June 29, 2017 –
Prayer Petitions: 24 June 2017 ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST 24TH of every monthEvery 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:
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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.
Lament from the WCC Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land, 2017
Full order of service can be found here:
Please find a printable version of the prayers here: 24 June 2017 Prayer Vigil
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
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.
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:
A printable PDF version of the prayers can be found here.