Prayer Petitions for Gaza Reconstruction, for the Cessation of Demolitions, and for an End to the Construction of the Apartheid Wall in the Cremisan Valley
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.
WORLD WEEK FOR PEACE: This month, the ACT Palestine Forum prayer vigil coincides with the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel. Our prayers remain steadfast for the reconstruction of Gaza, continue to pray for the end of demolitions in Area C, but also follow the theme for World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel: “God has broken down the dividing walls”. We specifically pray about the restart of construction of the Apartheid Wall through the Cremisan Valley and Beit Jala area.
GAZA: A year after the conflict in Gaza destroyed over 19,000 homes and left 100,000 people homeless, Israeli restrictions on building materials continue to cause delays. Reconstruction has started on just over 2,000 of the 19,000 homes destroyed last year, and not a single home has been fully rebuilt. As the conditions in Gaza have still not improved, we remember our sisters and brothers in Gaza as their suffering continues.
DEMOLITIONS IN AREA C: August saw a surge of demolitions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, with a high concentration in Area C. In one week alone, the Israeli Army destroyed 63 homes and basic structures within Area C, including 12 basic humanitarian necessities, such as solar panels, portable latrines, animal pens, and tents financed by the European Union. APF and organizations around the world call for an end to these illegal and devastating demolitions. We continue to pray for our displaced sisters and brothers, and for those facing demolition orders.
CREMISAN VALLEY: In August, Israel restarted construction of the Apartheid Wall in the Cremisan Valley, surrounding the city of Beit Jala. This section of the wall will allow for the expansion of the Israeli settlement Har Gilo and will cut off the families of Beit Jala from their farmland. Olive trees, some 1500 years old, have already been uprooted and will be replanted on what will be the Israeli side of the wall, preventing Palestinians from accessing and harvesting their historic olive groves.
ELCA LETTER TO US OFFICIALS: Many religious leaders in Beit Jala, along with both Christian and Muslim members of the Beit Jala community have been joined by internationals to hold weekly services at the site of the construction. Several of these services and marches have been met with heavy IDF resistance and tear gas. The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said in a letter to U.S. officials these actions are “very disturbing and destructive, both for those directly affected as well as the broader cause of promoting better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians and bringing to an end their too-long-standing conflict”.
APF SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER FOCUS: During the month between 24 September and 24 October 2015, the ACT Palestine Forum will focus its awareness building and advocacy efforts on seeking justice in accordance with international law for the recovery of Gaza, for the loss of homes and structures for humanitarian necessities, and for the end of construction of the Apartheid Wall. 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.
PRAYERS for 24 September 2015 and the month following:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.”
(2 Corinthians 4:8)
We pray to our Heavenly God in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Rescuer.
You, in your mighty works, O God, have sanctified this land and have made it holy. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus this land has been set apart with a special calling. The continuing political conflict that scars this land and harms all its peoples is a scandal against Your will.
We lament the many forms of violence afflicting people in this land.
We cry out for reconstruction of a destroyed Gaza and ask for the ability to live a life of dignity to be returned to the people of Gaza. Their continued suffering is a call to action to demand basic human rights for all in the Holy Land.
We cry with those whose homes are laid to ruin before their eyes and whose basic tools for livelihood are destroyed. These actions serve to demolish the hope for peace and a just future for all people.
We grieve that the barrier of separation has split Palestinian communities from one another and sharpened the divide between Palestinian and Israeli societies. This barrier has contributed nothing to justice, and less to peace.
We pray for comfort, for the strength to not lose heart.
We pray for hope, for the peace that comes when materials can be obtained to heal the destruction of war.
We pray for solace, for the knowledge that homes can be rebuilt and communities strengthened.
We pray that the wall and all similar walls will fall. We believe that the Wall is a “momentary affliction … for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4.16–18).We pray for reconciliation and for peace, as we commit to working for justice for all persons who live in this Holy Land.
As we observe this week with our sisters and brothers around the world, we ask for the strong comfort of the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice in this land. Inspire us not to be content with mere words, but to engage in acts of costly solidarity. Inspire us to be instruments of your peace, the workers of your will. “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” (Ephesians 2.14)
–Based on the “Jerusalem Prayer” for World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel.
Help make our prayers for peace be heard around the world!
Thunderclap is the first crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. What we’re trying to do with this platform is have each of you, through social media, sign up for this campaign. For each person who signs up, a message will go out on September 24th, 2015 to you and your friends asking you to pray for peace in the Holy Land and providing you with worship resources to do so.
Starting in December 2012, a number of religious organizations in the Holy Land decided to hold a prayer vigil on the 24th of every month for Palestinians and Israelis until violence ended and a just peace was announced to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
After another summer of violence, we want to ask our our brothers and sisters around the globe to pray with us for a resolution to this conflict that will see a just peace with an end to violence. We are asking for you to sign up to our Thunderclap campaign to pray for peace in the Holy Land.
Our goal is to get 100 people to join us in praying for an end to violence in the Holy Land. Your support for this Thunderclap campaign will help this message be heard around the world.
To sign up for this Thunderclap campaign, click here.
The organizers of this Thunderclap campaign are the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and the ACT Palestine Forum. The ELCJHL is a Palestinian Lutheran church that seeks to be the embodiment of Christ in the Holy Land by working as brokers of justice, ministers of reconciliation, and apostles of love in a broken land. Through their six churches, numerous schools and educational ministries, the ELCJHL is working to shape Palestinian society through education that aims to provide Christian evangelical instruction, quality training, and peace education. The ACT Palestine Forum’s objective is to increase the effectiveness and impact of the humanitarian assistance and development work being undertaken by members through improved coordination. One of the projects of the APF is to conduct joint advocacy on behalf of the members of the forum. To learn more, you can visit: http://actpalestineforum.org/. Join with brothers and sisters around the globe in praying for a just and lasting negotiated resolution to the conflict. Learn more about the ACT Palestine Forum Ecumenical Prayer Vigil here.
Source: The Lutheran World Federation – Jerusalem Program