death. Reduced access to health services is one of the many devastating consequences of six years of armed conflict between Sudanese government forces and rebels. Despite many rounds of peace talks since fighting started in Sudan in 2011, the two factions have failed to agree on how to allow aid into the areas most affected.

Lord, we lament the lives lost, born and unborn, and we pray for the living who are suffering so deeply in Sudan. We know each life is beloved by you, and that the brokenness and grief there breaks your heart. Break our hearts too, that the world may not stand idly by while so many people are without hope. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Holy Land Learning Tour

From Aug. 8 through 18, come and meet Christians whose lineage of ancestors living in the Holy Land dates back to the time of Christ. On this 11-day trip, you will not only explore sites you've read about in the Bible but also meet people who are ministering, living, and struggling in this part of the world today.

This trip will be led by CRCNA World Missions in partnership with the Office of Social Justice and Faith Formation Ministries.

Support World Renew’s Famine and Drought Response

World Renew is responding to the growing humanitarian crisis in Africa through their work in South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. They can continue this important work in affected areas with your support. Click here to give. Donations in Canada are eligible for the government of Canada’s matching donation program now through June 30.