Wave of Prayer – Thursday 9th May 2019

Following the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege protests, during which three Gazans were killed, the situation in Gaza again seems desperate: Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for hundreds of rockets fired by militia from Gaza towards Israel resulting in the death of four Israelis and around 23 Palestinians, with many more injured. These bombardments cruelly punish the mainly peaceful people of Gaza, whose desire is to live with dignity and freedom. An Egyptian negotiated ceasefire took effect early this week, but any break in hostilities is very fragile.

·         God of peace, our prayers for a real and lasting cease-fire and the protection of the civilians are unending. From lack of water, electricity, and medical supplies to the onset of diseases, the humanitarian disaster caused by the Israeli blockade of in Gaza from both land and sea has no immediate end.  Lord, comfort your people in Gaza; be with them in the shelters, in their broken neighbourhoods, in the overcrowded hospitals, and in the lines as they wait for water.  Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. The university helps its students to come to grips with the prejudice and the challenges they face under the occupation of the Palestinian Territories by Israel. The Palestinian people are made up of Christians, Samaritans, alongside a majority of Muslims. The Western media will often portray all Palestinians as Muslim terrorists, and this undermines global support for their struggle for justice.

·         Lord, we thank you for the work of Al Quds University and how they are trying to help young Palestinians to gain insight into the prejudice they face. We pray for the students that they may rise to the challenge of overcoming obstacles and hold onto their hope for the future. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Ramadan begins this week for millions of Muslims around the world. They will fast from dawn till dusk and then break their fast with prayer and an iftar meal once the sun has set.

·         Lord of all, we remember our Muslim brothers and sisters as they begin to observe this holy month of Ramadan.  We pray that this time of fasting will draw them closer to you, to each other, and to all your children. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

A US citizen, Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine Director of Human Rights’ Watch was given a week’s delay in his deportation from Israel on Tuesday, the 30th of April. The reason given for his deportation was that he was supporting the boycott of Israel during his time living in the country. The district court cited Shakir’s support on Twitter for Airbnb’s decision to remove postings from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, (which it has since revoked).

·         Lord, we pray for those who have the courage to speak about abuses carried out in illegal Israeli settlements. We continue to pray that the Israeli government will value international law and the right to freedom of speech and not use their justice system to stifle them. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The death has been announced of Dr Subhi Ghosheh. He worked as a doctor in Jerusalem from 1953-71. He had a heart for the poor people he treated, often foregoing charges or paying for medication for those who had no money. He was also renowned as an expert on the history of Jerusalem and wrote about Palestinian culture when he was exiled to live in Kuwait and Amman from 1971 onwards.

·         Lord, we give thanks for the life of Dr Ghosheh. We thank you especially for his compassionate heart as he worked among the people of Jerusalem. We appreciate his love for his native Palestine, even though he, like so many other Palestinians, was forced to live in exile for more than half his lifetime. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Israeli settlers chopped down at least 150 olive trees, which were growing on Palestinian agricultural land in Burqa village, east of Ramallah on Wednesday, the 1st of May. It was reported that occupying Israeli soldiers provided protection for the settlers. One of the Palestinian owners of the land also reported that Israeli settlers had tried to assault him two days previously while he was working on his land.

·         Lord, we pray for Palestinian farmers who live near illegal Israeli settlements and who suffer harassment and vandalism almost daily. This violence appears to be a deliberate policy to force the Palestinians to abandon their land. We pray that this state-sanctioned intimidation would cease. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

·         We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Lord, in your mery…hear our prayer.

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