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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:

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 December Prayers

December 21, 2016 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 December 2016 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 Kairos Palestine for contributing to this month’s prayers.


ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 December 2016

A Message of Hope

Kairos Palestine is a Christian Palestinian movement which advocates for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict. In 2009, Kairos Palestine issued the Kairos Document “A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope, and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering”, which calls on the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine against the Israeli occupation. The Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert 2016 is a reflection on the seasons of Advent and Christmas. It contains scripture, prayers, reflections, and updates that remind us of the realities of life under military occupation, especially the injustices faced by children of Palestine. However, it also contains a message of hope. This Christmas, let us remember the good news proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem and turn our hearts toward love, justice, and peace for Palestine.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:1-12

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman World. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angel had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

REFLECTION

“What is the Meaning of Hope” – Kairos Palestine Document, Chapter 3.2

Hope within us means first and foremost our faith in God and secondly our expectation, despite everything, for a better future. Thirdly, it means not chasing after illusions – we realize that release is not close at hand. Hope is the capacity to see God in the midst of trouble, and to be co-workers with the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us. From this vision derives the strength to be steadfast, remain firm and work to change the reality in which we find ourselves. Hope means not giving in to evil but rather standing up to it and continuing to resist it. We see nothing in the present or future except ruin and destruction. We see the upper hand of the strong, the growing orientation towards racist separation and the imposition of laws that deny our existence and our dignity. We see the confusion and division in the Palestinian position. If, despite all this, we do resist this reality today and work hard, perhaps the destruction that looms on the horizon may not come upon us.

PRAYERS: H.B. Patriarch Michael Sabbah 

Thank you, O Lord, for coming among us. Humbly, you wanted to become our companion on earth, The earth rejoiced, and the angels chanted in the sky: “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth for all people of peace.” Thank you, Lord, for coming among us in our land.

Yet, Lord, we are in war. Save us from the spirit of war and death. Lord, we rejoice in the day of your Nativity, We rejoice because you came to live with us. To you we raise our prayers. Take away war from your land.

To you O Lord, on this Christmas day, we raise our prayers for our children. Grant them peace and fill them with the joy of Christmas, and Peace. Lord, keep them away from death prevailing in our land.

Death is part of their life too. They too are killed. O Lord, have mercy on them and fill them with your love. O Lord, remove war and death from the hearts of their jailers and those who kill them. Fill the hearts of those also with the joy of Christmas. Renew their hearts and the face of our land.

O Lord, you said: Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them. Do not put death in their life; do not deprive them of love. Protect their childhood and innocence. Keep them among us as angels of peace; Angels who love and do not hate.

Though war killed them also, destroyed their humanity, and filled their hearts with war, death and hatred. No one incites them. No one speaks to them about war. Yet their daily life is full with war.

Their daily bread is war. In their parent’s eyes they see pain and war, a war imposed upon them. In the absence of loved ones: a father, a brother or sister, they knew death.

You came to give us and give them love and abundant life, Life with light and joy, free of darkness and hate. Lord, give us the joy of life and love. Give the joy of life and love to those who obstinately want us to remain in war, death, under occupation and humiliation.


For more information on the work of Kairos Palestine, visit www.kairospalestine.ps

A printable version of this month’s Prayer Vigil can be found here.

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 November 2016 Prayers

November 25, 2016 – Prayer Petitions: 24 November 2016

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 authoring this month‘s prayers.

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers 24 November 2016

Prayer Focus: “Reaffirming Our Commitment to Fundamental Freedoms and the Protection of Human Rights”

The ACT Palestine prayers for 24 November – 23 December are written to coordinate with two upcoming United Nations international days: 29 November:

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

"Today, 136 countries recognize the State of Palestine and its flag flies at the United Nations next to those of all Member States. However, these advances are not felt by children in Gaza, or by the residents of Nablus, Hebron and East Jerusalem [...] let us reaffirm our commitment to bring about the just peace that the peoples of Israel and Palestine deserve.

-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Message on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

http://www.un.org/en/events/palestinianday/index.shtml

10 December: Human Rights Day

This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone's rights! Many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading. Disrespect for basic human rights continues to be wide-spread in all parts of the globe. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on our fears. Humane values are under attack.

We must reaffirm our common humanity. Wherever we are, we can make a real difference. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media.The time for this is now. We the peoples can take a stand for rights. And together, we can take a stand for more humanity.

http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/

Scripture

Then God said, 'Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.‘

Genesis 1:26

When he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor.‘

Luke 4:16-19

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

'See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.‘

Revelation 21:1-4

Prayer of Confession

Holy God, we confess:

In the beginning, we were made in your image.

In the beginning, you gave each of us your likeness, so that if we want to see you, if we want to know you, we must only look into the eyes of our neighbor.

In the beginning, we were created to be in relationship: cooperating, co-working, and co-creating your kingdom.

But from the beginning, we have failed to acknowledge your image in our neighbors.

From the beginning, we have created division, built walls, and justified violence and hatred, often in your name.

From the beginning, we have failed to speak out when our neighbors were hungry, homeless, or denied freedoms, but have sought our own comfort and protected our own interests. By what we have done—and by what we have failed to do—we have denied the rights of our fellow human beings.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Let your Son Jesus‘ concern for the poor and the marginalized inspire us. Let the prophet‘s vision of a world with no more pain, no more crying, and no more death, revive our vision of a world with no separation walls, no checkpoints, no war, and no occupation.

And by your Spirit, send us to speak and act for peace, justice, and human rights for all. Let this be a new day, and a new beginning—not only for Palestine, but for all of your beloved creation.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Suggested Music

For Everyone Born - by Shirley Erena Murray

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYQus85djK8

For everyone born, a place at the table, for everyone born, clean water and bread, a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing, for everyone born, a star overhead, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

For woman and man, a place at the table, revising the roles, deciding the share, with wisdom and grace, dividing the power, for woman and man, a system that's fair, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

For young and for old, a place at the table, a voice to be heard, a part in the song, the hands of a child in hands that are wrinkled, for young and for old, the right to belong, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

For just and unjust, a place at the table, abuser, abused, with need to forgive, in anger, in hurt, a mindset of mercy, for just and unjust, a new way to live, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

For everyone born, a place at the table, to live without fear, and simply to be, to work, to speak out, to witness and worship, for everyone born, the right to be free, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

A printable version of this month's prayers is available here: APF Prayers November 2016.

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 October 2016 Prayers

October 21, 2016 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 October 2016 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. We are called to pray for an end to hostilities and bloodshed, for healing and reconciliation, and for a just and lasting peace that brings safety and development to all Palestinians and Israelis.

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 Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Center for contributing to this month’s prayers.

 ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 October 2016

Prayer Focus: Forcible Transfer

Issues of land and housing continue to present some of the most pressing challenges of the Israeli Occupation as a whole. The forcible transfer of Palestinians throughout the occupied Palestinian territories has seen a dramatic increase in the year 2016 and populations in the West Bank, particularly Bedouin communities, are especially vulnerable. These communities are at risk because Israeli practices have created a coercive environment that puts pressure on them to move, mainly through the unavailability of building permits, which are almost impossible to acquire. As of August 2016, 786 Palestinian-owned structures had been demolished in 2016, cumulatively displacing 1,197 people, 558 of whom are children. Over 200 of the demolished structures were provided as humanitarian relief (source: UNOCHA).

The forcible transfer of protected persons from their normal place of residence is prohibited under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which also forbids deportations outside an occupied territory. The UN Secretary General has pointed out that the relocation of communities against their will, including as a result of the creation of a coercive environment, may amount to individual and mass forcible transfer. These transfers are often on land that has been designated for settlement expansion and the proposed relocation areas are inadequate to support the traditional herding and grazing lifestyle of the Bedouin, undermining both their livelihood and their culture.

 

Scripture Isaiah 58:6-7

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

This Scripture passage reminds us of God’s mission to restore justice and our participation in that mission. Please join us in praying for the courage to recognize and name the injustices we see in Palestine and Israel and for the strength to continue to seek peace through justice. We pray for those whose humanity goes unrecognized and whose dignity is stripped by unjust policies.

PRAYER

Let us pray for justice and righteousness for all of God’s creation:

(I. leader, II. congregation)

I. God, thank you for the miracle that we can meet in this fragmented world.

II. Thank you for the love in the midst of a world of hatred.

I. Thank you for reconciliation in the midst of a world of hatred.

II. Thank you for the light in the midst of a world of darkness.

I. Now we ask you, God, glorify your name through us.

II. Thank you for your Son who is the light of the world.

I. Call us to you and send us as lights in the world.

II. God, let the miracle happen.

  Holy God, where ignorance, self-love, and insensitivity have fractured life in the community, Give us your light, O God of love. Where injustice and oppression have broken the spirit of your peoples, especially in Palestine and Israel, Give us your light, O God who frees. Where hunger and poverty, illness and death have made life an unbearable burden, especially in Gaza, among the Bedouin, and in refugee camps, Give us your light, O God of grace. Where suspicion and hatred, conflict and war have challenged your goodness, especially in Palestine and Israel, and in many other places in our world, Give us your light, O God of peace. Where terror and extremism seek power and control, and where fear poisons human relationships, especially in Europe and the Middle East, Give us a perfect love which casts out fear, O God. Eternal God, remove the blindness of nations and people so that they may walk in the light of love. Remove the ignorance and stubbornness of nations and peoples so that they may drink from the fountains of your goodness. Receive these prayers in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (based on a prayer by Per Harling, from the WCC publication “Worshipping Ecumenically”, 1995)   For more information on Forcible Transfers, check out these articles and resources: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – occupied Palestinian Territories OCHA – Who is at risk of forcible transfer? Ma’an News -Forcible transfer of Bedouin communities JPost – Israel to transfer 46 West Bank Bedouin communities Diakonia – Displacement and Forcible Transfer   Please find a printable version here: APF Prayers October 2016  

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 September 2016 Prayers

October 3, 2016 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 September 2016

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.

We are called to pray for an end to hostilities and bloodshed, for healing and reconciliation, for the cessation of house demolitions, for an end to the siege on Gaza, and a just and lasting peace that brings safety and development to all Palestinians and Israelis.

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 authoring this month‟s prayers.

24 September 2016

Prayer Focus: Family Unification

Everybody has the right to a family and families are entitled to protection by society and State. But because Palestinians who hold Jerusalem ID cards are permanent residents of Israel and not full citizens of the State of Israel, these rights and protections are not afforded equally.

If a Palestinian from Jerusalem and a Palestinian from the West Bank decide to get married, the couple has to apply for family unification at the Ministry of Interior in order to live together in Jerusalem. Until 2002, in most cases - following a long examination and period of waiting, often several years - the Ministry granted the status, enabling the couple to live together in Israel. But in 2002 the Israeli Government stopped processing all family unification applications, seriously impacting families across the occupied Palestinian territories.

Scripture: Matthew 13:4-6

Jesus answered, "Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”? and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.‟

This Scripture passage is from Jesus‟ teaching on divorce. However, we also may look to this passage this month, as we are praying specifically for Palestinian families divided as a result of the Separation Wall and the tactics of the Occupation. We remember how Jesus said “they are no longer two, but one flesh,” and “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

When walls, checkpoints, identity cards, and policies separate husbands and wives, children and grandchildren, it hurts not only one family, but an entire society. Please join us in prayer for the reunification of the many Palestinian families separated as a result of the Occupation.

PRAYER FOR THE UNIFICATION OF FAMILIES

Holy God, as you are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Eternally in relationship within your Divine Self as one-in-three and three-in-one, so you have created us, in your image, to be in relationship with one another. You have given us the gifts of marriage and family, of love and friendship. When families are divided, we know that it grieves your heart as it does ours.

We pray today for Palestinian families divided by geography, by walls, by checkpoints, by identification cards, by occupation. Deepen their love for one another. Encourage them when the wait for unification is long. Strengthen relationships between fathers, mothers, children, and grandparents, in spite of all that threatens to tear them apart.

We pray for a change in the policies which keep West Bank, Jerusalem, and Israeli Palestinian residents from living full and dignified lives. We pray for those in power to see the suffering these policies place on children and families. We pray for expedited applications. Above all, we pray for equal rights for all Arab and Israeli residents of Palestine and Israel, and an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.

We pray this in the confidence that our Lord Jesus Christ has already broken down the dividing wall, that is the hostility between us. He is our peace. He is our hope.

To you, O Lord, we offer these prayers, and at the same time we offer our hands and our lives, that we may become answers to our own prayers.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

For more information on the challenges facing Palestinian families regarding unification, please visit the following pages:

Society of Saint Yves B'Tselem

Please find a printable version here: APF Prayers September 2016

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 July 2016 Prayers

July 25, 2016 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 July 2016

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.

We are called to pray for an end to hostilities and bloodshed, for healing and reconciliation, for the cessation of house demolitions,  for an end to the siege on Gaza, and a just and lasting peace that brings safety and development to all Palestinians and Israelis.

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.  

PRAYERS for 24 July 2016 and the month following:

Oh God, source of all goodness and compassion, grant that your holy and life-giving Spirit may move among us, giving light and courage to the refugee, the immigrant and the most vulnerable in society, and ushering in the day that all may live in safety and security. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer. God of refuge and strength, when the earth trembles and shakes, when hearts are discouraged and tired, when husbands and wives are not permitted to live together, and when whole families despair because they have been forced from their homes, grant that your love and life-sustaining power will flow, energizing, uniting, protecting and freeing all your children who struggle to keep hope alive. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer. O God of many names and many nations, with wonderful diversity of languages and cultures you created all people in your image. Free us from prejudice and fear, that we may see your face in the faces of people around the world. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer. Gracious God of truth, lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth. Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust. Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace. Let peace fill our hearts, our world, and our universe. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer. God of justice and love, embolden advocates and activists to speak truth to power. Strengthen teachers and social workers, pastors and bishops, doctors and lawyers, farmers and laborers who dare to risks for peace, justice and healing to all of humanity.  Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer. We pray for our leaders, whose daily work and decisions affect the lives of so many around the world. Give them wisdom and show them how to bring security to the world without using evil to try to overcome evil. Give them your grace that, amid the clamor of war, they may seek a new path to prosperity and freedom for all. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer. God of reconciliation, deliverer of the weak and powerless, protector of the widow and orphan, who welcomed the sinners, the outsiders and strangers, and healed the suffering ones: open our eyes and ears and hearts to the suffering of the people in Israel and Palestine. Empower us to use the resources you have so abundantly given us, to bring about the peace that will put an end to their strife. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer. God of hospitality, break down the walls that sever us from one another, so that we may see clearly the image of God in those we have once called our enemies. Grant us an eagerness to forgive and be forgiven and courage to recognize and embrace each other as brother and sister. All of this, and everything else that is needed for wholeness in the Holy Land, we pray, through your son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. Please find a printable version here: APF Prayers July 2016

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 June 2016 Prayers

June 23, 2016 –

 

ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Prayer Petitions for Faith and Unity

Friday, 24 June 2016

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.

This month’s prayers were written by Uffe Gjerding from DanChurchAid. Included are two prayers that can be used interchangeably and a poem that can be used for discussion, reflection, or an addition to a service. We hope that you will join us throughout the year in building awareness and calling for an end to decades of occupation. APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers. We will be uploading all resources to the APF website and including updates on the Facebook page for your convenience and participation.  

INTRODUCTION TO THIS MONTH’S PRAYERS

John 17:21: “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also maybe in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

This Bible text is a central part of Christ’s message shortly before his crucifixion, where addressed to his Father in heaven, but equally to us in the Christian community until this day. He must have realized that without unity in the church, the ability of the church to fulfill its witness in the world – in mission and in service – would not be credible. Fortunately, the ecumenical movement has demonstrated over the past approximately 100 years, that in spite of all our differences and diversity, we can act and witness together to the world if we so desire. The World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance are a proof of this. We have made progress, but we still need to keep Christ’s words before us in our prayers as a constant challenge to us.

PRAYERS

In the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen God of life, who cares for all of creation, and calls us to justice and peace, may our security not come from arms, but from respect. May our force not be of violence, but of love. May our wealth not be in money, but in sharing. May our path not be of ambition, but of justice. May our victory not be from vengeance, but in forgiveness. May our unity not be in the quest for power, but in vulnerable witness to do your will. Open and confident, may we defend the dignity of all creation, sharing, today and forever, the bread of solidarity, justice and peace. This we ask in the name of Jesus, your holy Son, our brother, who, as a victim of our violence, even from the heights of the cross, gave forgiveness to us all. Amen.   (Alternatively) Almighty God, breathe into us the wind of unity that recognizes our diversity,                    Breathe into us tolerance that welcomes and makes us community, Breathe into us fire that unites what is torn apart and heals what is ill,                    Breathe into us grace that overcomes hatred and frees us from violence, Breathe into us life that faces down and defeats death,                    Blessed be the God of mercy, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and makes all things new. Amen.
 

Say No to Peace!

Say "No" to peace if what they mean by peace is the quiet misery of hunger, the frozen stillness of fear, the silence of broken spirits, the unborn hopes of the oppressed.

Tell them that peace is the shouting of children at play, the babble of tongues set free, the thunder of dancing feet, and a father's voice singing.

Say "No" to peace, if what they mean by peace is a rampart of gleaming missiles, the arming of distant wars, money at ease in its castle, and grateful poor at the gate.

Tell them that peace is the hauling down of flags, the forging of guns into ploughs, the giving of fields to the landless, and hunger a fading dream.

Brian Wren

A printable PDF version can be found here: APF June Prayer Vigil 2016

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 May 2016 Prayers

May 26, 2016 –

ACT PALESTINE FORUM

PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Prayer Petitions for the Healing Presence of the Resurrection

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

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.

Resurrection This month, we lift up prayers for our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine who live under the threat of violence and humiliation. The prayers, written by ACT Palestine Forum member, International Orthodox Christian Charities, focus on the peace the resurrection of Jesus Christ brings into the world. During the month, we will continue to pray for Palestinians and Israelis, and advocate for non-violent means of pursuing justice. We invite you to prepare and send prayer petitions for us to share on the APF website. 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. The creators recommend having two readers in addition to a leader. If the leader will prepare a short reflection, IOCC has the following suggestions that could be used:
  1. External rules, like fasting, are not an end in themselves, but are intended
  2. to sensitize us to the suffering around us so that we lose the bonds of wickedness, remove the heavy burdens that people carry, help the oppressed and disenfranchised, etc. as the reading in Isaiah states.
  3. The work that we continue only happens completely when we allow the Holy Spirit to empower us as promised by Christ in Acts, as He reminds the Apostles after His resurrection.
  4. And that our followership of Christ is evidenced in our love for one another.

Please use the prayers, attached here: APF May Prayer Vigil.

 

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 February 2016 Prayers

February 24, 2016 –

ACT PALESTINE FORUM

PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Prayer Petitions for the Season of Lent 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

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.

This month, we lift up prayers for our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine who live under continued acts of violence and humiliation. We focus our prayers this month on the time of fasting in Lent, and how we can turn our sacrifice towards the needs of others. We continue to pray for a just and lasting peace solution in Israel and Palestine. Therefore, we invite you to use these prayers throughout the coming 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. Please use and distribute the PRAYERS below.  

PRAYERS

L1: In this season of Lent, as we make our spiritual journey through the wilderness and prepare as a faith community to meet the risen Christ at Easter, we are reminded that God calls us to lives rooted in justice. We pray for a change of heart that we may be in right relationship with God and neighbor alike. Our fast is from indifference to people living in poverty and suffering oppression. L2: Let us join together with our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel, as we do on the 24th of every month, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, of Israel, and of Palestine. L1: O God, our creator… L2: Where people live with suspicion and fear, violence and retaliation, uncertainty and upheaval as their constant companions, C: Grant that your holy and life-breathing Spirit may move among us, breaking down walls that divide, building up shattered lives and homes, giving light to the refugee and courage to the most vulnerable members of society, ushering in the day that all may live in safety and security. L1: God of hope… L2: When hearts are discouraged and tired, where political prisoners are separated from their loved ones, when workers and students cross checkpoints daily in order to work or learn or visit family, when whole families despair as their homes are demolished before their eyes, C: Grant that your love and life-sustaining power will fill your children, encouraging, energizing, freeing, uniting and protecting all who struggle to keep hope alive. L1: O God, source of all goodness and compassion… L2: Where unemployment is staggeringly high, where many have difficult access to medical care and basic necessities, where land and water and other resources are taken illegally, C: Reveal your justice and life-giving grace to us, opening our eyes, inspiring leaders to work for the common good.  Embolden advocates and activists to speak truth to power. Strengthen teachers, social workers, pastors and bishops, scientists and lawyers, farmers and laborers, and all who help in the delivery of humanitarian services to ensure that everyone may access their fair portion of the abundance of our shared earth. L1: God of peace… L2: Where there is reliance on the force of arms to frighten, harm or subjugate a neighbor, where children cannot walk to school without the threat of being attacked along the way, where farmers cannot harvest their crops without being harassed, C: Grant that your righteousness and life-affirming presence be proclaimed, challenging Israelis and Palestinians to follow a nonviolent path toward the end of the occupation, agitating for the protection of human rights, and comforting those whose lives have been afflicted by abuse and violence. L1: God of reconciliation… L2: Where relationships are broken and never restored, where people are isolated from each other and from the goods and services that alleviate suffering, where political processes meant to restore dignity produce only cynicism, anger, and indifference, C: Grant that your mercy and life-restoring steadfastness may astound us, animating in us an eagerness to forgive and be forgiven.  Empower individuals, communities, and nations to be generous and tenderhearted. Bless Palestinians and Israelis who dare to take risks for peace. Guide and refresh all those who accompany them. L1: Open the eyes of Palestinians and Israelis so that they may witness your image in the eyes of the other and recognize that the freedom and security of one people is dependent on the freedom and security of the other, L2: Accompany our journey through these forty days. Renew us in the gift of baptism, that we may provide for those who are poor, pray for those in need, fast from self-indulgence, and above all that we may find our treasure in the life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. C: Amen.   A printable PDF version of the prayers: APF Prayers February 2016  

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