20th December 2018
Our prayers will be expressed through the Gospel words about the birth of Jesus, our Saviour.
• The angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, ‘And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.’(Luke 1:31)
The historic renovation of the Church of the Nativity is lifting spirits in the town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of our Lord Jesus. In 2012 the church was declared a World Heritage Site. In 2013, renovation work with Italian experts began on the fabric of the building and the wall and floor mosaics. It is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
· Mary said,” Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Lord, as we remember the birth of our Saviour in Bethlehem we think of the many Palestinian children born in the refugee camps in the occupied territories. We pray for hope and a future for them through a just and equitable peace with Israel. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
During the Great March of Return protests at least 60 Palestinians were injured by live fire from the Israeli military on the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip on Friday, the 14th of December.
• And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:41-42)Lord, we pray for the mothers of Gaza, who see their children injured and crushed by the oppressive conditions of the occupation. We pray that the lands and livelihoods may be restored to the Gazans. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
There has been a spate of deadly incidents across the occupied West Bank this week which has left a number of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers dead. Within a twenty-four-hour period from Thursday until pre-dawn on Friday, the 14th of December, Israeli forces detained over 100 Palestinians.
• And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” (Luke1:46-48)Lord, we are humbled by Mary’s obedience and joy in her worship. Help us to keep our hearts free from anger and bitterness and to be merciful to others. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayers.
In Silwan neighborhood, occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Hashimeh family are now homeless. On Saturday, the 8th of December they were obliged to demolish the building, home to fourteen family members. If they had not demolished the property themselves, they would have been required to pay the municipality for demolition costs.
• Zechariah prophesied, saying, “..the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke1:78-79) Lord Jesus, you are our Saviour and Redeemer. Your light brings us hope where
there is no hope. Help us, Lord, to continue to work for peace and justice where we see inequity. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayers.
During a period of several weeks from November 4th to the 27th Christian Peacemaker Teams documented the escalation in violence conducted by the Israeli military against Palestinian schools and pupils in a portion of the H2 area in al-Khalil/ Hebron. This has included the firing of tear gas and sound grenades directly targeting Palestinian children, school compounds and civilians.
• All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, (which means, God with us). (Matthew1:22-23/Isaiah7:14)Lord Jesus, we are thankful for the Christian Peacemaker Teams and their work to monitor abuse, particularly the abuse of young children. We pray that they will be strengthened by your presence. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayers.
On Saturday, the 15th of December, Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia,
announced that his country would formally recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. However, he stated that he would not move the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem until there was a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine.
• “And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”(Luke 2:7)Lord Jesus, there was only a stable for you when you were born and, as a child you knew what it was like to live as a refugee. Lord, we pray for the people of Palestine that they will be released from the occupation to live peaceful lives. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayers
This week the Kumi Now non-violent initiative looks at the treatment of children in the Israeli military court system. Military Court Watch is a non-profit organization which monitors the abuse and denial of rights to children caught up in this system, focusing particularly on the first 24 hours of arrest when most allegations of abuses take place.
• “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John1:14) Lord, we pray for all those who work for justice and to protect the young and defenseless. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayers.
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of
China, Hong Kong and Macau. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayers.