Sabeel Wave of Prayer: Week of May 11, 2020

Sabeel Wave of Prayer: Week of May 11, 2020

Sabeel_logo_small.pngIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), has launched a new emergency appeal to raise $93.4 million. The UNWRA appeal is set to prevent a disastrous situation that could leave thousands of lives at risk, by providing basic needs such as food, water and health care to an impoverished population.

Lord, we pray that the international community would rally to fund the UNWRA appeal as they seek to support vulnerable refugee communities in the Middle East as they grapple with the pandemic. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Kumi-Logo-01-e1536789062138.pngThis week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of BADIL, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. This human rights’ organization works to protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons.

Many Palestinians were forcibly displaced by the Nakba in 1947-9 and the Six Day War in 1967. Their communities continue to suffer forcible displacement due to the discriminatory policies enforced by the Israeli government including denial of residency, denial of permits and land confiscation.

Lord, we thank you for organizations like BADIL who stand with Palestinian refugees and the dispossessed. Millions of refugees in the West Bank, Gaza and in neighboring Middle East countries struggle to survive in the overcrowded refugee camps. They long to return to their homeland but their rights and their hopes are continually denied. We pray for a fair and just negotiated settlement to the Palestine/ Israel conflict. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches issued a statement on the 7th of May concerning Israel’s plan to annex land in the occupied West Bank. They stated that such an annexation would jeopardize any attempt to reach a future peaceful agreement.

They expressed their ‘utmost concern’ over Israel’s unilateral moves and called on the international community, as well as the Palestine Liberation Organization, to respond with a peace initiative which is in line with international law.

Lord, you are our stronghold and our rock of refuge. We pray to you as we witness ongoing actions to annex land belonging to Palestinians. We pray that, even now, those who would ‘frame injustice by statute’ (Psalm 94:20) would turn around and seek peace and abide by international law. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Nakba Day is commemorated by Palestinians each year on the 15th of May. It recalls the forcible expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians by Jewish militants as they set out to establish the state of Israel in 1948. More than 500 Palestinian villages were depopulated during that time and many were completely destroyed.

Lord, we pray for the many Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, in the West Bank and Gaza and in the diaspora as they remember their homeland on Nakba Day. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Wednesday, the 6th of May the Palestinian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry condemned the approval of the construction of 7,000 new illegal Israeli settler units in Efrat, south of Jerusalem. The Israeli Defence Minister, Naftali Bennett agreed to the massive settlement expansion close to Bethlehem in flagrant disregard of international law.

Lord Jesus we see the hills around your birthplace covered in illegal settler units on every side, while the local Palestinians suffer from overcrowding and are denied the right to build on their own land. We pray that international lawmakers will react with more than words to prevent the Israeli government from further breaching international law with settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Israel’s Parliament (the Knesset), passed legislation on Thursday, the 7th of May, approving a new coalition government for Netanyahu and Gantz to share the premiership and to end the political deadlock. Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, followed this up by asking Netanyahu to form a government, Netanyahu will be Prime Minister for 2 years out of the new 4-year term under the coalition agreement with Gantz as deputy. Previously the High Court of Justice struck down petitions to bar Netanyahu as a lawmaker with criminal charges from forming a government.

Lord, we pray for the government of Israel that they would act in the interests of all the people living in Palestine and Israel, particularly at this time of urgent need in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Lectionary Prayer
Seventh Sunday of Easter – Ascension Sunday (Year A)
Luke 24:44-53

Lord Jesus Christ, in you we see awesome power.
You triumph over death and bring forth new life.
You stand over all earthly powers.
You are the head of the church.
Yet, we often fail to acknowledge this power in our lives.
We see violence in the world.
We see injustice in our communities.
We see hunger and need among our neighbors.
We see longing for something more.
We see failures and faults in our lives.
In all these things, we feel powerless.
Forgive our hesitance to call upon you.
Forgive our propensity to rely upon ourselves.
Forgive our reluctance to acknowledge your power.
Speak your words of power again.
May your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.