OSJ Prayers

Detention Centers in Canada

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, along with immigrant rights groups and public health officials, is concerned with the conditions of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) immigration detention program. At least fifteen people have died in CBSA custody since 2000—three individuals have died this year. It has been difficult to find out the cause of death for these individuals. The CBSA currently has no oversight body and is largely allowed to operate autonomously. From 2013-2014, the CBSA detained 10,088 individuals, a portion of whom were seeking refugee status and who may be detained indefinitely without being charged with a crime.

God, we pray for migrants and refugees all over the world who are detained, stuck, or longing for a home they have lost or haven’t yet found. We pray that the dignity of immigrants may be respected in all nations, and that oversight, legislative action, and compassionate policies may make that possible.

Refugee Crisis

In September the U.S. announced that it planned to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees during this fiscal year. Yet only about 2,500 Syrian refugees have been resettled to date. Additionally, as summer begins, human traffickers are increasing the number of refugees smuggled across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. Today fewer refugees are being smuggled than in the summer of 2015, but more are dying at sea. This past week over 1,000 refugees died on such journeys--700 died in just three days--most due to overcrowding by traffickers in unseaworthy boats. The current surge in Mediterranean crossings may be a consequence of harsher policies to limit the number of refugees allowed into the European Union.

For the unfathomable grief felt by people connected to the thousands who have died in Mediterranean crossings, Lord, we lift our prayers for comfort. God, we cry out for change. We long for restoration in the nations that migrants are leaving. We long for safety in the regions where crossings are happening. We long for hospitality in the wealthy nations where migrants long to resettle. Come, Lord Jesus.

Gun Violence and Joblessness in Chicago

Summer is historically the most violent time in Chicago and other urban areas. This year shootings in Chicago have increased by 50 percent from last year. Nearly half of Chicago’s young black men ages 20 to 24 are out of school and out of work—a rate four times higher than that for white Chicago men in the same age bracket, and far higher than black men of similar ages in New York City and Los Angeles.

God, we lift in prayer those who are grieving the loss of someone they love due to gun violence. We pray for the city and for national leadersmay they identify and address the “why” behind such tragic deaths. We lift in prayer especially the people of Roseland Christian Ministries and Pullman CRC, along with other members of our CRC family, who feel so deeply these realities every day.

Attack in Somalia

Wednesday the terrorist group al-Shabaab killed at least 16 and injured 55 people in Somalia. The group began the attack with a suicide bombing, followed by gunmen entering a hotel in Mogadishu. Two members of the Somali Parliament were included among the people killed. Al-Shabaab has increased its attacks on the Somali and Kenyan governments this year—however, the Somali government has also killed key members of the group.

God, we remember especially those who are marginalized and without power in Somalia and Kenya, who are most vulnerable to the chaos caused by this kind of terrorism. We pray for peace.

New Advocacy Resource

Interested in practicing advocacy and learning how to steward your voice more effectively? You can learn the basics of advocacy for any issue by using our new Biblical Advocacy 101 resource. As Christians, we work toward a just world in which structures and institutions give every person the opportunity to thrive. Providing direct assistance to people in need is vital, but it is also important to guard against policies that oppress, to partner with marginalized communities for long-term change, and to speak up for policies that empower all people. Click here for the U.S. version or here for the Canadian version.

You can also now order a paper copy of Biblical Advocacy 101 through Faith Alive!