Category: Prayers for Peace

Violence and chaos in the Middle East have left many around the world hopeless and feeling helpless. As followers of Jesus, we refuse to be sidetracked by the temptation to despair.

Prayers for Peace (P4P) provides a way for Christians of diverse political and theological backgrounds to stand up for peace and unite in supplication to God with a special focus on prayers for the Holy Land. Prayers for Peace provides Jesus’ followers with the common language of prayer around which to mobilize their energy and passion for the land that gave birth to our faith. To combat the prevailing images of discord, Prayers for Peace will highlightpeace-building organizations that we may pray for them as they live out the reconciliation offered in the Prophets and Jesus’ message of peace.

Prayers for Peace is thankful for the partnership of our board member organization Evangelicals for Social Action in writing and sharing these prayers.


Consider It All Joy

by Elli Atchison

Peter and Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, March 2016

Peter and Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, March 2016

Peter is special…. and it shows. This young man from Bethlehem has a twinkle in his eyes and a magnetic smile that draws a stranger in close.  Life has been challenging for him as Peter was born with hearing impairments that made learning difficult. This would ordinarily put him in a segment of Palestinian society that is marginalized and cast aside.

However, despite his inability to communicate with words, Peter is outgoing and makes friends easily.  He is a talented artist and an accomplished olive wood carver. Peter thanks the Joy School for giving him the opportunity to learn and develop these skills. Read more

Thy Kingdom Come

by Elli Atchison

Jesus was no stranger to the suffering of our world.  He experienced every trial we face today.   He did not come to immediately bring an end to sadness and suffering or poverty and injustice.  He did not come to overthrow a government or to end political occupations. He came to show us a better way to live, amidst the many tribulations that plague our world. He came that we might have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) Jesus came to usher in the Kingdom of God on earth.

During the three years Jesus traveled throughout the Holy Land, He constantly talked about the Kingdom. Many times He spoke of it in ways that confused His followers. But, His perfect actions demonstrated the lessons he wanted to teach those who chose to follow Him. The rules of the Kingdom include loving God through obedience and loving others before oneself. They include praying for enemies, refusing to retaliate against evil, and showing kindness even when others don’t. Kingdom values also teach us to trust in God to provide for our needs and all the while to embrace suffering that just does not seem fair. Read more

Jesus was no stranger to the cry for justice.  

by Elli Atchison

Throughout Scripture, God’s demand for justice is repeatedly seen. His righteousness cannot allow sin to go unpunished forever.    However, in His patient love, God often withholds the punishment that His justice demands, giving every opportunity for His people to repent and return their hearts to Him. (2 Peter 3:9)

Jesus came to this earth to be THE answer to God’s ultimate call for justice. Though He was blameless in every way, Jesus willingly took the weight of the world’s sin upon Himself. He suffered on the cross and paid the ransom of God’s justice through His own blood. This ultimate act of amazing love and mercy by Jesus was to prevent His beloved children from facing the consequences of justice that our sins rightfully deserve.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16-17) Read more

Jesus was no stranger to persecution and pain.

This is the fifth in a week long series.

by Elli Atchison

One only has to look at the final days of His ministry to see how He suffered. Jealous Jewish leaders conspired with one of Jesus’ own  disciples tJesus was no stranger to persecution and pain.o have Him arrested. Though He was unjustly accused and tried in court, “Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge” (Matt. 27:12). He faced an angry mob who chanted for His death, even though the ruling governor found Him to be innocent. He was handed over to Roman soldiers who brutally flogged His flesh, beat His body, and mocked His holy name. Finally, Jesus endured the shame and the pain of a criminal’s death by hanging on a cross. (Matt. 27:12-44)

Throughout this evil tribulation He never once defended Himself. He could have called on His Father to send more than twelve legions of angels to defend Him (Matt. 26:53). But He did not. He did not raise His hand or even His voice in self defense. His meekness was the truest sign of strength that the world will ever know.   Read more

Jesus was no stranger to death and sorrow.

This is the fourth in a week long series.

 

by Elli Atchison

Jesus lost loved ones during His time on earth.  He knows that the death of someone we love creates a hole in the heart that is hard to fill.  

It is assumed Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, passed away before His ministry began. As a young man, Jesus would have grieved the death of His earthly father. He would have had to walk through that grief with His mother Mary and his siblings. Jesus’ own cousin, John the Baptist, was unjustly imprisoned and brutally murdered by Herod Antipas. Jesus, himself being fully human, sought solitude and prayer to deal with the pain of this tragic loss. (Matt 14:10,13) He also loved a dear friend named Lazarus who became sick and died. Jesus was so deeply moved by the pain of Lazarus’ sisters and He wept openly with them. (John 11: 33,35) 

How would Jesus comfort an Israeli man who lost his wife to a violent stabbing by an angry Palestinian? Surely this husband would be justified in his feelings of bitter hate and a longing for revenge. (Exodus 21:24) Left alone to raise their children would be a constant reminder of their family’s tragic loss. The course of their lives would be forever changed.   Read more

Jesus was no stranger to a life of poverty.

This is part three of a week long series.

by Elli Atchison​

He was born in a cave to poor parents in the shepherding community of Bethlehem. As an infant, His family fled to Egypt as refugees, trying to escape a genocide of the maniacal ruler King Herod. Throughout His adult ministry He had no home of His own. In a conversation with a would be follower, Jesus made His humble lifestyle clear: ​“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” ( Matt. 8:20) ​All His life, Jesus was truly reliant upon God to provide.

So, what would Jesus say to a woman living in Gaza today?​ As He walked through the streets, He would easily see that the city still lies in rubble since the war two years ago. Controlled borders limit access to the supplies desperately needed to rebuild. Many families are still displaced and living in crowded shelters, like refugees in their own city. Simple necessities like electricity, and water are limited and rationed. But, the feelings of sadness and despair are abundant in the hearts of these suffering people. Read more

Jesus was no stranger to obedience and humble service.

This is part two of a week long series.

by Elli Atchison

Jesus was no stranger to obedience and humble service.  The King of Kings came quietly at his Father’s request.  He lived among His broken and desperate people.  He loved them and served them, literally to His death… upon on a Roman cross. But through His resurrection, He left us with hope and faith to carry on, in this troubled world. Believers know that evil will never have the final say. Ultimately His goodness will conquer all.  

Jesus desires obedience in the lives of His people. “If you love me you will obey my commands.” (John:14:15). And His commands can be summed up in two straightforward steps:  “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And then, love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark:12:29)

In Jesus’ day the Roman soldiers were everywhere in the land as He traveled. Their presence was meant to intimidate as much as it was to keep order among the people. These armed soldiers had the authority to carry out their tasks with as much force as the situation required, or their hearts’ desired. Similarly today, as one travels on the borders of the green line and throughout the West Bank, it is difficult to ignore the significant power and presence of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Read more

Jesus Was No Stranger . . .

by Elli Atchison

During Lent and Holy Week, it is appropriate for us to reflect on places in today’s time where there is loss, poverty, and pain. Throughout His life, Jesus was closest to people who had succumb to illnesses, were ignored by society, and who were experiencing rejection and suffering. This series Jesus Was No Stranger seeks to look at some of those places in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. How would Jesus respond to some of the experiences of both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians today?

Over the next week we’ll offer prayers on the themes of:

Jesus was no stranger to . . .

. . . .life under occupation

. . . .obedience and humble service

. . . . a life of poverty

. . . . death and sorrow

. . . . persecution and pain

. . . . the cry for justice

.

Then we will wrap up the series with “Thy Kingdom Come” after Easter. Read more

And a Child Shall Lead Them

What if Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas and Barrack Obama had the opportunity to meet in their youth?

What if over the course of their adolescent years these world leaders got to know each other on a personal level?

What if  they spent significant amounts of time together playing games, sharing conversations over meals, and learning about each others’ perspectives on family, faith and the problems in the world?

Would there be peace in the Holy Land today if these influential men were given the chance to be friends when they were young?

There is an amazing organization that is giving these opportunities to the leaders of tomorrow.   Kids4Peace is an empowering youth movement that seeks to create change.   Since 2002, the organization has been providing opportunities for Israeli, Palestinian, and North American kids to connect in deep and meaningful ways.   The purpose of this interfaith organization is to “end conflict and inspire hope in Jerusalem and other divided cities around the world.” Read more

Finding Jesus in the Midst of Conflict  

by Elli Atchison, World Vision

Two weeks ago I was privileged to be part of a World Vision delegation in the Holy Land. Twenty women gathered from all corners of the United States to visit people living and working in Israel and the West Bank. Most of the ladies had never been to the region before. Those of us who were returning yearned to understand the issues better.

Together we journeyed throughout the land, seeking perspectives from Israelis and Palestinians. We were also seeking spiritual insights and the wisdom of Jesus that could help us make sense of this tragic conflict.

We met so many amazing people who told the stories of their very different lives. Our days were full of listening, learning, and asking questions. And continually I challenged my companions and myself: ”You hear stories of pain on both sides of this conflict. You see the hardships of life under occupation. But, where do you see Jesus?” Read more

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