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OSJ Prayers

Concerns in Venezuela

Shortages of food and medicine during Venezuela’s recent economic and political crisis have led neighboring countries to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to accept humanitarian donations—but so far he has refused to accept aid. Earlier this week the president of Peru called for a group of countries (including Chile, Argentina, and Colombia) to begin sending medicine and food.

Lord, we pray for the people of Venezuela who continue to suffer from increased hunger, instability, and an uncertain future. We pray that Venezuela’s leaders will make decisions that are wise, that prioritize those who are most vulnerable, and that find lasting solutions to this mounting crisis.

Niger

In Niger’s Diffa region, more than 280,000 people have been displaced in the wake of Boko Haram attacks. Most of those displaced in that region live not in refugee camps but in settlements next to a national highway. Families arrive daily, fleeing violence and hunger in the Lake Chad Basin. Humanitarian aid groups are struggling to reach everyone in need of assistance. Many of the displaced stay in the settlement instead of moving to the nearest refugee camps because it is closer to their own farmland and they feel they will have more direct access to information, food, and services along the highway.

God, for the millions of people around the world who are displaced from their homes and living in temporary situations—and notably today in Niger—we lift our prayers. We pray for an end to the violence that forces people to flee, for sufficient aid to meet them in their temporary state, and for a safe place where they can begin life again.

Evangelism in Russia

This summer, Russia introduced new anti-terrorism laws that restrict Christians from evangelizing outside of their churches. The Yarovaya package requires missionaries to have permits, makes house churches illegal, and limits religious activities to registered church buildings. Breaking these laws could result in a fine of up to $780 for individuals and $15,000 for organizations. Missionaries on the ground in Russia have concerns that the laws greatly restrict religious freedom and put believers without proper documentation at risk of being accused of illegal missionary activity.

God, freedom of religion is so severely restricted in many places. We pray for your church in Russia, which now faces new restrictions—protect them and give them peace. We pray for governance that places value on the dignity of human beings and on the right to freely express belief.

South Carolina Shooting

Yesterday in Townville, South Carolina, a 14-year-old boy shot two children and a teacher at a local elementary school with a handgun after killing his father at home. The teenager’s name has not been released, but the boy was taken into custody yesterday afternoon. None of the victims at the school have died. Two were treated for their injuries and released from the hospital yesterday, and one remains in the hospital in critical condition. The motive behind the shooting is unclear, but the event comes after a series of shootings in the U.S. in recent years.

God, please comfort all who are afraid and grieving in this South Carolina community. We pray for an end to the loss of life that has become so normal in the United States with easy access to guns. Give wisdom to lawmakers who are tasked with creating policies that balance the value of freedom with the value of public health and safety.


Sisters In Spirit Vigils

October 4 is a day to honor the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Each year, family members, Aboriginal community members, and concerned citizens gather for vigils that take place in many communities across Canada and internationally. These gatherings serve to raise awareness and to provide support to families who have lost a loved one. Register for a vigil here!


Support Refugee Resettlement!

World leaders gathered last week to discuss a unified response to the global refugee crisis. Support their commitment to people fleeing violence and persecution. Click here to urge your representative or MP to support stronger refugee resettlement in the U.S. and Canada.