The Need to Pray
In light of the shocking Hamas attack on October 7 and the Israeli response, urgent prayer is needed by Christians for the people of Israel and Palestine. In numbers, 1,400 people were killed in the initial Hamas attack with 199 people taken hostage. Israel’s air campaign in heavily populated northern Gaza has killed a reported 2,800. Thousands more have been injured. Now, Israel has warned all 1.1 million inhabitants of northern Gaza to evacuate while cutting off vital supplies from Gaza. A humanitarian catastrophe on a dramatic scale is emerging.
We encourage pastors to find ways to foster individual and corporate prayer for the people of Israel and Gaza among your congregations. Corporate prayers not only are a fitting response to tragedies on this scale, but are important expressions of the local Body of Christ and teach the Christ-like response to world events (especially in contrast to political narratives which promote hate and vengeance). Further, in addition to intercessions for the protection of the innocent and the end of violence, consider the ancient practice of lament to recognize the tragedy and human cost of these events. In addition to prayer, consider exploring how your congregation may contribute to civilian relief or to help refugees displaced by violence in your own community.
Praying for Just and Lasting Peace Together
Different confessions and communities will pray differently. We urge you to find the words for your community which best express the heart of our Lord Jesus for those who suffer, the preservation of life, and the creation of a just and lasting peace where the gospel may prosper.
Subscribers to TPW may make use of our resources for resources or inspiration in planning your prayers and services.
Long-time contributor and liturgist Lisa DeGrenia reached out to TPW to recommend a prayer for peace between Israel and Palestine along with a prayer she wrote for Gaza, which we include below.
A Prayer for Israeli-Palestinian Solidarity
by Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger (A founder of Roots)
Our Father in heaven,
Creator of all humanity,
Whose mercies are upon all His creatures and
Whose love is withheld from none.
Who has sanctified the Holy Land from the River to the Sea
and placed here both Palestinians and Israelis,
Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Let our unique and particular covenants with You
never blind us to Your love of all Your creatures.
May our love of You,
of our nation and of the land,
never prevent us from loving the other peoples of this land of Yours,
and may it never prevent us from honoring their love of this land.
Help us to break free of the hubris of exclusivity
that imprisons us in a narrow perspective
and allows us to be concerned only about our own.
Help us to heal our suspicions, fears, and hatreds
and to aspire towards harmony and brotherhood.
Help us to fully see the humanity of all
and to expand our concern, our identities,
and the circles of our love
to embrace all the peoples of this land.
Help us to remember that our fates are intertwined
and that our destiny is to live together;
that one people’s pain, suffering, loss or restriction
will only bring the same for the other;
and that the welfare and the happiness of one
depends on the welfare and the happiness of the other.
Elevate our wills
to desire for the other
what we desire for our own people.
Grant us the courage and the strength
to join forces to search together
and to dedicate ourselves
to the implementation of the common good
of all the peoples of this land of Yours.
In this way may we bring joy to Your land and gladness to Your city,
and may You look favorably upon us and bless us all with peace.
Hanan Schlesinger, shared through Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International copyleft license
A Prayer for Gaza
by Lisa Ann Moss DeGrenia
Prince of Peace, hear our cry
For your beloved in Gaza, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories
It’s been that way for far too long
We trust you weep with the injured and grieving
We trust you companion the homeless and abducted
We trust your healing, saving work continues
Bring freedom for all trapped in cycles of oppression and violence
Bring understanding for all chained to manipulation and intolerance
Bring new life from chaos and devastation
despair and death
May streams flow with lasting justice and provision
May deserts blossom with your shalom, salam, and grace
May all involved, in this time, in this place, know the victory of your goodness
For you are the One True Living God
Sovereign, Suffering, Savior
Hope and Home, forever
A Prayer for Gaza © 2023 by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com
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