OSJ Prayers

Attacks in Istanbul, Yemen, Afghanistan

Tuesday night at least 41 individuals were killed, and about 239 were wounded in an attack on Istanbul’s main airport, Ataturk airport. The Islamic State has yet to claim responsibility for the attack, but they are thought to be behind it. In Yemen, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for four car bomb attacks at security checkpoints on Monday, in which at least 43 people died and at least 30 were injured, including children. In the city of Mukalla, where the attacks took place, the hospital is in serious need of blood donations.The attacks came after peace talks were suspended in Yemen’s civil war between the government and Houthi militias. Today at least 30 were killed and at least 50 were wounded in Afghanistan in bombings by members of the Taliban.

God, we confess that the sheer number of reports of bombings and violence in the Middle East leaves us numb. Renew our empathy so that we might never become accustomed to a world where people live in fear and lose their lives. We pray for your Spirit of peace to prevail. We pray for an end to the tyranny of terror groups such as ISIS and the Taliban.

Supreme Court Rules on Texas Abortion Law

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on Monday that will most likely make abortions more accessible around the United States. The decision struck down a Texas law that required abortion clinics to meet the standards of surgical centers and to have on staff a doctor with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital—a law which would have drastically reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state. The U.S. currently has the lowest rate of abortion in the world. Still, it is estimated that 500,000 unborn children have lost their lives to abortion in the U.S. so far this year.

Giver of Life, we lament the destruction of any life made in your image. We reject the lie that life is only as valuable as the circumstances into which one is born. We ask that you protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers. Help us to recognize the injustices around us, and to advocate for systemic change that will reduce the demand for abortion.

Stabbings at Sacramento Rally

On Sunday at least seven people were stabbed and nine were hospitalized at a neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento outside of the California state capitol building. Some individuals are now in critical condition. The Traditionalist Worker Party had scheduled the event ahead of time, and they were set to be joined by members of other white supremacist groups such as the Klu Klux Klan. The rally was met by hundreds of counter-protesters, and violence quickly erupted. The Traditionalist Worker Party stated on their website that the event was designed in part to make a statement about what they view as the mistreatment of white people.

We lift prayers, God of unity, to stem the tide of increasing violence and vitriol in the United States. We pray for an end to racism and bigotry and the fear that underlies so much of the hate directed at “the other.” We pray for a renewal of our commitment to the common good. We pray that your church might be a place where honest, fruitful, and respectful dialogue is practiced.

Colombia Ceasefire

A ceasefire agreement was made in Colombia last week between the government and the FARC, the largest rebel group in the country. The civil war in Colombia over the past 50 years has killed over 200,000 and has displaced almost 7 million people. A formal peace agreement will be drafted in the coming weeks. As for now, the FARC has said they will have thousands of their people place down their weapons. The group began as a peasant movement but has since become involved in drug trafficking as a means of funding. This conflict has been one of the longest running wars in the world.

God, we pray that this ceasefire might be good news for Colombians who have lived for so long under the threat of violence, kidnapping, and instability. We pray for a renewal of hope there, asking that all who have experienced trauma may find ways to heal. We pray for wisdom for leaders and negotiators who are working to resolve this decades-long conflict.

New Resource: Changed for Life

Check out this new resource! Changed for Life is a free downloadable online resource from the CRC and RCA that equips short-term mission teams, the hosts who receive them, and the congregations who send them, to craft a well-organized mission experience with the potential to catalyze lifelong change. Click here to learn more.

Take Action Against Solitary

Did you know that prolonged solitary confinement is considered torture? It fundamentally alters the brain, creates and exacerbates mental illness, denies opportunity, and violates inherent human dignity. People of color, mentally ill individuals, and Indigenous people are disproportionately represented among those placed in solitary confinement. Write to your legislators to ban prolonged solitary confinement in the United States and Canada.