Iraqi troops have advanced on the city of Mosul, reaching the eastern suburbs of the city. Concerns continue to mount over the fate of civilians as reports suggest ISIS has been using them as human shields to slow the advance of Iraqi forces. It has been reported that roughly 18,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the military’s attempt to retake Mosul began. Those who are less able to flee—pregnant women, children, and vulnerable older adults—are particularly at risk.
God, we pray for those who are most vulnerable during this violence. We pray for a way forward in Iraq—a way of peace and flourishing. It is hard to imagine such a change, but we pray for it anyway, Lord. We pray also for those planning strategies and commanding fighters and responding with force—may hearts of stone become hearts of flesh.
Protests in Morocco
The gruesome death of a fish-seller incited protests in Morocco this weekend. Police confiscated a swordfish (protected from fishing at this time of year) being sold by 31-year-old Mouhcine Fikri. Local media report that police threw his fish into a garbage truck, prompting Fikri to jump in after it; he was then crushed to death by the compactor. Witnesses and activists claim an officer ordered the truck driver to start the compactor. Local authorities deny there was an order. Protests surrounding abuse of power by authorities began shortly afterward. King Mohammed VI has ordered a full investigation of the incident.
Lord, we pray for people who are in positions of authority around the world—may they exercise power in ways that honor people’s dignity and promote the common good. We pray that some good may come of this incident in Morocco, and may there be an end to impunity for police officers and others in power who expect never to be held accountable for abuse.
Today, Indonesian Christian students in universities around the US (including Calvin College and Seminary) are fasting and praying for peace in Indonesia. This week, Jakarta’s governor, an ethnic Chinese and minority Christian, criticized opponents for using a verse from the Koran to work for his removal from office. While he apologized for his statement, opponents have called this blasphemy, and massive demonstrations are now threatening to lock down Jakarta. The President of Indonesia has responded with significant police and military force to guard the city. There is concern that these protests could escalate into violence between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia.
God, we lift in prayer the people of Indonesia. May we see Christians and Muslims join together in the common cause of protecting safety and the dignity of all people—whether majority or minority. We pray for peace in Jakarta and for justice for all whose voices might be silenced because of their ethnic or religious identity.
COP22 in Marrakech
The 22nd session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) climate summit is set to begin Nov. 7 in Marrakech, Morocco. Nations will gather to decide how to ensure that countries are reducing their emissions; how to compensate poorer countries for the damage caused by natural disasters and other effects of climate change; and how to increase financial aid to the developing world most affected by climate change.
God, we pray for tangible reductions in emissions, for generous support for countries most affected and least able to adapt, and for real solutions to the effects of climate change. May the meetings at Marrakech this year be another step on the journey toward global cooperation to address the crisis of climate change in the world.