Sabeel Wave of Prayer: Week of May 4, 2020

Sabeel_logo_small.pngReligious leaders stood on the terrace of the King David Hotel in West Jerusalem to offer their prayers in Hebrew, Arabic, and English for relief from the Covid-19 virus on Friday, 24th April. More than 200 people have died from the virus in Israel, while so far at least two people have died in the West Bank and Gaza. However, concerns have been raised over the thousands of Palestinian workers who have recently returned home to the West Bank from Israel. At least a third of the confirmed cases of the virus among the Palestinian population have become infected while working in Israel.

Lord, we bring our prayers to you asking that the authorities in Palestine and Israel may share the will and their resources to limit the spread of this deadly virus. So many Palestinians are already suffering from the loss of employment, a lack of food and medication. We pray that the Israeli government will work with the Palestinian Authority to provide the necessary emergency support. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

Kumi-Logo-01-e1536789062138.pngThis week’s Kumi Now initiative looks at the work of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem as it seeks to educate and develop its students to the highest standards despite ongoing occupation and oppression.

Lord, we pray for the teachers at Al-Quds University and other educational establishments who seek to build the confidence and self-esteem of students who face prejudice in their own land and abroad. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

On the last day of April 2020, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), finally won a landmark victory against the UK government to allow Local Government Pension Schemes to divest from companies seeking to profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The final verdict given by the Supreme Court marks the end of a campaign which has been running since 2017.

Lord, we give thanks for the long and hard-fought campaign and for the verdict at the Supreme Court.  UK public bodies can now make their own ethical decisions on how to invest their finances without fear of incrimination. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

Farah Nabulsi a Palestinian filmmaker living in London recently announced that her film, ‘The Present’ has qualified for the Oscars, after winning the Jury Award for the Best Live Action Short Film at the Cleveland International Film Festival. Her film follows Yusef, a Palestinian living in the West Bank, who sets out with his young daughter to buy a gift for his wife on their anniversary. The search for the present soon turns into an ordeal as they encounter Israeli soldiers, segregated roads and checkpoints.

We thank you, Lord, for film makers like Farah Nabulsi who use their storytelling gifts to expose the harassment and intimidation experienced by Palestinians every day under the Israeli occupation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer

Kairos Palestine has drawn attention to the recent actions of the Israeli ‘emergency’ government. Under the cover of a ‘Coronavirus cabinet’ Israel has continued to use its policies of home demolitions, child arrests, and support for settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories despite the crisis. It is also intent on carrying out the annexation of around 30% of the West Bank by the 1st of July so that it can be carried out with the support from the Trump administration before the November US elections.

Lord, we raise our voices together with the voice of Kairos Palestine. We pray for an end to the occupation of Palestine and that international lawmakers and governments around the world will actively condemn Israel for their plans to annex more Palestinian land. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

On Thursday, the 30th of April, Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, published her decision to affirm that Palestine is a state. A panel of three judges will now examine the case and the statements of a number of countries both in support of the Palestinians and of the Israelis before making a decision on whether the lengthy process of investigation into potential war crimes by Israel in Gaza and the West Bank can proceed.

Lord, we pray for those invested with power to uphold the law at an international level, knowing that such responsibilities weigh heavily on the lawmakers. We remember that ‘whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor’ (Proverbs 21:21) Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.

This month, the Catholic Church around the world celebrates the Virgin Mary, leading up to the feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary on the 31st May.

Lord, as the Catholic Church celebrates Mary, the mother of Jesus, we pray that peace, like the flowers used to crown the statues of Mary, is given the chance to bloom around the world and especially in Palestine at this challenging time. 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 mercy...hear our prayer.

Lectionary Prayer
Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)
John 14:1-14

Heavenly Father,
You are the source of our life.
You have given us a wonderful world
and permeated it through and through
with your grace and your love.
You have promised that you will give us your Spirit,
to be with us as we journey through this life.

Yet, we confess the many times when
our eyes can’t see you,
can’t take you in,
can’t comprehend how you can be at work
in occupation and oppression, pain, disappointment and sorrow.

We need your Spirit to lift our sights to your wide horizons.
Teach us to pray with such openness to your Spirit that you make yourself plain to us.
Bring us to that place where we are willing
to place our lives in your keeping,
to submit to your life-changing love,
and to move with you into your large open spaces of salvation.

We ask these things in Jesus’ name, our light and our salvation, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Spirit in the bright glory of the holy Trinity, forever and ever.  Amen


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