The news, since last month, has been horrific, with reports about the loss of huge numbers of innocent lives in the Middle East, and the current crisis in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The conflict has been going on for many years and the situation is complex. Media reports can often leave us confused or sometimes misinformed. One of the focuses of the seminars at the Greenbelt Festival which we, as a family, have attended for many years, has been the difficulties in the Middle East, with the festival having hosted many different speakers sharing their own personal stories of living in Palestine and Israel. I don’t in any way profess to be an expert on the situation but, since this last outbreak of violence, Greenbelt have shared some of their recorded talks and seminars online. Should you wish to listen to any of these, please do let me know and I would be happy to send you the links.
It is very easy to feel helpless when witnessing such atrocities in the news, but one thing we can all commit to do is to pray.It is important that we pray, not only for relief for all those who suffer but for organisations such as Embrace the Middle East, Christian Aid and the Amos Trust, to name just a few, who are working hard to bring about greater understanding in order to bring about justice and peace.
The following words may help us as we come before God.
We pray without ceasing for justice, reconciliation, peace,
and an end to hatred and war.
We also pray for God to change the hearts of all leaders and decision-makers
in our countries and around the world.
For we are in dire need of hearts that love, show mercy,
and are willing to live in unity with others—
hearts that respect human dignity and choose life rather than death.
Bishop Hosam E. Naoum, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem
God, hear our prayers for peace in the Middle East.
May all people in the region be protected, safe from harm.
We pray that this crisis will end now, with no further loss of life.
God, may the injured and distressed know your healing presence.
May the powerful and the decision-makers follow the paths of justice, mercy and peace.
We pray for recognition of the dignity and value of every life.
May the clamour of violence cease,
Replaced by the beating of swords into ploughshares.
God, in your name,
O God of all justice and peace,
we cry out to you in the midst of the pain and trauma of violence and fear
which prevails in the Holy Land.
Be with those who need you in these days of suffering;
we pray for people of all faiths – Jews, Muslims and Christians
and for all people of the land.
While we pray to you, O Lord, for an end to violence and the establishment of peace,
we also call for you to bring justice and equity to the peoples.
Guide us into your kingdom,
where all people are treated with dignity and honour as your children,
for to all of us you are our Heavenly Father.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The Very Revd Canon Richard Sewell, Dean of St George’s College Jerusalem.
With my prayers for you all.
Take care and God bless,