Sabeel Wave of Prayer: Week of May 27, 2020

Sabeel_logo_small.pngThe spread of the Covid-19 virus across the world is being monitored on a world map and dashboard run by the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE). Initially the website listed the number of Covid-19 cases recorded by the Palestinian Ministry of Health under the entry for Palestine, separate from Israel’s data.

At the end of March Birzeit University challenged the CSSE to explain why the Palestine entry was first changed to ‘occupied Palestinian territories’ and then, on the following day, it’s figures were merged into the entry for Israel.

Dear Lord, we pray that vital information about the spread of the coronavirus in Palestine would be restored on the CSSE. We pray that scientists will not be drawn into political actions attempting to erase Palestine from the map of the world. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

Kumi-Logo-01-e1536789062138.pngHere is a reminder that the Kumi Now initiative will be holding weekly video conferences with different organizations working for Palestine. The conferences will start on Tuesday, the 2nd of June at 6pm Palestinian time, with Dr Mazin Qumsiyeh who will speak from the Palestinian Museum of Natural History about the environmental impact of the Israeli occupation. (For details and to register, click here.)

Lord, we pray that many people around the world will watch the Kumi Now video conferences to find out how the Palestinian people survive under occupation in their own land. We thank you for their resilience and their resourcefulness. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The European Union and the governments of Italy and Finland are making a contribution of €17 million to the Palestinian Authority to support East Jerusalem hospitals. This support will enable the six hospitals to maintain vital medical services to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, while also being able to respond to the pandemic.

Thank you, Lord for the ongoing assistance of European countries to the maintenance of the Palestinian health care system. It is encouraging to hear of nations reaching out to other nations to provide help in times of crisis. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

Fishermen in Gaza have been violently attacked, as they fished within the allowed limits, by the Israeli navy far more frequently in the month of April than in the previous three months, according to the human rights’ organizations Gisha, Adalah, and Al Mezan. Israeli occupation forces have been firing live ammunition and powerful water cannons towards the fishermen, causing injury to the fisherman and damage to their boats. The organizations have written to the Israeli authorities to request an end to these unwarranted attacks.

Lord, we pray at this time of acute need, particularly in impoverished areas like Gaza, that fishermen would be allowed to follow their trade and provide for their families. We pray that the rights of all people in Gaza are respected and that the Israeli administration and occupation forces cease their violent blockade of the area. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

This year the day of Pentecost falls on Sunday, the 31st of May. On this holy day Christians in the Holy Land and around the world celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire, transforming the disciples into apostles.

Lord, we remember this holy day when visitors from different nations came to Jerusalem and heard ‘the mighty works of God’ spoken about in their own language, (Acts 2:11). We pray that we may be filled with your spirit and give clear witness to your faithfulness and power. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

On Wednesday, the 20th of May, Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process spoke at a UN Security Council video conference. He stated that the Palestinian withdrawal from its agreements with Israel was a cry for help to the international community as it faces Israel’s imminent annexation of over 30% of the West Bank. Mladenov appealed to the Quartet, (the EU, the UN, Russia and the US), to convene as soon as possible to work ‘jointly with countries in the region to advance the prospect of peace’.

Lord, we cry out to you as hundreds of Palestinian communities now face the illegal confiscation of their homes and land. We pray that international lawmakers and governments would step in to stay the hand of the Israeli government before it launches its annexation plan in contravention of international law. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

More than fifty Palestinian journalists had their profile pages deleted by Facebook on the 4th of May. No reasons were given, and the journalists were told the decision was irreversible. Middle East Eye reported that “for years, Facebook has been deactivating the accounts of Palestinians in coordination with the Israeli government and security agencies, on the pretext of preventing Palestinian "incitement" on its platform.”

Lord, we pray that the censorship of Palestinian journalists will cease. We pray that the Israeli government would respect the rights of all those living in the Holy Land, including their right to freedom of speech. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Angola and Mozambique. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

Lectionary Prayer
Pentecost Sunday (Year A)
John 20: 19-23

O Parent of all peoples,
breathe your Holy Spirit on us
that we may see the peace
in the places with oppression and fear reign
and be filled with the joy of the risen Christ.

Teach us how to speak his words of justice
so that we can be your agents of a just peace
in our broken and troubled world.

Amen.


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