Thursday, January 29, 2009

29/1/09 - English

In this time of turmoil in Gaza and the West Bank, we pray for unity among the Palestinian people. We hope that as political in-fighting and external pressures threaten to split Palestinian society, Palestinians will stand together. We pray that Gazans, residents of the West Bank, Jerusalemites, and Palestinians within Israel will all remain committed to a just peace and to one another.

This winter has been very dry in Palestine and Israel. We pray that water will come to this land before the “rainy” season passes. Without enough rain, this summer will likely see increased tension over access to water lines, springs, and cisterns. As settlements gain control over water resources in the West Bank and Palestinian towns face water shortages, this dry winter threatens to further strain this tense land.

We pray for Sabeel’s Open Forum community program that is being held this week in Jerusalem. The topic is “The Narrow Gate to Peace” led by Rev. Naim Ateek. We pray that this program will be well received and will provide inspiration to the men and women of the Palestinian Christian community.   

We pray for the people of Sri Lanka, where fighting between paramilitary groups and government soldiers has put the civilian population at great risk. Nearly 250,000 people are trapped between rebel and government forces, journalists are regularly attacked, and civilians are mistreated by both sides. We pray that peace may come to the region quickly.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

22/1/09 - English

We thank God for the present cease-fire in Gaza. After 22 days of violence, this tenuous truce is a very welcome development. In the past three weeks, 100,000 people were driven from their homes, fifty United Nations facilities were attacked, 24,000 houses were flattened or damaged, more than 5,300 people were injured, and 1,300 people died. We pray that the lack of electricity, drinking water, and sewage treatment does not lead to public health crises.

We pray for Sabeel’s prayer service for the people of Gaza that will be held this Friday in Haifa. We pray that this will be a hallowed time for commemorating the dead, comforting the living, and petitioning God for a just peace.

We pray that the Gaza cease-fire does not lead to a cessation of international interest in Palestine/Israel. We pray that investigations of alleged war-crimes by the Israeli military take place and that the world helps Gazans rebuild their society and economy. We hope that the world remembers that Gaza is not simply a humanitarian crisis, it is also a crisis of justice. For a lasting peace, Israel must end its siege and occupation of Gaza.

We ask for an end to the cholera epidemic sweeping across Zimbabwe. With 43,000 infected, more than 2,100 dead and a dictator in place that refuses assistance from the outside world, the situation is becoming very desperate. We pray that God will affect change in this country and in the heart of Robert Mugabe.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

15/1/09 - English

As the bombardment of Gaza nears its third week, we pray for comfort and strength for Gazans who live under constant threat of attack. We ask God for healing for the more than 4,200 people who have been injured and for comfort for the friends and families of the 930 dead. We pray that Israel will cease using illegal weapons that only add to the pain and human suffering of this tragedy. We hope that Israel will stop this brutal assault immediately.

We thank God for bringing the Christian community of Nazareth together in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Gaza. Five hundred people gathered at Sabeel’s prayer service at the Maronite Church in Nazareth on Sunday to pray for the situation in Gaza. We are grateful for the generous contribution that were made for families in Gaza.

We pray that God will grant Barack Obama wisdom and a heart for merciful justice as he assumes the Presidency of the United States on January 20. We hope that President Obama will remember the “least of these” when making decisions of global importance.

We ask for guidance and discernment for Sabeel’s staff and board as they make plans for the coming year. We pray that they may find clarity of vision as they seek to understand how best to spend their time and resources in the service of community and in working for a just peace.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

8/1/09 - English

We remember the people of Gaza in our prayers. With the new Israeli ground offensives and sustained aerial, naval, and artillery bombardments, the number of casualties has reached nearly 3,700, including 763 dead. We pray for healing for the injured and solace for the families of the dead. Additionally, we pray for strength and comfort for the 1.5 million Gazans suffering from limited water, food, electricity, fuel, sanitation, and medical supplies.

We pray that the United Nations and other global leaders will not simply stop with words of condemnation of the situation in Gaza, but that they will also take action to relieve suffering and bring about peace. We are sorrowful that the United States blocked a Security Council statement calling for an immediate ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. But we thank God that the UN has called an emergency general session to discuss Gaza.

We pray for the Christian community in Gaza. This community of 2000 has experienced significant losses in the past 12 days and church buildings have also sustained damage. We ask for God’s hand of protection on this small group and pray that they might live in harmony with their Muslim neighbors.

We pray that Palestinians can put aside their differences and be united in their rejection of Israel’s actions in Gaza. We pray that Palestinians and friends of Palestinians will raise a powerful voice here and around the world in nonviolent opposition to the ongoing catastrophe. 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

1/1/09 - English

We bring the situation in Gaza to the Lord in prayer. We pray for healing for the 1700 people injured in the assault, for comfort for the families of the 363 people killed, and for strength for the people who continue to face violence. We pray that Israel will stop its ruthless bombardment, that Hamas will refrain from retaliating violently, and that justice will prevail. We pray that expressions of solidarity in the West Bank and around the world will be well attended and remain peaceful.

We pray that the prayer service for Gaza called for by Sabeel and the National Coalition of Christian Organizations will be a sacred time for remembrance, comfort, and prayer. We pray that this gathering of Christians from all traditions on Sunday, January 4 at 5:00pm will be a powerful expression of unity and solidarity with the people of Gaza.

We pray that Friends of Sabeel around the globe will find meaningful ways of sharing with the world what is happening in Gaza. We pray for their courage to speak the truth in spite of popular misconceptions. We hope that the latest Sabeel statement on the situation [available on Sabeel’s website] will prove valuable.

We pray that the international community will pressure the Israeli government, Hamas, and other groups in power to bring a swift end to the current violence in Gaza. We praise God for the United Nations’ and other global leaders’ condemnations of the attack and hope that these statements will help lead to peace. We pray that this new year will see an international community committed to justice.