Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Wave of Prayer – Thurs 20th Feb 2020

This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of the Regional Council of the Palestinian Unrecognised Bedouin Villages (RCUV). The RCUV seeks to provide representation for Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Naqab. The Palestinian Arab citizens in these villages have no legal recognition in the Israeli state and no access to municipal services, like water or electricity. They wish to continue to follow their traditional way of life, rearing livestock and farming. Bedouin villagers, like those in al-Araqib, live under constant threat of demolition. The Israeli government wants to relocate them to urban centres without regard for their rural way of life.

  • Lord, we pray for the work of the RCUV as they seek to protect those who have no rights in their own land. We pray that the way of life of the Bedouin people would be respected and that they would be left to farm in their traditional ways. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The UN Human Rights Office has issued a report on the companies which are profiting from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The report names 112 businesses which have been involved with establishing the settlements, including Airbnb, booking.com, the Expedia Group and Motorola Solutions. There are now about 600,000 Israelis living in around 140 illegal settlements, built since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.

  • Dear Lord, we pray that the businesses named in the UN report will review how they are gaining profit from their links with Jewish settlements, which are considered illegal under international law. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Following a decision by the Israeli government to ban Palestinian exports of agricultural produce through Jordan, the Head of Mission of the Office of the Quartet, Dr John Clarke, stated that the Quartet would intervene in the decision to ban Palestinian exports of agricultural products and appeal to the Israeli government to lift this restriction. The Quartet on the Middle East is a group of international entities involved in mediating the Israeli/Palestinian peace process.

  • Dear Lord, we pray that attempts by the Israeli government to choke the Palestinian economy would meet a strong intervention and practical action from the international community. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Tuesday, the 11th of February, vandals slashed the tyres of dozens of vehicles in the Arab village of Jish in Northern Israel and spray-painted slogans on buildings warning of ‘Jewish-Arab assimilation’. Police are treating it as another attack by the so called ‘Price Tag’ organisation of hard-right Israelis, which has carried out similar attacks against Arabs in recent years.

  • Lord, we pray for the Arab communities living in fear of these hate crimes. We pray that the police authorities will prosecute offenders and protect vulnerable communities. We pray that Israeli and Arab communities will live respectfully and peaceably in their shared land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Monday, the 10th of February, Sabeel published its new edition of Cornerstone entitled Theologies of Palestine. In this edition there are a number of interviews with Palestinian theologians from different denominations which explore their theology, how it deals with Christian Zionism, and their hopes for the future.

  • Oh Lord, you are compassionate and merciful. We thank you for the desire to reach a deeper understanding of one another and how we reflect your glory and build your church where we live. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Nadia Habash, a lecturer at Birzeit University, has been named by the Middle East Architect magazine as one of the fifty most influential architects in the region. She described her work as part of a ‘national struggle to preserve the architectural heritage in Palestine’.

  • Lord, we thank you for the gifts you give to architects like Nadia. We thank you that she has been able to celebrate and cherish her Palestinian heritage in an occupied land where there is so much destruction. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of France, Germany and Monaco. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Wave of Prayer – Thursday 13th February

This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of the Mossawa Centre in Haifa. This non-governmental organisation works to protect the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel. In Arabic ‘mossawa’ means equality. The organisation works hard to monitor government budgets in Israel and prepares reports exposing discrimination against Arabs in the way services are financed.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for all organisations focused on justice and equality for all communities in Israel. We pray that the Israeli Knesset will listen to requests for a more just distribution of resources to the Palestinian Arab citizens living in Israel. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Two young Palestinians were killed by Israeli live fire over the past week. During a demonstration in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the 6th of February. Yazan Abu Tabikh, a nineteen-year-old, was killed and seven others were wounded in a clash with Israeli forces as they started to demolish a Palestinian home. A seventeen-year-old, Mohammed al-Haddad was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in Hebron on the previous day.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for the families of Yazan and Mohammed as they mourn their loss. We pray, too for a calming of the rising tension between Palestinian protestors and the Israeli military forces, which has intensified since the Trump Middle East plan was revealed. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories, Michael Lynk, has commented that the Trump Middle East Plan ‘is a lopsided proposal entirely in favour of one side of the conflict’ and that it would ‘ endorse the creation of a 21st century Bantustan in the Middle East’.

  • Lord, we pray that the UN and the wider international community would redouble their efforts to achieve a just and equitable peace on the basis of equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Monday, the third of February Palestinian prisoners from four prisons chose to observe a hunger strike for two hours in protest at the dire conditions suffered by child and women prisoners at Damon prison. The Prisoners’ Commission and the Prisoners’ Society have reported that women and child prisoners at Damon are held without warm clothes and blankets in the cold weather and provided with poor quality food.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for an end to the occupation of the Palestinian territories.  May the conditions of Palestinian prisoners be improved and an end be brought to moving them into Israel proper which is against International law. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Thursday, February 6, Sabeel Jerusalem announced that they will be having a Young Adult Gathering June 2020. In the spirit of gathering and Kumi, we hope to have young adults join from around the world to hear, learn, and plan how to further work for a just peace in our world.

  • Dear Lord, we thank you for this new generation of peacemakers in Your name. For their passion for justice and a better world where all are loved and human rights and no longer violated. We pray for guidance as the program is planned and we at Sabeel prepare for this gathering. Lord, in Your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • Lord, we remember the poor and the homeless in Palestine during the current cold and wintry weather. We pray for the provision of shelter and sustenance for them. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer

Wave of Prayer – February 6th 2020

Tensions between Israel and Gaza have been steadily rising over the past two weeks after a period of relative calm. The release of President Trump’s recent proposals, which heavily favoured Israel, fuelled fears of an escalation in the number of rockets and explosive balloons fired from Gaza. Late on Thursday three rockets were fired from Gaza at Southern Israel. In response the Israelis carried out air strikes in Gaza on Thursday and Friday.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for an easing of tensions between Israel and Gaza and for a just and peaceable end to the blockade of Gaza. We pray that honest brokers will come forward with plans for peace talks which would respect international law and the human rights of the Palestinians in Gaza and in the Occupied Territories. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week is set aside for rest from the Kumi Now Initiative. Activists are encouraged to relax and take a break before re-engaging with the Initiative next week. We also encourage you to take this as an opportunity to do some reading around recent events.

  • Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for your words of encouragement at the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied’(Matthew5:6). Lord, in your mercy…hear our payer.

The new US proposals announced by President Trump on Tuesday, the 28th of January, have been condemned as ‘unworkable’ by the Elders (an NGO made up from noted worldwide public figures). Ban Ki Moon, Deputy Chair of the Elders and former UN Secretary General stated that the international community should condemn the proposal to allow Israel to annex swathes of the occupied Palestinian Territories. He stated that the move to confirm Jerusalem as the ‘undivided’ capital of Israel was ‘dangerous and provocative’ and noted ‘the absence of any credible plan for Gaza’.

  • Lord, we turn to you and pray for help for the Palestinian people. Will the governments of the world look on silently as more land is illegally annexed from the Palestinian people? Will the rest of the world allow powerful governments to ride roughshod over international law? Will anyone speak out and condemn the imposition of apartheid in the Holy Land? Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The death has been announced of Albert Aghazarian, a Palestinian-Armenian patriot and distinguished historian. He studied and worked at Birzeit University and provided simultaneous translation at conferences. In 1991 he worked closely with Dr Hanan Ashrawi at the Madrid Conference as a member of the Palestinian delegation. Dr Ashrawi called him ‘a son of Jerusalem and the streets of the old city will continue to echo with his voice and erudite persona’. His daughter Elise creates the Sabeel Wave of Prayer in Arabic every week and our condolences are with her and her family.

  • Lord, we thank you for the life and service of Albert Aghazarian and especially for his outstanding linguistic gifts and his work as a historian, focusing on the city of Jerusalem. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

A couple from Gaza, Mohammad and Wafa Ralaban were caught up in the bureaucracy of occupation travel permits as they have been trying to care for their premature babies. Wafa was rushed to Makkased Hospital in East Jerusalem when her quadruplets were born prematurely. Sadly, three of the babies had died before Mohammad was granted a permit to visit his wife and surviving daughter. Physicians for Human Rights Israel and the hospital authorities stepped in to prevent the parents’ being expelled back to Gaza and to request an extension to the parent’s permits on humanitarian grounds.

  • Dear Lord, we pray that baby Selin may grow in strength and that her parents may remain at her side to provide care and support for her. We pray that the Israeli authorities will cease the inhumane denial of travel permits to Palestinian parents with sick children needing hospital care in Jerusalem. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Friday, the 28th of February, Sabeel Jerusalem held a facilitator meeting in Ramallah. Twenty-seven Bible study group facilitators gathered together from all over Palestine to meet, share experiences, learn, and to encourage one another.

  • Lord, we thank you for the Bible study facilitators who met together in Ramallah and we pray that they will draw strength from your Word. May they find a refuge in you at this time of crisis. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Andorra, Italy, Malta, Portugal, San Marino, Spain and the Vatican City. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer

Wave of Prayer – January 30th

The Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA). The organisation supports the work of Sabeel, Jerusalem and seeks justice and peace in Palestine through non-violent advocacy and education.

  • Dear Lord, we thank you for the work of FOSNA and their commitment to reveal how the Israeli authorities continue to defy international law and abuse Palestinian human rights. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza is warning that three hospitals may be forced to close because there isn’t enough fuel to power generators vital to the supply of electricity. The generators have to be used to cover the twelve hours’ lack of electricity supply from the Israeli companies.

  • Oh Lord, the Palestinians living in the occupied territories, especially Gaza, are being forced to survive day-to-day with diminishing supplies of clean water and electricity, in a land blessed with sufficient supplies for all. We pray for an end to this unjust denial of vital resources by the Israeli authorities, when they have more than enough for their whole population. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Tuesday, the 21st of January the Israeli army killed three Palestinian young men, Mohammed Mandeel, Salem an-Na’ami and Mahmoud Sa’id, all eighteen years of age, near the perimeter fence in Central Gaza. The army alleges that they breached the fence and hurled explosive devices. They were ordered to remove their clothes before they were shot.

  • Lord, we pray for the families and friends who grieve the loss of Mohammed, Salem and Mahmoud. We pray for an end to the siege of Gaza and for a ceasefire and an end to violence and bloodshed at the border. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Ekrima Sabri, an imam and the former grand mufti of Palestine was barred from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on the grounds of incitement in his recent sermon. He has been giving Friday sermons at the Al-Aqsa Mosque since 1973. He is a notable Jerusalemite and has protested against the daily incursions of Israeli settlers into the Al-Aqsa compound. Last week 343 settlers, under the protection of the Israeli security forces, entered the compound against agreed protocol.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for calm and mutual respect for worshippers of different faiths in Jerusalem. We pray that the Israeli authorities respect the guardianship agreement and protocols it has with Jordan, the country which oversees the Muslim and Christian holy sites in the city of Jerusalem. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Thirty-four Catholic bishops from Europe, North America and South Africa have called on their governments to respect international law in Israel and to recognise the state of Palestine. They recently undertook a five-day tour of the occupied territories and recognised the worsening situation in Gaza, East Jerusalem and Ramallah.

  • Lord, we thank you for the concerns raised by the Catholic bishops. We pray that their governments will listen and respond by bringing pressure to bear on Israel to cease the building of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and to dismantle the occupation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Wednesday, the 22nd of January, the Israeli army delivered orders stating that they will annex 1,250 acres of Palestinian land, south of Nablus in the northern area of the West Bank. This annexation will further affect Palestinians from the villages of Tal, Madama and Burin. In September 2019 the army annexed Palestinian land in the area to enable the illegal Jewish settlement of Yitzhar to expand.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for the Palestinians in the West Bank as they see their land stolen and are then vulnerable to Jewish settler attacks and intimidation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Israeli human rights organisation Bimkom revealed that the Israeli Civil Authority in the West Bank only granted 3% of the Palestinian applications for construction permits in Area C for the period 2016-18. Further data shows that 2000 demolition orders were issued in Area C for ‘violations’ by Palestinians for lack of permits for construction during the same period.

  • Oh Lord, we cry out to you, ‘not to forget the afflicted’, ‘incline your ear to the oppressed’, Psalm 10:18. How can the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continue on this path of home demolition and oppression? We pray that the Israeli authorities will change and seek to serve the whole population in a just and equitable way. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Prince Charles visited Bethlehem and Ramallah on Friday, the 24th of January, to host a small ecumenical service in a chapel of the Nativity Church and meet with Mahmoud Abbas. Prince Charles spoke of his “dearest wish that the future will bring freedom, justice and equality to all Palestinians.”

  • Lord, we pray that the visit of Prince Charles will mark a time of renewed hope for the Palestinian people. We pray that many international leaders will call for an end to the occupation and to renew peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Western Sahara and Tunisia. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Wave of Prayer – Thursday 23rd January 2020

This week’s Kumi Now initiative looks at the work of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA). PASSIA was set up in 1987 as an independent, non-profit institution addressing Palestinian issues through academic research. It focuses particularly on the Israeli violations of international law in East Jerusalem.

  • Dear Lord, we thank you for the work of PASSIA, their monitoring of the demolition of Palestinian homes and the expropriation of their land and places of worship in East Jerusalem. We pray for all those who seek to address injustice and risk their own freedom to speak truth to those in authority. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Friday, the 17th of January, the Israeli police stormed the Al Aqsa compound after thousands of Palestinians responded to a call to worship and protest against Israeli incursions on to the compound against the status-quo and plans to take over Muslim holy sites. Many worshippers were assaulted, and five protesters were shot with rubber coated steel bullets. Similar protest rallies were called at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque and in Gaza.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for an easing of tensions at the Muslim holy sites. We pray that the Israeli settlers and authorities will cease their violent assaults on the Palestinians and start to demonstrate an attitude of respect and reconciliation towards people of a different faith. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Israeli forces demolished the foundations of a new school that was being built near Yatta, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the 16th of January, without giving prior notice. The school was planning to accommodate children living in remote villages in the area who have to travel long distances to attend school. The area is close to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beni Hefer.

  • Oh Lord, we pray for the young children living in remote villages in Palestine who have to walk across hazardous terrain each day to go to school. We pray that the Palestinian authorities will persevere in their attempts to build schools, despite the setbacks they face from demolitions. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Ir Amim, an Israeli activist organisation, released their most recent report on Wednesday, the 15th of January. It revealed that 104 Palestinian housing units were demolished in East Jerusalem in 2019, compared to 72 units in 2018. The report also showed that only 7% of the housing units agreed by city planners were for Palestinian neighborhoods.

  • Lord, we thank you that some Israelis are reporting on the injustice and inequity in how the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are treated by the Israeli authorities. We pray for an end to the practice of house demolitions and for an end to the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The third International Meeting for Scientists for Palestine took place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA over the weekend beginning on Friday, the 10th of January. The aim of the meetings is to promote and support the development of science in Palestine, despite the stifling effects of the occupation. There were over 200 participants with 30 presenters. The conference organiser, Ubai Aboudi, the Director of the Bisan Centre for Research in Ramallah was arrested in November 2019 and has been held on administrative detention

  • Dear Lord, we pray for the international community of scientists who are working to promote the development of science in Palestine. We also pray for the release of Ubai Aboudi from administrative detention. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Ahmad Zahran has been held under Israeli administrative detention since March 2019. He has suffered deteriorating health after undergoing 113 days of hunger strike in protest against his detention order. On Monday, the 13th of January, he called his family to inform them that he had reached an agreement with the prison administration and that he would be released on the 25th of February.

  • Dear Lord, it seems so harsh that Palestinian political prisoners have to starve themselves to the point of death to receive release from the detention orders that can keep them incarcerated for years, on secret evidence, without charge or trial. We pray for an end to this inhumane imprisonment for 450 Palestinians who are currently held on administrative detention orders. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • Dear Lord Jesus, we pray for the family and friends of Father George Shahwan as they mourn his recent loss. He was an old friend and supporter of Sabeel and we thank you for his service as priest to the Greek Orthodox Church of St Mary’s, Beit Jala. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Wave of Prayer – Thursday 16th January

This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of Machsom Watch, an Israeli women’s voluntary organisation. The word ‘machsom’ is Hebrew for ‘checkpoint’, referring to the Israeli force’s checkpoints which restrict the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank.

  • Dear Lord, we give thanks for the courage and convictions of the Israeli women who volunteer for work with Machsom Watch. We pray for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and for the oppressive policies which are blighting the lives of Palestinians and eating away at the moral fibre of Israeli society. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.

In the next few weeks Sabeel will be holding local meetings to discuss and plan their activities for 2020. Members will be praying and contributing towards a strategic plan for 2021-25.

  • Dear Lord Jesus, we come to you in our weakness and dependence on you for guidance and wisdom. We pray that your Spirit will guide the prayers and plans of those seeking to do your will through Sabeel and in creating an overall plan of activities for the next few years. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem has recently delivered twelve home demolition notices to Palestinian residents in the city’s Al Isaweyah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. The notices were served on the premise that the homes were built without permits. Palestinians are rarely granted building permits, especially in East Jerusalem.

  • Dear Lord, our hearts sink as we hear of even more Palestinian families forced to leave Jerusalem, many facing an uncertain future. We pray for an end to the policy of home demolition and forcible expropriation of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), issued a report on Wednesday the 8th of January, stating that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) had committed 760 violations and crimes against Palestinian journalists in 2019. These crimes included 12 critical injuries with live ammunition, as well as injuries from rubber coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades. Over recent years the Palestinian media have been under constant attack from IOF, the latest of which was the closure of the Palestine TV office in Jerusalem.

  • Dear Lord, we thank you for the courage and the work of Palestinian journalists as they seek to report on the oppression and injustice they witness under Israeli occupation. We pray that the right of freedom of expression and movement will be restored to Palestinian journalists. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Tuesday, the 7th of January, Palestinians were saddened to hear of the death of an eighteen-month-old toddler. Bilal Rabah Abu Sneineh was run over and killed by a vehicle driven by his mother in Khirbet Qilqis, south of Hebron. An investigation has been opened into the incident.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for all those who grieve for the death of Balal. We do not know the circumstances around his tragic death, but we pray that the truth may be established through the investigation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Israeli documentary, ‘Advocate’ directed by Rachel Leah Jones and Phillippe Bellaiche is one of fifteen films shortlisted for the documentary feature category of the 2020 Oscars. The film looks at the work of the Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel, who defends Palestinians.

  • Lord, we thank you for the gifts of filmmakers who want to shine light on those who seek after justice. We pray that they may continue to find a forum for their work. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • Lord, we bring before you the war-torn countries of the Middle East. We pray for Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Yemen. We pray too for the easing of tensions between the US and Iran. We pray for the millions of people in this region who have been uprooted from their homes and forced to flee to safety. Lord, so many face trauma, grief, and appalling living conditions in refugee camps. We pray for the hope of a future free from suffering, where all can live with their neighbours free from fear. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the Yemen. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer

Wave of Prayer – January 9th 2020

Sabeel Wave of Prayer – January 9th 2020

This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza. Al Mezan was set up as an independent human rights’ organisation in Gaza in 1999. It works to help those affected by the Israeli restrictions on the movement of people in and out of Gaza, particularly those with serious health conditions. The Israeli authorities have increasingly denied patients access to life-saving treatments outside Gaza. After fifty years of occupation and over a decade of blockade, the healthcare system in Gaza has been stretched to breaking point.

  • Dear Lord, we thank you for the work of Al Mezan as they work to protect the human rights of those living in Gaza. We pray that the blockade of Gaza will come to an end and that patients needing to receive treatment in hospitals outside the enclave will be free to travel for that treatment. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Christmas holidays are coming to an end and Palestinian schoolchildren and students will be returning to their studies.

  • Lord, we pray for the students in Palestine as they take up their studies. We pray for those who face the daily ordeal of Israeli checkpoints and searches as they grow up under occupation. May they be strengthened in their determination to endure and to complete their studies despite the difficulties they face day-to-day. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Palestinian human rights’ groups have reported that the Israeli authorities arrested 5,500 Palestinians in 2019. Among this number of detainees there were 889 children and 128 women. The groups estimate that 450 prisoners are currently held for long periods under administrative detention, without charge or trial. Their research shows that most detainees are subjected to coercion to elicit confessions during the interrogation period and that many endure assaults and torture.

  • Oh Lord, we turn to you and cry out for your help. We pray that you will ‘execute justice for the oppressed and set the prisoners free’, (Psalm 146:7). We pray that the Israeli authorities will abide by international law and cease to use torture on Palestinian prisoners and stop denying them fair trial on administrative detention orders. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On the 31st of December Israel approved the export of strawberries from Gaza, in addition to tomatoes and aubergines. This decision comes as part of a package of measures to shore up a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

  • Lord, we pray for the farmers in Gaza who have allocated large areas for the production of a strawberry crop to be sold in Israel and internationally. We pray that they may find a secure market for their crop and bring much needed employment to the enclave. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Tuesday, the 31st of December 2019, Jewish settlers hurled stones at Palestinian cars travelling between Nablus and Jenin. Twenty-five cars were attacked, and several passengers were injured by shattered glass from broken car windows.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for an end to the gratuitous violence from Jewish settlers against Palestinians going about their daily business. We pray that the authorities will put a stop to these acts of violence and prosecute the offenders. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Iran, Iraq and Syria. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Wave of Prayer – January 2nd 2020

Thirty-nine Palestinian civilians, including 11 children and a woman, were shot and injured by Israeli occupation forces’ (IOF) fire against mainly peaceful protestors at the 86th Great March of Return in the eastern Gaza Strip, on Friday, 27th December 2019. The organisers of the demonstrations have decided to halt all demonstrations until the 30th March 2020 and from then on only hold monthly demonstrations. This decision was taken mainly due to concern about the vast number of injuries overstretching Gaza hospitals and progress in talks with the Israeli administration.

  • Dear Lord, we continue to pray for those injured and killed as they demonstrate for the right to return to their ancestral lands. We pray for progress in talks which move towards justice and peace for all. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, (ELCJHL). The ELCJHL is working to encourage Palestinian Christians to stay in the Holy Land, many have emigrated to the diaspora. The lack of freedom and security experienced by Christians under the Israeli occupation is forcing many Christian families to leave. The ELCJHL supports seven churches and four Lutheran schools, educating some three thousand students. They educate Christians and Muslim students side by side and have a strong ethos of teaching tolerance and peacebuilding.

  • Lord, we thank you for the witness of the Lutheran church and schools in the Holy Land. We pray for the pastors and teachers in their work to promote peace and justice among those they serve. God of peace, we pray you will rain peace on the Holy Land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

As the New Year and decade dawn, the political situation in Palestine/Israel continues to appear uncertain. Israeli elections will be held again in springtime with hopes that Palestinian Authority elections will also be held soon. Many hope for change and yet signs of an end to the Israeli occupation appear few and far between.

  • Lord, we cry out to you and pray for those who suffer under the oppression of the military occupation in Palestine. We remember the refugees, the prisoners, the dispossessed, and the homeless. We pray that international lawmakers will bring pressure to bear on the Israeli government to bring about change in the Holy Land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

There has been a recent widespread outbreak of influenza in Israel. Eleven people have died, and nearly one hundred others have been hospitalised due to complications caused by the flu virus.

  • Lord, we pray for the families who have lost loved ones as a result of this flu outbreak. We pray for those who are suffering in hospital that they may soon recover. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Thousands of Christian pilgrims flocked to Bethlehem to take part in the Christmas Eve celebrations in Manger Square and at the Church of the Nativity. The Palestinian Tourism Minister estimated that nearly 15,000 pilgrims stayed overnight in the hotels in Bethlehem.

  • Lord, we pray for the people of Bethlehem. We are encouraged that so many pilgrims are coming to visit the birthplace of Jesus. At the same time, we know that so many local Christians have been forced to leave their native town as conditions are so hard under the occupation. They face checkpoints, permits, a separation wall, economic hardship and intimidation. We pray for our brothers and sisters that they may keep their hope in God and other people, despite the pain and problems they face. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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