Thursday, June 03, 2010

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Each Thursday at noon in Jerusalem, Sabeel holds a Communion service that is open to the community. It is a time to join together to celebrate the Eucharist, to discuss how the scriptures apply to our lives today, and to pray for the specific needs of this region. Following the 2006 Sabeel International Conference, the Friends of Sabeel coordinators met and discussed the idea of "Waves of Prayer." The premise is that in their respective time zones, individuals and groups around the world will pray together at 12:00 on Thursdays, in solidarity with Sabeel in Jerusalem and with "Friends of Sabeel" worldwide. Starting in Australia, passing through Palestine, and on around the world we will pray for Peace with Justice and focus on specific issues each week.

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Israeli attack on the Gaza Flotilla resulted in numerous deaths, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of arrests. Almighty God, comfort the bereaved, heal the injured, and grant freedom to the prisoners. We pray that you will strengthen each of us to do what is necessary to end the siege on Gaza. Help us to recognize and to fight the structures of oppression, wherever we may encounter them.

The Tent of Nations, a farm and peace center near Bethlehem, recently received 9 demolition orders for homes and sheds located on the property. Situated on land belonging to the Nassar family for 4 generations, the Tent of Nations is now surrounded on all sides by Israeli settlements. We pray that this latest attempt to displace Palestinians from their land will be unsuccessful. May the military occupation that enables such oppression swiftly come to an end.

This week is the World Week of Prayer for Palestine Israel. In a time when solidarity and action are met by such extreme violence, prayer is especially important. May our prayers throughout the week prevent our frustrations from turning to bitterness, encourage us to love our enemies, and remind us of the hope found in Christ.

Sabeel invites you to participate in a day of prayer and fasting in solidarity with the people of Gaza and the passengers of the flotilla. The day long fast will be held Monday, June 7. That evening, Sabeel and other Jerusalem organizations are hosting a prayer service. The litany for that service will be distributed in the next few days so that individuals and churches around the globe can join in prayerful action.***

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:

Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland

We have written a litany for Gaza that we will use during our communion service on Thursday and in the Monday prayer service that will follow our day of fasting.

Sabeel's Litany for Gaza

In the early morning, on May 31, 2010, Israeli forces intercepted a flotilla of 6 ships bound for the Gaza Strip, carrying nearly 700 people and a cargo of medical supplies, pre-fabricated homes, building supplies, and educational materials. The ships were attempting to break the internationally condemned Israeli blockade that, since June 2007, has prevented virtually all people and goods from entering or exiting the Gaza Strip (with the exception of insufficient humanitarian supplies and some aid workers). As the Israeli forces boarded the ships, at least 9 flotilla participants were killed while nearly 60 participants and 10 soldiers were injured. Eventually, all the ships were rerouted and the flotilla participants were arrested or deported. The siege on Gaza continues.

Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem will hold a day of fasting and prayer on Monday, June 7, for the members of the flotilla, the people of Gaza, and for peace in Palestine and Israel. This litany is offered as a resource for individuals and congregations to use, in part or in whole. It can be adapted and read by 2 or 3 voices. We encourage pastors to use the litany in their Sunday services.

Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord. [Jeremiah 9:23-24]

Eternal God, arbiter of justice and champion of peace, reach into the deep pit of violence, despair, and ruthlessness that shapes the lives of so many in Palestine and Israel. The nations are in an uproar, kingdoms totter, people cry out.

You, O God, are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. [Matthew 5:9]

Grant, O God, healing to the men and women injured during the Israeli military assault. Bring grace and consolation to those who mourn the dead.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled.

Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. [Hebrews 13:3]

God who has proclaimed release to the captives and freedom to the oppressed, may all who have been taken prisoner for their involvement in the flotilla return safely home. We remember these and others who are unjustly detained.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, who has sent me to proclaim release to the captives...and to let the oppressed go free.

"Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth." [Psalm 46:10]

Lord of all, make known to all in Palestine and Israel that your love extends to all people, that might is not right, that fear begets fear, that love conquers all. Give hope to the many who, in love, speak and act boldly for justice.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

From the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace. [Jeremiah 6:13-14]

God of Justice, we pray that the nations of the world will no longer stand idly by, but uphold the rights of the oppressed in Gaza, the West Bank, and around the globe . We, the peoples of many lands, "reaffirm [our] faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small." [UN Charter: Preamble]

Your judgements are just, O Lord, you will hold all nations accountable for what they have done, and also for what they have left undone.

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of justice will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. [Isaiah 32:16-18]

God who offers life in abundance, break the chains of injustice that shackle the people of Gaza. May the blockade that limits food and medicine, toys and cement, culture and trade, friendships and families be swiftly ended. May the people of Gaza and of the West Bank be brought together in unity.

They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. For like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. [Isaiah 65]

"In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." [Matthew 7:12]

God of equity, who knows no distinction between race or creed or colour, help us to be ever impatient in our encounter with injustice and abuse. As ambassadors for Christ, do not allow our hearts to be hardened, but let us live your message of justice, peace and reconciliation.

God, in your grace, transform the world.

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, May 27, 2010

Early Monday morning Israeli forces raided the East Jerusalem village of Issawiyeh and imposed a curfew on the residents, who, though living legally within the borders of Jerusalem, hold West Bank identification and cannot enter the city without prior permission. We pray for the safety of these villagers, and hope these injustices will not only be noticed, but also acted upon by the international community.

This Saturday, the Sabeel communities in Jerusalem and Nazareth will be joining church-related organizations and peace builders in conjunction with the World Week of Peace for Palestine and Israel, to lift up prayers for an end to the separation of families on both sides of the Separation Wall. May the actions of this week inspire new advocates for peace and renew our vocation to serve those in need.

We remember also prisoners of conscience all over the world, and particularly Mordechai Vanunu, the renowned whistleblower for Israel's nuclear program, who was imprisoned on Sunday, having been sentenced to serve six months in jail for allegedly breaking parole.

In the spirit of Pentecost, we pray for unity among religious and political leaders, and for the Middle East Council of Churches. We hope that in our world of turmoil and strife, our leaders will have the clarity of mind to see beyond their differences and be bold for the sake of peace and justice.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:

Botswana, Zimbabwe

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, May 20, 2010

Already, this week has seen numerous nighttime incursions into Palestinian communities by Israeli military forces. Young men from Nablus and Bethlehem have been pulled from their homes in the early morning hours and taken to undisclosed locations for questioning. We pray for the many families terrorized by this tactic each week.

Nine ships have set sail for Gaza, bearing some 10,000 tons of reconstruction supplies for the 1.5 million besieged Palestinians living there. The Freedom Flotilla has confirmed their intention to sail in spite of Israel's naval blockade and previous attempts to ram supply ships. May the much needed supplies reach port without incident and we pray that other movements to end the siege of Gaza will be inspired by this courageous nonviolent action.

The World Council of Churches is inviting people to join in a week of advocacy and action for a just peace in Palestine and Israel from May 29 to June 4. As groups to pray, educate and advocate for a just peace, we pray that many people will use this opportunity to put their faith-inspired commitment to justice into practice. We also give thanks for the inspiring and exciting events that will be held in communities around the world.

For more information, visit

Later this week in Nazareth, Sabeel will host a Bible study for children from various denominations. The children will explore the theme "The Feast of Ascension and Pentecost" and will participate in activities and crafts. We pray for the many ways that the seeds of ecumenism and tolerance are sown in each generation. May we always be mindful of the examples we set and the lessons we teach.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:

Malawi, Zambia

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