Prayers to Embrace the Holy Land — Home of the Tongues of Pentecost

These prayers were written in Great Britain for Christian Aid, a church relief and development organisation in the United Kingdom and formed part of a Lenten pilgrimage by Graham Sparkes and Anthea Cox.

1) Loving God

We pray for children living with the conflict in Israel and Palestine.
For children living with destroyed homes and broken family life.
For children living without the opportunity of education.
For children living with minds and bodies damaged by the terror and violence.
We remember especially the work of the YMCA and the YWCA in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the many children they embrace with love and compassion. We ask that workers and helpers may find within themselves the resources to bring care, help and hope in difficult circumstances. Give to medical staff special skill and understanding, enabling them to work effectively despite the restrictions they face. \
As shattered lives are slowly rebuilt, we pray for the gift of new beginnings, that those who could see only a desperate future may find themselves living a vision of peace.
Amen.

Caves – Bethlehem in Palestine at the YMCA where shepherds watched their flocks

2) God of us all:
You called Sarah and Abraham to risk everything in the journey of faith,
To leave familiarity behind in the search for a new country,
And so to be a channel of blessing for generations to come.
We remember the many who find in their story the inspiration for their own faith today.
For Jews, Christians and Muslims.
May the trust shown by Sarah and Abraham enable us to trust one another,
Discovering new depths of respect and understanding.
May the courage shown by Sarah and Abraham mark our own pilgrimage,
Reaching out hands to one another across all that threatens to divide and alienate.
May the blessing that was known by Sarah and Abraham be poured out on us,
In seeking your peace and living your peace within the world we share.
Amen.

On the border

3) As we remember Hebron and all places where barriers divide…
One: To those who are denied the opportunity to travel freely:
All: Lord, bring the hope of freedom.
One: To those who cannot move from one place to another without the indignity of being stopped and searched:
All: Lord, bring the hope of freedom.
One: To those who have lost their livelihoods because of barriers and closures and checkpoints:
All: Lord, bring the hope of freedom.
One: To those who are separated from family and friends, and who are unable to delight in a shared meal:
All: Lord, bring the hope of freedom.
One: To those who cannot see through the divides and recognise the human in the other:
All: Lord, bring the hope of freedom.
One: To those whose minds and hearts have been closed by hatred and enmity:
All: Lord, bring the hope of freedom.
One: To those who are imprisoned by the past and afraid of the future:
All: Lord, bring the hope of freedom. Amen

Walls

4) One: Compassionate God
In the silence, we listen to the cries that are carried to us.
The cries of a child whose sleep is broken by rocket fire and the shouts of soldiers.
The cries of a soldier who knows they are brutalised by what they have to do.
The cries of a family whose hearts are broken remembering those no longer with them.
The cries of all broken and scarred communities who long for peace.
All: Compassionate God, In the silence, we cry out to you.
One: For our acceptance of violence as normal and everyday.
For our failure to seek peace and to make peace.
For our participation in powers and systems that oppress.
For our failure to speak for justice and live for justice.
Hear our cries of pain and lament – the cries in our hearts.
Come and heal us with mercy and grace.
All: Compassionate God, Hear the cries of the world. Amen.

Sunset over Jerusalem

5) As we remember Gaza…
We pray in solidarity with the lives of women who have yearned for peace as they have nurtured their lovers and their children.
We pray in solidarity with the lives of women who have wept for peace as they have received the torn bodies of those they love.
We pray in solidarity with the lives of women who have held the keys and remembered in their hearts a place that is home.
We pray in solidarity with the lives of women who have worked to teach and heal and lead as their communities are violated.
Vulnerable God we join our prayers with those of many others.
May peace and justice come. Amen.

Olive press in Capernaum

6) In the taste of milk and honey, tender lamb and salt water, bitter herbs and lemons, olives and lentils, we experience sensations of the land many call ‘holy’.
We taste and see. We seek to understand.
Disturbing God, challenge our assumptions and prejudices that we may learn to seek your peace. Amen.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.