Prayers4Peace: May Prayers from CMEP Team
We at CMEP believe in putting faith into action; in the pursuit of justice and peace, it is important to remember that prayer is action. We want to encourage all to join us in praying over the Middle East, and over the different issues that weigh heavy on our hearts. Below are some of the thoughts and prayers from CMEP staff. Please be encouraged to add your own prayers below this blog in the “comments” section.
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director:
When I was in Palestine last, a fog came over Bethlehem where it was hard to see where you were going. This picture (right) is the road to Beit Jala heading up the hill. The fog felt so synonymous to what hope looks like right now. We can barely see it in the distance. Pray that darkness would clear and peace would find a way forward. Pray for hope to manifest and justice to prevail.
Jennifer Maidrand, Outreach Manager
Creator God–God of sun and wind and water and fire, God of land–we thank you for the gift of life that we all have been given today. With the breath of your spirit in our lungs, we cry out to you, oh Lord, for justice. We pray specifically that the Nassar family’s court date will be heard on Monday and that their family will be allowed to re-register for their land. God of the oppressed, we pray that you strengthen the Nassar family and those throughout Palestine, Gaza, and Israel who have committed themselves to loving their enemies and working fervently for justice. Equip and sustain us to continue knocking on the door of justice. For all who have had to battle for their land and their home, for all the children who have died before their time, for the soldiers who allow their uniform to strip them of their humanity, for the healers who are denied the opportunity to use their gifts, Lord, hear our prayer.2 Oh God of radical forgiveness and love, let us continue to practice a resurrection kind of living and build together your vision for the kingdom of heaven on earth.
- This prayer was shared by Jennifer Maidrand at the virtual prayer gathering for the Tent of Nations on May 12, 2023.
- This line was adapted for an anonymously authored Prayer for Victims and Perpetrators of Injustice, which can be found at https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/justice-prayers
Fayelle Ewuakye, Communications Coordinator:
Growing up, the struggles of the Middle East were always so far away. I never knew much about why there was fighting; I didn’t know who the Palestinians were; I heard government officials say “peace in the Middle East” but my awareness ended there. Now, working with CMEP, my heart is both overjoyed to know many wonderful people of the land and also broken to know the details of daily life in an area where so many struggle to survive. My heart yearns to support the beautiful lives throughout the Middle East. Just as strongly, I want others to know what I have come to know. I feel beautifully burdened to get the information to the masses online in the social sphere. Ignorance should no longer be a viable excuse. People need to hear something that causes them to pause, and which awakens the yearning that, I believe, lives in every human heart – the longing for all humanity, all image bearers of God, to have life and have it abundantly.
Many dismiss social media as fruitless and without meaning and I push back – never before have we been able to connect like we can now, nor have we been able to know what’s happening around the world with immediacy. Thanks to this connectedness, people from around the world can connect and pray together for the Tent of Nations. Christian leaders from Iraq can speak about the realities of their lives to me in Southeast USA. I can watch international protests, read pressing news, hear personal stories, or donate to causes about which I care deeply: for all of these things, I am grateful. I cannot go to the Middle East today and be with the people suffering. But I can hear their voices, smile at their beauty, and take action in my government. Most of us reading this blog post have immense privilege and can help those who cry out. May we never stop learning, listening, or loving.
Kevin Vollrath, Manager of Middle East Partnerships:
At the time of writing, Gaza weighs heavy on many hearts. The death count from Israeli airstrikes continues to rise, along with the number of children killed and injured. Transport of people and goods into Israel remains closed.
This image (of the beach in Gaza) reminds me of two things. First, that there is more to Gaza than war. It has beautiful potential. Second, that even when there are no bombs or rockets, its population of 2.2 million still lives under military blockade and severe poverty. Let us continue to pray for peace and justice for Gaza, and not just during news cycles of violence.
Adysen Moylan, Trips Coordinator:
As I read the news daily, following reports of new home demolitions, bombs dropped in Gaza, or court cases controlling the future of people with which I have shared a meal, I am often asking God what to pray for in this seemingly endless despair. It is much too easy to feel that God is not near because of this sorrow and thus miss the reality of what He is doing. In the quiet, comfort of my home, I am reminded that my desire for peace comes from my Father and the Spirit intercedes when I am at a loss for words.
You do not need to work for an organization like CMEP, travel to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, or lead a delegation to make a difference. By the Spirit of God, we can be active participants in the work for peace from any corner of the world. We are in the body and family of God. The disciples so easily missed Jesus on the road to Emmaus; let us not now miss how God is near and bringing peace. Let us join the spirit in prayer from any corner of the world, knowing that we are a part of this body regardless of human boundaries like space or time.
We will close with a prayer written by Ben Norquist, Ambassador Warren Clark Fellow:
We remember that you heal the sick and secure hope for the oppressed. You restore broken communities, forgive sin, and protect others. You work ceaselessly, tirelessly, continually for the good of all people.
But things are deeply wrong in the world. Our communities are infected with a virus of hatred. Indifference has become a pandemic. Brothers and sisters are strangers.
Human warmth has turned to undisguised suspicion.
We love our own illness and carelessly infect others:
We entertain idols in our homes.
We flirt with contagions that deplete love and breath.
We love the precious viruses that weave into our lifeblood.
We don’t know how contagious we are.
We are white with ignorance, pale with self-righteousness.
Knowing You are the first and eternal doctor, we ask you to:
Arrest us as we approach our idols.
Make our diagnosis clear and unavoidable.
Warm our hearts toward the humanity in strangers.
Heal the wounds that tear friends from each other.
Reverse the quiet drifting that removes us from our siblings.
Retrain our desires and redirect our attention.
Renovate our hearts and revitalize our affections.
We want to love you more than we have. We long to love others as ourselves.
We ask these things, knowing that you can do more than we can imagine to ask. Amen.