Praying for Palestinian Justice

The Wave of Prayer ministry enables local and international friends of Sabeel to pray over regional concerns on a weekly basis. Sent to Sabeel’s network of supporters, the prayer is used in services around the world and during Sabeel’s Thursday Communion service; as each community in its respective time zone lifts these concerns in prayer at noon every Thursday, this ‘wave of prayer’ washes over the world.
 
Sabeel Wave of Prayer – Thursday 31st May 2018
During the ninth consecutive week of the ‘Great March of Return’ more than 100 Palestinians, including seven children were wounded by Israeli snipers along the border in Gaza. There is a desperate shortage of drugs and medication for the treatment of the wounded in Gaza as a result of the ten year Israeli blockade.
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Lord, we continue to pray for the safety of the Palestinian protesters and their commitment to non-violence. Dear God, we pray that those who have been injured in the protest may soon recover and that the families who are grieving for their loved ones may find solace.
Lord in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer.
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The Israeli Knesset has proposed a new bill which would make it a criminal act to film or photograph an Israeli soldier on active duty. The bill is supported by the right-wing Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and if passed, those found in violation of the law could face a prison sentence of up to five years. Palestinian journalists view the law as an attempt by the Israeli government to ‘escape punishment and international justice’.
Lord, we pray for the safety of all people who risk their lives to document the human rights violations of the powerful. We pray that journalists may still be able to report the truth of all they witness in the occupied territories.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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Last Friday, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition from six human rights groups to declare that ‘the Israeli military’s regulations that allow soldiers to open fire at unarmed civilians is unlawful’.
Lord, we continue to depend on your mercy and justice as Israel validates the use of violence against Palestinians through legislative means. We pray for the protection of those who exercise their right to protest against the occupation.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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On Thursday, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Defence Minister, said in a statement that he plans to seek approval for the construction of 2,500 Israeli settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
Lord, the Israeli government continues to demolish the homes of Palestinians and ruin their crops as well as appropriating their land to build illegal settlements for Israelis. We pray that the international community would undertake to hold the Israeli government to account for flouting international law. We ask that due process would be brought to bear on any attempts to colonize the West Bank.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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Last Sunday, May 20th, the Palestinian residents of the village of al-Aqaba received demolition orders from the Israeli forces. They were informed that twenty homes would be demolished within a period of sixty days as they were alleged to have been built without the requisite Israeli construction permits.
Over the weekend, Israeli settlers raided Palestinian vineyards in the Hebron area and used electric saws to cut down over 1700 vines. The settlers also spray-painted threats on the walls around the vineyards.
Lord, Palestinians continue to fall victim to the policies of the Israeli army and politicians. We pray for the safety of Palestinian villages and for renewed strength for the farmers who have lost their vines just months before the grape-harvest. Have mercy on the Palestinian people Lord, as they grow weary.
Lord in you mercy . . .
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Three toddlers were found dead in the Palestinian town of Bethany east of Jerusalem. Initial investigation by the police shows that the three children, two sisters and a friend, trapped themselves in an abandoned car while playing and died as a result of suffocation during a heat wave.
Lord, we pray for the families of Youssef, Raneem and Rahaf as they mourn the deaths of their beloved children and ask that they would find comfort in their grief.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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A Palestinian teenager died on Wednesday after succumbing to wounds sustained during protests in Ramallah.  Adi Abu Khalil was only fifteen years old when shot in the stomach by an Israeli soldier last week.
Lord, the Israeli occupation continues to target Palestinian children and teenagers. We pray for your spirit to comfort the family of Adi as they grieve for their loss. We pray that soldiers firing live ammunition at children would, one day, be held accountable for their action.
Lord in your mercy . . .
Monkey Mind

Monkey Mind

Does your mind leap from one thing to another?

Has your mind made yet another leap since you started reading?

Have you often found yourself restless in prayer?

Not quite like going cold-turkey from a busy life, but not far off either!

 

Is it a triumph when concentration exceeds 20 seconds?

Do the thoughts of what needs doing cruise through your mind like an F1 racing car?

Or do they meandre like a cow slowly chewing the cud?

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Our Warring Madness – a poem for Good Friday

Our Warring Madness – a poem for Good Friday

God of grace and God of glory,
on your people pour your power;
crown your ancient church’s story,
bring its bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the facing of this hour,
for the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil round us
scorn the Christ, assail his ways!
From the fears that long have bound us
free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the living of these days,
for the living of these days.

Cure your children’s warring madness;
bend our pride to your control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
lest we miss your kingdom’s goal,
lest we miss your kingdom’s goal.

Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore;
let the gift of your salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving you whom we adore,
serving you whom we adore.

Written by Harry Fosdick in 1930 (italics mine)

I bought his book The Meaning of Prayer when I read that Eugene Peterson had been deeply influenced by him and his devotional/prayer life.

I’m posting this because we all need help!

The Preface states our perennial human problem:

“This little book is written in the hope that it may help to clarify a subject which is puzzling many minds.  Prayer is the soul of religion, and failure there is not a superficial lack for the supply of which the spiritual life leisurely can wait.  Failure in prayer is the loss of religion itself in its inward and dynamic aspect of fellowship with the Eternal.  Only a theoretical deity is left to any [person] who has ceased to commune with God, and a theoretical deity saves no [person] from sin and disheartenment and fills no life with a sense of divine commission.  Such vital consequences require a living God who actually deals with people.”

Baby Dedication

Baby Dedication

Our Father,

We lift baby Faye to you now,

In your presence and in the presence of your people.

 

We pray your divine ‘Yes’ over this beloved child’s life.

We pray for your purposes to be fulfilled in her life.

We pray, in anticipation of her responding to your love in Jesus Christ.

And dedicate her now in the hope of her baptism in years to come.

 

You have made her in your image.

She is a child of God.

And so she is loved from before the foundation of the world.

We pray on her behalf that in time and beyond, she will recognise her need of you, Father God.

 

We pray that you will not allow her to live cheaply towards you.

We entrust her to you Father.

That you would make her heart restless until it rests in you.

 

Enfold her family we pray Lord.

That they would be protected in Christ;

So that they would live for Christ.

Make theirs a happy home; a happy marriage; a happy family.

Teach them Father, to make Christ central in everything.

 

So, Faye,

I bless you in the Name of Holy Triune Name of God:

God the Father,

God the Son,

and God the Holy Spirit.

 

To live a fruitful, joyful, hopeful life in Christ.

Abide in Him little one,

Seek first His glorious Kingdom,

And everything in life shall be added unto you.

 

In the presence of God, and of his people in this church:

All God’s people said:  “Amen!”

Amen and amen.

babyfaye

This is my granddaughter Faye in 2013

How do you pray?

Martin Luther was taking a break from the Reformation (like you do) and decided to get his hair cut.  His barber asked him a question whilst he sat there under the blade, “How do you pray?”  – the great reformer wrote a forty page response to his ‘lowly’ questioner.

Here’s a snippet:

barber“A good clever barber must have his thoughts, mind and eyes concentrated upon his razor and the beard and not forget where he is in his stroke and shave.  If he keeps talking or looking around or thinking of something else (however important), he is likely to cut a man’s nose or mouth or throat.  So anything that is to be done well ought to occupy the whole man with all his faculties and members.  As the saying goes:  he who thinks of many things thinks of nothing and accomplishes no good.  How much more must prayer possess the heart exclusively and completely if it is to be good prayer?”

This is good advice to us in our short attention span age, distracted from one second to the next with all manner of things that will keep us from Christian basics, such as prayer.  Prayer that “occupies the whole [person]” is a challenge that people who call themselves “Christians” must surely wrestle with.  Multi-tasking is not a virtue, even though our culture tells us it is.

I know I need this advice.  I know we likely all do.

 

(Picture: ‘Barbier Deutschland “Hofampterspiel” for King Ladislas “Posthumus”, c. 1455)

Mission Impossible! a comment on the current escalation in Israel/Palestine violence

The following is a note by the President of Bethlehem Bible College, Jack Sara, on the current troubles engulfing the West Bank and Gaza.  It was published on the excellent ‘Come and See – a Christian web site from Nazareth‘.

This post is re-printed here with the personal permission of Jack, a faithful Christian, a fearless advocate of biblical truth and justice, a Palestinian, and a friend.  I will never forget our conversation over breakfast a couple of years ago!!

Mission Impossible! By Jack Sara

By: Bader Mansour

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