This Month’s Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: December Prayers

November 26, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: December 2017

Health Care Access and Christmas Message of Peace

Everyday in the month ahead, and particularly on the 24th of the month, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe.

Thank you to the Lutheran World Federation Program for contributing to this month’s prayers.

A printable version of the December prayers is available here: December 2017 Prayer Vigil


This month, we focus on the challenges facing Palestinians seeking life-saving medical treatment under the difficulties of occupation, and remember the hope and courage the the birth of Jesus brings to a world suffering from injustice and striving toward peace.

 

In the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), severe restrictions placed on Palestinians and their families often have serious negative consequences for people seeking healthcare. According to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, “the hundreds of physical obstructions and dozens of checkpoints result in very limited access to medical treatment…and is especially grave among residents of villages and outlying areas who need to get to hospitals in the large cities.” Patients from the West Bank and Gaza who need to access medical treatment only found in Jerusalem must obtain Israeli-issued permits for travel into Jerusalem. These permits require documentation proving their illness, confirmation of appointment, and proof that this hospital/clinic is the only place for the patient to receive their treatments.

These struggles are familiar for APF member The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which owns and operates Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH, pictured above) in East Jerusalem. AVH started in partnership with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in 1950 as a major medical facility in Jerusalem to care for Palestinian refugees. Today, most of the patients served by the hospital continue to be in social need and are seeking life-saving specialized care for cancer and kidney failure.

Augusta Victoria Hospital is the only hospital in the West Bank and Gaza providing radiation therapy for cancer patients in the Palestinian territories. AVH is the leading hospital providing treatment for breast cancer among women in the West Bank and Gaza and is also the only medical facility in the West Bank offering pediatric kidney dialysis. On a daily basis, these and other specialty services touch hundreds of lives, both young and old, from communities across the Palestinian territories.

 

Scripture: Excerpts from Isaiah 9

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish…The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them a light has shined.

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.

Scripture Reflection: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Prince of Peace” – where God comes in love to human beings and unites with them, there peace is made between God and humankind and among people…Go to the child in the manger and receive there the peace of God. Come see how God, out of pure love, has become our brother and wants to reconcile us with each other. In the world, power reigns. This child is the Prince of Peace. Where Jesus is, peace reigns.

– excerpt from “Christus Victor” address, November 26, 1939

Prayers: Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship

Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming nurture our growth as people of repentance and peace. O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Almighty and merciful god, we call to mind before you all whom it is easy to forget; those who are homeless, destitute, sick, isolated, and all who have no one to care for them. May we bring help and healing to those who are broken in body or spirit, that they may have comfort in sorrow, company in loneliness, and a place of safety and warmth.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving God, your heart overflows with compassion for your whole creation. Pour out your Spirit on all people living with illness, as well as their families and loved ones. Help them to know that you claim them as your own and deliver them from fear and pain.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God, our refuge and strength, your healing power is everywhere about us. Strengthen those who work among the sick, especially the caregivers at Augusta Victoria Hospital and the other institutions of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. Strengthen them in body and spirit. Refresh them when weary; console them when anxious; comfort them in grief; and hearten them in discouragement. Be with us all, and give us peace at all times and in every way.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

All-powerful and unseen God, the coming of your light into our world has brightened weary hearts with peace. Call us out of darkness, and empower us to proclaim the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

 

Additional Worship Resource:

Hymn: Come Now, O Prince of Peace

(1) Come now, O Prince of peace; make us one body.

Come, O Lord Jesus; reconcile your people.

(2) Come now, O God of love, make us one body.

Come, O Lord Jesus, reconcile your people.

(3) Come now and set us free, O God our Savior.

Come, O Lord Jesus; reconcile all nations.

(4) Come, Hope of unity; make us one body.

Come, O Lord Jesus; reconcile all nations.


ACT Palestine Forum: 24 October Prayers

October 26, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 October 2017
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.

APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to Christian Aid for contributing to this month’s prayers.


ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 October 2017

Prayer Focus: Palestine Independence Day

After decades of conflict, the lives of many people in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory are characterised by fear, oppression, and poverty.

Twenty-nine years ago, the Palestinian National Council proclaimed the Palestinian Declaration of Independence within the 1967 borders. The Declaration insisted on the settlement of international and regional disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the charters and resolutions of the United Nations.

In Resolution 43/177, the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged the proclamation of the state of Palestine by the Palestine Liberation Organisation. However, continued occupation, lack of a political process, protracted cycles of violence, and movement restrictions have all led to questioning the viability of a sovereign Palestinian State.

A solution to this conflict is vital not just for the security and well-being of Israelis and Palestinians alike, but also for stability in the Middle East and ultimately for relationships across the world.

Therefore, Christians, Muslims, Jews and people of all faiths are called to pray for an end to conflict, for healing and reconciliation, and for a just and lasting peace that brings safety, development, and prosperity to all Palestinians and Israelis.

Now is the time for people of all faiths to come together and pray for peace, justice, and security for all. 

Prayers

Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You.
Great and wonderful are Your works, wondrous are your ways.
Thank You for the many splendored variety of Your creation.
Thank You for the many ways we affirm Your presence and purpose,
and the freedom to do so.
Forgive our violation of Your creation.
Forgive our violence toward each other.
We stand in awe and gratitude for Your persistent love
for each and all of Your children:
Christian, Jew, Muslim,
as well as those with other faiths.
Grant to all and our leaders attributes of the strong;
mutual respect in words and deed,
restraint in the exercise of power, and
the will for peace with justice, for all.
Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You.

God of mercy, even as we long to understand that which is often beyond our comprehension, we lay before you the hearts, minds and bodies of all those suffering from conflict in Palestine and Israel and from the ongoing occupation. Shower upon all the people of the Holy Land the spirit of justice and reconciliation.

God of the nations, give to all our people the blessings of well-being, freedom, and harmony, and, above all things, strengthen us to care for all those in need.

Amen.

A printable PDF version of the prayers can be found here: 24 October 2017 Prayer Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 September Prayers

October 2, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 September 2017
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.

APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to DSPR for contributing to this month’s prayers.


 

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 September 2017

 Prayer Focus: Health Care Access

The army’s severe restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank gravely affect the ability of Palestinians to obtain proper medical treatment. The hundreds of physical obstructions and dozens of checkpoints result in very limited access to medical treatment, and sometimes none at all. The problem is especially grave among residents of villages and outlying areas who need to get to hospitals in the large cities. For example, persons living in villages around Jerusalem who need to get to hospitals in East Jerusalem for treatment require a permit to enable them to reach their destination. To obtain a permit, patients have to provide medical documents testifying to their illness, as well as confirmation that they have an appointment at the specific hospital and that it is the only facility where the needed treatment is available. These policies also affect patients from Gaza who are seeking medical care. According to WHO records from this past month, approximately 60% of permit requests for patients from Gaza were denied. Often patients who need to cross the Erez checkpoint to leave Gaza and travel to Jerusalem for treatment are in serious condition and the vital services they are seeking are not available in Gaza.

Dr Gerald Rockenschaub, Head of WHO West Bank and Gaza, stated: “The right to health is a fundamental right of every human being and the ongoing and enduring occupation is having a detrimental effect on the right to health for Palestinians. Occupation impacts on the underlying determinants of health, such as access to safe drinking-water, adequate sanitation and healthy working and living conditions.  It also severely affects the availability, accessibility and quality of health services.”

http://applications.emro.who.int/docs/Coun_pub_doc_2017_EN_19900.pdf?ua=1

Prayers

Prayers for a Sick Person
Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, You became man and died on the cross for our salvation. You healed people of sickness and affliction through Your love and compassion. Visit me, Lord and grant me strength to bear this sickness with which I am afflicted, with patience, submission to Your will and trust in Your loving care. I pray that You will bless the means used for my recovery and those who administer them. Grant that my sickness may be to my spiritual benefit and that I may live the rest of my life more faithfully according to Your will. For You are the source of life and healing and to You I give praise and glory, now and forever. Amen.

A printable version of the prayers can be found here: 24 September 2017 Prayer Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 July Prayers

July 27, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 July 2017
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.

APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to the ELCJHL for contributing to this month’s prayers.


ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 July 2017

Prayer Focus: Family Reunification

Israel’s residency policy has left Palestinian families divided, spouses living apart, and children in single-family homes. Couples in which one of the spouses is a resident of the Occupied Territories (Israel) and the other a resident of the West Bank or Gaza, must choose between two options: One option is that the resident spouse leaves the Occupied Territories and the couple lives together abroad. Because Israel does not grant the West Bank/Gaza Palestinian spouse a due process toward legal status, the West Bank/Gaza spouse will never have a legal chance to live with their loved one in the Occupied Territories.  The other option, available when the West Bank/Gaza spouse is already in the Occupied Territories, is to have the spouse live there without a legal status, as well. In this situation, the couple and their children must live in hiding, in constant fear of deportation, arrest, and fines.

B’Tselem

***

Scripture:

Matthew 19:6

“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Genesis 21:17

God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy as he grew up. 

Exodus 4:18

Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in Peace.”

Prayers:

Holy God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus Christ your son,

Look with compassion upon the whole human family.

Take away the arrogance and hatred that infects our hearts,

Break down the walls that leave families separated.

Unite us in bonds of love, your love, marital love, and the love of family,

So that in unity we can accomplish the work You have begun.

Today we pray for the sanctity of marriage,

We pray for Palestinian children who do not have the loving embrace of both parents.

We pray for the freedom to love despite residency boundaries.

We pray for those who make decisions that tear families apart,

So that they may come to know your love reflected in the family.

Strengthen our families so that they may grow together and become instruments to peace and justice for Palestine. Keep us steadfast in prayer, in advocacy, and in action. 

Amen. 

***

Opportunities for Advocacy

Listed here are a few sources that invite you to advocate for an end to family unification freezes:

Defense for Children International Palestine

Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Find a PDF version of the Prayers here: 24 July 2017 Prayer Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 June Prayers

June 29, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 June 2017
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.

APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.


ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 June 2017

 Prayer Focus: The Annexation of Jerusalem

Jerusalem has been and continues to be one of the most contentious issues related to the 50 year military occupation of Palestine. Following the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem to its territory, in contravention of international law. Palestinians who were living in Jerusalem were given the status of “permanent residents” of Israel. This residency typically provides them with greater freedom of movement than Palestinians from other parts of the oPt and allows them to pay into the social services system to receive health and social security coverage. However, this status can be revoked on various grounds, denying the affected residents their right to live in the oPt, including East Jerusalem (UN OCHA oPt). East Jerusalem is physically isolated from the rest of the West Bank by the Separation Barrier, restricting movement, resource access, employment, and economic activity for Palestinians. In this 50th year of occupation, we pray for a solution to this prolonged injustice and for the continued hope and perseverance of all those working for peace.

Read more about the effects of the occupation on occupied East Jerusalem here:

https://www.ochaopt.org/location/east-jerusalem

http://www.btselem.org/jerusalem

http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/wall-and-jerusalem

Prayers

Lament

(Normal Font: Leader, Bold Font: All)

Give us a voice

and we will cry out.

We will raise our voices to sing

Our feet will dance

Wherever there are signs of life around us.

Give us a voice

and we will sob.

Weeping with your world,

like a child holding a broken treasure,

a child that will not be comforted:

 

weeping at the divisions and separations of churches and our communities;

weeping at misused powers that oppress others and destroy the earth;

weeping at the brokenness of our lives;

weeping with those who lost their loved ones because of wars and conflicts;

weeping with refugees and displaced people;

weeping with the abused and unloved children and youth;

weeping with those who are discriminated against;

weeping with the hungry and the thirsty as they search for a just peace.

Give us a voice to name truth

and expose falsehood;

to encourage the downhearted

and confront the powers.

Give us a voice that speaks with passion

and a voice full of compassion.

A voice that is gentle

and a voice that knows when to be angry.

When there is no word to convey our grief and anger,

and when we cannot pray,

help us to believe

that the Spirit groans with us and intercedes for us.

Give us a voice,

and we will proclaim the living Christ.

Voices buried deep will shout out.

Voices that have been submerged will emerge.

Voices that have never been heard will be raised.

Even stones will cry out.

We hear the words of the Spirit of Christ whispering to us.

 

Keep the dream alive.

Watch and wait.

One day I will return.

One day justice will flow like a river.

And I will establish peace for you.

Amen.

Lament from the WCC Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land, 2017

Full order of service can be found here:

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/spiritual-life/pentecost-ecumenical-prayer-for-unity-and-just-peace-pentecost-2017

Please find a printable version of the prayers here: 24 June 2017 Prayer Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 May Prayers

May 24, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 May 2017
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.

APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to DSPR-NECC for contributing to this month’s prayers.


ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 May 2017

 Prayer Focus: Gaza Blockade

Since October 2000, the Gaza Strip has been subjected to a continuous but fluctuating blockade. The blockade was reinforced and enhanced to unprecedented levels in the 2-3 years that followed the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2006/2007. The blockade entailed both the movement of goods and individuals.

In 2016, the volume of goods entering Gaza was at the same level as 2007, falling short of meeting the demands of the increasing population. The volume of goods exported was just 20% the amount exported in 2007. The restrictions on exports increase the vulnerability of Gaza’s economy by weakening its production base. After the war of 2014, restrictions were imposed on the entry of construction materials needed for the reconstruction of the intensive damages encountered by private and public assets in Gaza. Such restrictions slow the recovery process and extend the suffering of thousands of families who lost their houses during the war.

The number of Palestinians leaving Gaza via Israel on daily basis (460 people) is only 2% the figure in September 2000 (OCHA, 2016). The blockade targets the population of the Gaza Strip without exceptions. A significant percentage, more than 35%, of patients applying for permits for medical reasons were denied access. Humanitarian actors, especially the Palestinian staff, are increasingly being denied access out of Gaza through Israel (OCHA 2016).

Israel is still prohibiting Palestinian farmers from reaching their lands that are within 300 meters from the Israel/Gaza borders, making farmers poorer and depriving Gaza from cultivating significant parts of its arable lands, essential for its food security. Similarly, fishermen are only allowed to fish within 6 nautical miles from Gaza’s shore, which is less than one third of the fishing area established in the Oslo Accords.

These numerous restrictions have resulted in making the unemployment rates rise to above 40% and the poverty reached around 40% (PCBS 2016). About 47% of the population in Gaza Strip suffers severe food insecurity. And, more than 70% of the population depends differentially on aid (OCHA 2016).

OCHA. November 2016. The Gaza Strip: The Humanitarian Impacts of the Blockade. United Nations Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs. https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-strip-humanitarian-impact-blockade-november-2016.

PCBS. Palestine in Figures 2015. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Downloads/book2188.pdf

Prayers

Prayer for Peace

Almighty God and Creator, You are the Father of all people on the earth. Guide, I pray, all the nations and their leaders in the ways of justice and peace. Protect us from the evils of injustice, prejudice, exploitation, conflict, and war. Help us to put away mistrust, bitterness, and hatred. Teach us to cease the storing and using of implements of war. Lead us to find peace, respect, and freedom. Unite us in the making and sharing of tools of peace against ignorance, poverty, disease, and oppression. Grant that we may grow in harmony and friendship as brothers and sisters created in Your image, to Your honor and praise.

Amen.

Special Ecumenical Prayer on 5 June 2017

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on Christians worldwide to join in prayer for just peace in the Holy Land by taking part in a Pentecost prayer service. The WCC has developed a service for the “The Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land” to be used by churches and communities of faith all over the globe on 5 June 2017.

 

The Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, stated “To pray for unity is our calling as an ecumenical family. To pray for peace in the Hold Land, and particularly in Jerusalem at this time, is an affirmation of our commitment to the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace and our long history of engagement for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel. We support the member churches in the region in their witness and ministry, and we encourage member churches around the world to act in prayer and solidarity for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel.”

 

More information and resources for this service can be found here:

 http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/wcc-calls-for-prayer-for-just-peace-in-the-holy-land

 

 A printable PDF version of the prayers can be found here.

 

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 April Prayers

April 25, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 April 2017
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.

APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.


 

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 April 2017

 Prayer Focus: Illegality of the Occupation

On 6 May 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 58/292 which “affirms that the status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, remains one of military occupation, and affirms, in accordance with the rules and principles of international law and relevant resolutions of the United Nations, including Security Council resolutions, that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination and to sovereignty over their territory…” The Resolution also “expresses its determination to contribute to the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the attainment of a just and comprehensive negotiated peace settlement in the Middle East resulting in two viable, sovereign and independent States, Israel and Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders and living side by side in peace and security.”

According to ACT Alliance member, Diakonia, “the practices of the Occupying Power, Israel, raise serious concerns under international law, not only under IHL (International Humanitarian Law) and IHRL (International Human Rights Law), due to the erosion of the basic protections and practices of acquisition and annexation of territory, in clear contravention of the central notions of modern public international law.”

Since the adoption of this resolution in 2004, tension and violence have remained present, human rights have continued to be violated, and hope in a just and timely end to the occupation has waned. This month, we pray for the upholding of international law in Palestine and Israel and for all those who suffer under the ongoing illegal occupation.

Read the resolution here.

Read more about the work of Diakonia here.

Prayers

Gracious God, grant peace. Cleanse from our own hearts the seeds of strife; greed and envy, harsh misunderstandings and ill will, fear and desire for revenge. Make us quick to welcome ventures in cooperation among the peoples of the world, so that there may be woven the fabric of a common good too strong to be torn by the evil hands of war. In the time of opportunity, make us be diligent; and in the time of peril, let not our courage fail.

Lord, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may move every human heart; that the barriers dividing us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; and that, with our divisions healed, we might live in justice and peace.

Lord, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Look with mercy, gracious God, upon people everywhere who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Rouse us from our complacency and help us to elmiate cruelty wherever it is found. Strengthen those who seek equality for all. Grant that everyone may enjoy a fair portion of the abundance of the earth.

Lord, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son. Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and, through our struggle and confusion, work to accomplish your purposes on earth.

We pray all of this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayers adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

 

Additional Meditation

Canticle of the Turning

Text: Rory Cooney, based on the Magnificat

Music: Irish Traditional

My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great,

And my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait.

You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight, and my weakness you did not spurn,

So from east west shall my name be blest.

Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn.

Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.

From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a stone will be left on stone.

Let the king beware for your justice tears every tyrant from his throne.

The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn;

There are tables spread, every mouth be fed,

For the world is about to turn.

My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn.

Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.

Though the nations rage from age to age, we remember who holds us fast:

God’s mercy must deliver us from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.

This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound,

Till the spear and rod can be crushed by God,

Who is turning the world around.

My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn.

Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.

24 Apr 2017 Prayer Vigil

 

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 March Prayers

March 24, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 March 2017
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.

APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to DSPR – NECC Gaza for contributing to this month’s prayers.

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 March 2017

 Prayer Focus: Health Updates and Health Care Access in Gaza

An estimated 1.1 million people in Gaza are in need of humanitarian health and nutrition interventions. The health system in Gaza is operating under severe pressure due to the effects of the occupation, blockade, internal Palestinian divide, rapid population growth, and lack of adequate financial resources and shortages in basic supplies. The years of blockade and movement restrictions on people and materials, including medical resources, has led to a serious deterioration in the availability and quality of health services. The population size will grow to 2.227 million in 2020 with very high fertility rates[1]. This would increase the constraints on the health care system.

Infant mortality rate which is a proxy indicator for the socioeconomic and health status shows an increase at 22.5 per 1000 live birth; a worrying increases that hasn’t been reported for decades[2].  Also, still birth and prematurity level are increasing[3].

Efforts should focus on improving the quality of reproductive health services and addressing gaps especially around the perinatal period when most neonatal and maternal mortalities and morbidities develop. There is a need to increase the number of available intensive care incubators. Also, the current shortage in specialized neonatologists, pediatric intensive care specialists and fine subspecialties such as pediatric oncology, endocrinology, pediatric cardiologists, pediatric cardiac surgeons and genetics require bridging to meet the current and future needs[4].

Health report from MOH and UNRWA also indicate an increase in the incidence of infectious diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis and meningitis which are attributed to bad sanitation and inappropriate hygienic practices[5]. At the same time, non-communicable diseases are escalating and constituting the main causes of death among the population particularly heart diseases, oncology, vascular diseases and injuries.  This puts more strain on the already exhausted system[6].

More than half of the 11,000 MOH staff employed by the Gaza de facto authorities have not been paid in full for several years. The 2014 conflict added further strain to the health sector, the effects of which are still being felt. Handicap International has identified 2,090 people (1,411 males and 679 females) with injuries that require rehabilitation and 4,385 persons with disabilities (2,399 males 1,986 females) as particularly vulnerable[7].  The prevalence of congenital anomalies which are also associated with disability is at the increasing trend[8].

MOH, UNRWA and NGOs reported a dramatic increase in cases of psychological trauma especially among children who are in need of psychological support[9]. In Gaza, anemia rates are higher than in oPt as a whole.  For several years, more than one third of preschool children in Gaza are anemic, while more than 70% of pregnant women in Gaza are anemic[10].

Fuel shortage and prolonged electricity cuts has also impacted health facilities and medical equipment. Together with shortages of essential drugs, medical spare parts and disposables, this has increased the need for referral of patients outside of Gaza. The virtual closure of the Rafah border has however had a serious impact on referrals – only 148 out of 1,087 referred patients crossed during the first nine months of 2015[11]. Access to hospitals in Egypt can literally be a life and death issue for many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, vital for those who cannot be treated within Gaza and who have been denied or are ineligible for access to Israeli or West Bank health facilities through Erez. Of the patients who applied for a permit to cross Erez, 50% were denied and 60% of families who accompany the referred patients were denied also.  This creates accessibility problem to health services that should be addressed by all parties.

Prayers

By your power, great God, Jesus healed the sick and gave new hope to the hopeless. Though we cannot command or possess your power, we pray for healing. Mend wounds, soothe fevered brows, and make broken people whole again.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord Christ, you came into the world as one of us and suffered as we do. As we go through the trials of life, help us to realize that you are with us at all times and that your loving grace enfolds us for eternity.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving God, your heart overflows with compassion for your whole creation. Pour out your Spirit on all people living with illness for which there is no cure, as well as their families and loved ones. Help them to know that you claim them as your own and deliver them from fear and pain.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Merciful God, your healing power is everywhere about us. Strengthen those who work among the sick; give them courage and confidence in all they do. Encourage them when their efforts seem futile or when death prevails. Increase their trust in your power even to overcome death and pain and crying. May they be thankful for every sign of health you give and humble before the mystery of your healing grace.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace. Grant to us, your children, an awareness of your presence and a strong confidence in you. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strength and peace.

Through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Prayers adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

[1] UNFPA (2016) Palestine 2030Demographic Transition in Palestine and What it Means for Development.

[2] Maartje, et al (2015) Increasing Neonatal Mortality among Palestine Refugees in the Gaza Strip

[3] MOH (2016), Mortality Report. MOH

[4]  See note one 1

[5] MOH (2015), Health status of the Palestinian population

[6] See note number 3

[7] OCHA (2016), Humanitarian Needs Overview

[8] UNFPA (2016) see note 1

[9] MOH (2015) see note 5

[10] MOH (2014), Strategic Health plan

[11] See note 7

Please find a printable PDF version of the prayers here: 24 March 2017 Prayer Vigil.

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 February Prayers

February 24, 2017 –

24 February 2017

ACT Palestine Forum Prayer Focus:

“Settler Violence”

Background:  

Settler violence endangers the lives of Palestinians, but also wreaks havoc on the land, and destroys or endangers olive trees which are often many hundreds of years old.

 “Israeli civilians have perpetrated various forms of violence against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, damaging their lands, their persons and their property. In recent years, settlers have carried out violent acts under the slogan “price tag.” B’Tselem has documented many such acts including the blocking of roads, throwing stones at cars and houses, making incursions into Palestinian villages and land, torching fields, uprooting trees, and other damage to property.”

B’Tselem

***

Scripture:

Psalm 24:1-2

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,

the world, and those who live in it;

for he has founded it on the seas,

and established it on the rivers.

Revelation 22:1-2

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city.  On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

***

Prayers:

Leader: Holy God, in the beginning you created the heavens and the earth

All: And you called it good.

L: The earth is yours, and all that is in it,

A: The world, and those who live in it.

L: And yet, through human greed, carelessness, and violence,

A: Your good creation is destroyed.

L: Today we pray for the land called holy, caught in an unholy conflict.

A: We pray for Palestinian communities threatened by settlements and settler violence.

L: We pray for farmers who cannot reach their olive groves, for families whose land has been stolen, and for children who live in fear of attacks.

A: We pray for the land itself, for water, for animals, for the environment which suffers after fifty years of military occupation.

L: And we pray for the olive trees: proud symbol of Palestine, strong and resilient, steadfast and true, bearing fruit even in the harshest conditions.

A: Give us the sumud (صمود) of the olive trees. Strengthen our commitment to peace and justice for Palestine. Keep us steadfast in prayer, in advocacy, and in action. Like a tree standing by the water—we shall not be moved.

Amen.

***

Suggested Music:

“The Olive Tree” by Rima Nasir Tarazi

Opportunities for Advocacy:

“The core task of all good spirituality is to teach us to “cooperate” with what God already wants to do and has already begun to do through us.” – Fr. Richard Rohr

Listed here are a few sources that invite you to advocate an end to settler violence against Palestinians and the land:

Yesh Din Foundation: http://www.yesh-din.org/en/category/settler-violence/

B’Tselem: http://www.btselem.org/settler_violence   

Al Haq: http://www.alhaq.org/component/acesearch/search?query=settler+violence

Find a printable version of this month’s prayers here: 24 Feb 2017 Prayer Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 January Prayers

January 24, 2017 –

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 January 2017 

Prayer Focus: 

“Stop home demolitions and forcible transfer of communities as a new beginning for 2017”

The ACT Palestine prayers for 24th of January – 23rd of February are written to focus on demolitions, displacement and forcible transfer in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank.

2016 was a tragic record year when it comes to demolitions of homes, latrines, solar panels and water cisterns in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The UN never before counted as many demolitions by the Israeli military – taking place in direct violation of the basic principles of international humanitarian law.

2017 so far brings no hope. The year started with the same intense demolition pace. Of the nearly 100 demolitions and confiscations that have already taken place in 2017, only about half were provided humanitarian aid to alleviate their suffering. This leaves dozens of families with no homes, shelter, water and electricity in a very cold winter and increases the risk of forcible transfer. It is jeopardizing the very existence of these communities.

Our commitment is to stand up for and with these communities – find ways to stop such basic violation of rights against fellow humans and try to live in peace no matter what religion people belong to.

We call for justice and peace.

Prayers:

O God,

We remember the Palestinians who have lost their homes, water cisterns, solar panels, and other infrastructure to unjust demolition orders. We ask for the courage to name these injustices and the steadfastness to pursue their end. As the number of demolitions continues to increase, move us to action, both immediate and long-term. Help us to support our Palestinian brothers and sisters by speaking out and standing up to the evils of the occupation. Strengthen us to defend those whose homes and lands are being confiscated and sustain us in the pursuit of justice.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Hymn:

“Lord, Whose Love In Humble Service”

Lord, whose love in humble service
bore the weight of human need,
who upon the cross, forsaken,
worked your mercy’s perfect deed;
we, your servants, bring the worship
not of voice alone, but heart,
consecrating to your purpose
every gift which you impart.

Still your children wander homeless,
still the hungry cry for bread.
Still the captives long for freedom,
still in grief we mourn our dead.
As you, Lord, in deep compassion,
healed the sick and freed the soul,
by your Spirit send your power
to our world to make it whole.

As we worship, grant us vision,
till your love’s revealing light
in its height and depth and greatness
dawns upon our quickened sight,
making known the needs and burdens
your compassion bids us bear,
stirring us to ardent service,
your abundant life to share.

Action to take:

  • Call on your government to denounce the continued demolitions across Area C and in East Jerusalem and take action to protect communities from forcible transfer.
  • Call on the European Union and its member states to start claiming financial compensation from Israel for destroyed and confiscated aid.

More information about demolitions:

See archive »

BBC Middle East

More BBC Middle East news »