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March 2018: Water in the Gaza Strip

March 13, 2018 –


MARCH 2018

Every day in the month ahead, and particularly on the 24th, 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.

A special thanks to The Lutheran World Federation for authoring this month’s prayers.

Prayer Focus:

Water in the Gaza Strip

Since 2007, the Israeli government has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, severely restricting the movement of Palestinians and their access to resources, infrastructure, and public services. One area where this is increasingly dire is the availability of potable water in Gaza. According to a report published in July 2017 by the United Nations Country Team in the occupied Palestinian territory, only 3.80% of water available from the public water network is safe for drinking. It is predicted that by the year 2020, the coastal aquifer that supplies the water to Gaza’s public network with be irreversibly damaged and will not provide any safe drinking water. The people of Gaza must rely on water trucking for their drinking water, which is 15-20 times more expensive than water from the network. Echoing the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network, APF acknowledges that water is both a gift of God and a fundamental human right and we pray and advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation and for the people of the Gaza Strip whose need for justice and clean water overlap.


Amos 5:23-24

Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.  But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.


In this period of Lenten reflection, we pray for and work for justice and righteousness and we are drawn to the call of the prophet Amos. Amos uses the image of an ever-flowing stream — not a wadi that rushes with water for a short time and dries up. Amos uses this image in order to emphasize the nature of justice — continuous, enduring, and abundant, and the character of those who seek justice — steady, persistent, and indefatigable.  Amos expresses an impatience with songs and melodies at a time when there is “darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it.”  His plea is to let justice roll down like waters!


Adapted from WCC Prayers related to SDG6 Water and Sanitation, 23 September 2015

Prayer of Confession

Leader: God, the very source of life, whose spirit hovered over waters at the time of creation; God in Jesus Christ, who came as living waters to quench the thirsty; God the Holy Spirit, who waters and brings forth the fruit; we come to your presence confessing our attitudes of greed, dominance and insensitivity towards your wonderful creation, and particularly towards water.

All: Let justice roll down like rivers, and let rivers roll out in justice.

Leader: We confess that we have been irresponsible in our use of water, wasting it to satisfy our comfortable lives. In many places we have commodified and privatized water, a natural resource, denying people access to it. In the name of development projects, water sources have been drained or polluted with industrial waste, causing risk to flora and fauna.

All: Let justice roll down like rivers, and let rivers roll out in justice.

Leader: We acknowledge the lack of cooperation between different authorities and organizations to manage water resources fairly. We confess our failure, as faith communities, to address water justice and seek forgiveness for not speaking out for the thirsty and the dying in situations of drought.

All: Let justice roll down like rivers, and let rivers roll out in justice.

Leader: We confess to being silent spectators as many vulnerable communities walk miles every day in search of water for their families. We regret our involvement in the commodification of water, which has resulted in contamination and reduction of water supplies. We come to your presence ashamed of our apathy and insincerity towards the abuse of water and other natural resources, asking you to inspire us to be challenged to conserve, preserve and use water prudently.

All: Let justice roll down like rivers, and let rivers roll out in justice.


All: God who brought water out of the rock,  God who quenched the thirst of those dying in the wilderness,  God who in Jesus gave the living waters  so that those who taste them would never thirst,  God who in Jesus died on the Cross thirsty,  for there was none to quench his thirst,  listen to all those who truly confess  and grant us forgiveness so that we act responsibly in our use of water,  become sensitive to the desperate needs of those without water,  and gain wisdom in conserving and preserving water so that rivers roll out in justice among all nations and all peoples.  Amen.


Full WCC prayer service here:

Hymn: Let Streams of Living Justice

Verse 1:

Let streams of living justice flow down upon the earth;

Give freedom’s light to captives, let all the poor have worth.

The hungry’s hands are pleading, the workers claim their rights,

The mourners long for laughter, the blinded seek for sight.

Make liberty a beacon, strike the iron pow’r;

Abolish ancient vengeance: proclaim your people’s hour.

Verse 2:

Your city’s build to music; we are the stones you seek;

Your harmony is language; we are the worlds you speak.

Our faith we find in service, our hope in others’ dreams,

Our love in hand of neighbor; our homeland brightly gleams.

Inscribe our hearts with justice; your way the path untried;

Your truth – the heart of stranger; your life – the Crucified.


Read more from the UN report on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza:

Join the Ecumenical Water Network for the Seven Weeks for Water, reflections for the Lenten season on water:

Participate in the UN World Water Day on 22 March:

Find a printable PDF version of the March 2018 Prayer Vigil here: March 2018 Prayer Vigil


January 2018 Prayers: Home Demolitions

January 25, 2018 –

"Perhaps the Most Beautiful Memories are Those of a Place"

[caption id="attachment_2336" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo by Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture student Mahmoud al-Kurd, winner of the Karimeh Abboud Photography Award.[/caption]

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

Prayer Focus: Home Demolitions


Demolishing homes as a form of collective punishment is one of the most extreme measures that Israel has employed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the occupation began in 1967 (and until 2005, in the Gaza Strip). Over the years, Israel has demolished hundreds of houses as part of this policy, leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless. The policy of punitive house demolition is, by definition, meant to harm people who have done nothing wrong and are suspected of no wrongdoing, but are related to Palestinians who attacked or attempted to attack Israeli civilians or security forces. In almost all cases, the individual who carried out the attack or planned to do so no longer lives in the house, as they were killed by Israeli security forces during the attack or were arrested and face a long prison sentence in Israel. This policy constitutes collective punishment, which is prohibited and violates binding provisions of international law. B’Tselem

The Geneva Convention Statement

“No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”

Father Naim S. Ateek  A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine-Israel Conflict

“The government of Israel has not learned the lesson that Ezekiel was trying to teach his people. It practices collective punishment against Palestinians. It punishes the whole family and the whole town for the “crime” of one or two people. It demolishes their family homes and causes the homelessness of many people for a crime they did not commit.” (pg.67)


Ezekiel 19:20, NASV

The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.

Luke 19:1-10, NASV

When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Responsive Prayer: Psalm 46:8-11

Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.


God of refuge and strength,  We pray for those who are terrified, living in fear, fleeing danger and seeking safety. May those who are left with nothing know that they are not forgotten. We ask for the provision of resources so that people’s needs are met. We ask for food, homes and property. We pray that the innocent be protected. We ask for the protection of family members of offenders; that they be treated with fairness. We pray for your strength for those who are caring and providing aid; may they know your help as they help others. Would you give grace to your church, as they seek to live the life that Jesus called them to and to love their neighbor, not harm their neighbor. Would you give wisdom to governments and leaders of the international community as they respond to this crisis. Give them clarity of mind and generosity of heart. We look with hope to the day when wars will cease, collective punishment will cease, and that there will be eternal peace. Amen *Adapted from Christ Church London “Prayer for Displaced Peoples”

Opportunities for Advocacy:

Listed here are a few sources that invite you to advocate for an end to Palestinian home demolitions as collective punishment: Christian Peacemaker Teams The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Passia Occupation Fact Sheet   A printable PDF version of the prayers can be found here: Prayer Vigil January 2018