Pray for Israel & Palestine on Sunday, December 6, 2009

Prayers for Israel & Palestine: Luke 1:68-79 and 3:1-6

Liberating God…

God of peace, mercy, justice and love…

With Zachariah, and in the power of your Holy Spirit, we come before you to praise and honor your name, because you are committed with the redemption and restoration of your people. You sent your son, Jesus of Nazareth, as a powerful savior from the House of David, according to the prophet's messages, to free ourselves from the chains of our enemies, to show your mercy and love, and also to reveal the saving and liberating power of your Holy Spirit…

In that spirit of humbleness and hope we come before your presence to intercede for the peoples of Israel and Palestine… For over sixty years these two communities have been trying to live together in peace, in the midst of violence, terror, deaths and wars! For more than six decades these two nations have been trying to discover the path of justice, in a world of aggressions, occupations, invasions and resentments! For over half a century these two peoples have been trying to create the necessary conditions to discover, promote, affirm and enjoy the results of a just peace!

But the challenges have been enormous, the problems extraordinary, and the obstacles formidable… When they talk about peace, a war develops… When they gather to explore new ways of understanding and respect, a new political and military difficulty arises… When they are ready to move forward firmly in the road of international recognition and national respect, hostilities erupt and the cycle of violence starts again and again hurting seriously the peace processes and affecting adversely the hopes, aspirations and dreams of both communities.

We come before your powerful presence, God of hope, in the priestly tradition of Zachariah and with the prophetic spirit of John the Baptist, to celebrate your mercy and justice, to announce your grace and love, to affirm the good news of salvation and liberation, and also to recognize your commitment with the people in need and distress of these two nations… We come to you because we recognize your power and we know about your interest in the children and widows, orphans and blinds, dispossessed and captive, disenfranchise and oppressed… We know very well that you have experience in this type of «critical presence» situations, where despair reigns, oppression rules and life is threatened…

And because we know about your saving will and we trust your desire for peace with justice in the region, we pray for…

· The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Middle East, and for Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan. They serve the churches in the Holy Land and communities all over the world, and preach the gospel of Christ with integrity and love…

· The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem and its ministries, especially for its pastor, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb… They are building the kingdom stone by stone, in the complex dynamics and contexts of separation walls, economic challenges, spiritual needs, political and military occupation…

· The Sabeel Liberation Center, and its president, Dr. Naim Ateek, which are seriously engaged in translating, transforming and reformulating the traditional theological categories and disciplines into contextual and concrete liberating and renovating programs, to bless both communities, the people of Israel and Palestine, not only in Jerusalem but also in Nazareth…

· The much necessary and relevant literary and witnessing ministry of Jean Zaru as presiding Clerk of the Friends (Quakers) programs in Ramallah… They are affirming that peace in not a dream, but a real possibility in this region…

· The extraordinary and pertinent ministries of the YMCA and YWCA, the primary school «Gardens of Flowers», the service and solidarity ministries of the MECC, the EAPPI, and the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza… These institutions are making extraordinary educational, accompaniment and health contributions in the center of torn apart societies, full or prejudices, rancor, hostility, mistrust, resentment,

·  And for the spiritual and emotional needs of Palestinians and Israelis, as they move forward to create more just and respectful societies, as they create the needed environs for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and as they discover and recognize that they need each other in order to enjoy peace, which means to have security, and also to have a viable state…

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace… Amen  

(Prayer written by Noemi and Samuel Pagan)

Drs. Samuel and Nohemí Pagán are teaching Hebrew Bible and Spanish at Dar al-Kalima College in Bethlehem…

Global Ministries International Partners in Israel & Palestine:

  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Christmas Church in Bethlehem, and the Diyar Consortium: The Diyar Consortium is a Lutheran Based, ecumenical oriented institutions serving the Palestinian community «from womb to tomb». Their main emphasis is on children, youth and the elderly, through transforming, contextual and holistic programs. Their initiatives are inspired in the Biblical message: «That they might have life and have it abundantly». In a context of too much politics, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem (CCB) and Diyar Consortium believe in caring for the city and its citizens… In a context of exclusive forms of religion, ELCJHL, CCB and Diyar believe in investing in ecumenism, inclusion, dialogue, respect… In a context of too much disempowering aid, ELCJHL, CCB and Diyar believe in empowering the individual and the community, in the name of Jesus Christ… In a context of too much segregation, ELCJHL, CCB and Diyar believe in building bridges and platforms for international, intercultural and interreligious encounters, dialogue and mutual respect… In a context of despair, ELCJHL, CCB and Diyar believe in creating rooms for hope, forgiveness, reconciliation, justice, and peace… www.elcjhl.org  and www.annadwa.org
  • Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Jerusalem) is an ecumenical grassroots liberation movement among Palestinian Christians. It's an ecumenical center for Palestinian Liberation Theology which seeks to make the Gospel contextually relevant. In Arabic Sabeel means "the way" and also a "spring of water." Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians.  The Center is located in Jerusalem where the majority of programs take place with participants from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah and surrounding areas. http://www.sabeel.org/
  • The East Jerusalem YMCA was established in 1949 in a tent at Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp, near Jericho and operates with all sectors of our Palestinian Society without discrimination.  The East Jerusalem YMCA operates a variety of programs and functions related directly to the needs of Palestinian society in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, Beit Sahour, Gaza, Nablus, Hebron, Jenin, and Tulkarem. http://www.ej-ymca.org/site/
  • The YWCA of Palestine is an ecumenical grassroots movement serving women of all faiths. The main aims are to promote women's full and equal participation at all levels of society through leadership opportunities and training; to work for social and economic justice through development and advocacy programs; and to mobilize women's collective power for action on issues of vital concern: women's rights, justice, equality, freedom, the dignity of human beings and integrity of their environment. Programs include vocational training programs; training courses in Computer skills, hairdressing and language; children and youth activities such as summer camps; social and cultural activities; income generating projects; and advocacy work in areas such as human rights.  The YWCA headquarters are in Jerusalem. There are three local associations in Jerusalem, Jericho and Ramallah, and three centers in refugee camps: Aqabat Jabr, Jalazone and Kalandia. http://www.ywca-palestine.org/
  • Rawdat el-Zuhur (Arabic for "Garden of Flowers") is a primary school for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. Established in 1952, it aims at bringing up a new generation that is aware of the principles of good citizenship, and concerned for the environment; capable of thinking creatively, and analyzing logically and critically, offering and accepting positive criticism, and excelling in performance; and equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to assume leadership in a democratic society which they would develop and preserve. It serves mainly the lower income community. Students at Rawdat el-Zuhur can be supported through the Common Global Ministries Board's Child Sponsorship Program. http://www.rawdat.org/
  • Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches was set up in the early 1950s to help Palestinian refugees with their newly acquired status following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Department set up branches in five different regions: Gaza, Jerusalem and West Bank, Galilee in Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon, with the clear mandate of working with the refugees, the poor, and the dispossessed. http://www.mec-churches.org/main_eng.htm
  • Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza of the Episcopal Diocese in Jerusalem was established in 1882 by the Church Mission Society and is located in the Gaza Strip area of Palestine. It became a service ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in 1982, and continues to provide important medical and surgical care to all people of the Gaza Strip. Over 60 percent of the Strip's residents live in refugee camps, and a significant portion of the hospital's care is charitable as they serve a community of exceptionally poor citizens. Al-Ahli has also responded to the needs of the victims of crises, including providing medical treatment to those involved in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. http://www.j-diocese.org/
  • Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) supports Palestinians and Israelis working for peace by monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, offering protection by accompanying local communities in daily activities, and by advocating with churches for a peaceful end to the Occupation. The programme, which began in 2002, is coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC). http://www.eappi.org/

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