Category: Prayers for Peace (P4P)

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 Christians for Social Action in writing and sharing these prayers.

Fifth Sunday

Is peace possible? Can dry bones come back to life?

by Kyle Cristofalo

Ezekiel 37:1-14 🌿 Psalm 130 🌿 Romans 8:6-11 🌿 John 11:1-45

During election season, if you turn on your TV or flip through your mail, you will often be greeted through a commercial or a campaign mailer with the message “Washington is broken.” Capitol Hill, specifically Congress, is not often viewed as a place where good things happen. After living in DC for almost a decade, I admit to being annoyed by the often-flippant caricature of a city that is more vibrant than outside politicians would lead us to believe. I cannot dispute that Congress is a challenge to navigate, especially for those of us seeking an end to the occupation and a future in Israel/Palestine where all people can flourish. If I’m being honest, I sometimes wonder if there is any point in trying to move Congress. Even the positive steps seem too little, too late.

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Fourth Sunday

Practice: Lectio Divina

by Rev. Aune Carlson

1 Samuel 16:1-13 🌿 Psalms 23 🌿 Ephesians 5:8-14 🌿 John 9:1-41

Lectio Divina:

  • Select a Scripture passage to reflect on
  • Read the passage, preferably out loud, two or three times
  • Meditate on a word or phrase that stood out to you as you read; Perhaps it caused you to ask a question or wonder about something.
  • Respond to God who has been speaking to you
  • Settle yourself and rest in the presence of God as you prepare to go about the remainder of your day.

It can be a very enlightening experience to engage in this practice with others, as no two people will have exactly the same experience or insights from their time reflecting on the same scripture passage.

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Third Sunday

Practice: The Examen

by Rev. Aune Carlson

Exodus 17:1-7 🌿 Psalms 95 🌿 Romans 5:1-11 🌿 John 4:5-42

The Romans text for today acknowledges experiences we will all have at one time or another in our earthly life. While we’ve been justified by faith, and know peace with God, we will still learn much through suffering, trials, and tension. We must choose to be peacemakers and live in hope of the realization of God’s perfect peace.

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Second Sunday

Practice: Breath Prayer

by Rev. Aune Carlson

Genesis 12:1-4a 🌿 Psalms 121 🌿 Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 🌿 John 3:1-17

In the Romans passage, we hear of Abraham’s being saved by faith, not by works. In John, we witness a conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus. In both passages, the prevenient grace of God is on display as a testament to God’s initiation of a relationship with us – drawing humanity to Godself and through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. All were set in motion before we were even aware of our need for salvation and reconciliation with God.

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First Sunday

Children of God and Perfect Peace

by Kevin Vollrath

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 🌿 Psalm 32 🌿 Romans 5:12-19 🌿 Matthew 4:1-11

At first glance, the promise of “perfect peace” sounds like a hoax. In this world? Perfect peace? Perfect peace?

The doubling of the word “Shalom” (peace)– often translated as “perfect peace”– reminds me of other repetitions of that word: “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying “Peace, peace” when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).

Peace is a dirty word among many invested activists and marginalized people. “Peace” is the palatable, respectable, non-controversial sibling of edgy, angry, upturning justice. “Peace” is often co-opted to support status quo injustice, a human peace that does not and cannot last.

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Ash Wednesday

Ashes: Brokenness in the World

by Fayelle Ewuakye

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 🌿 Psalm 51:1-17 🌿 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 🌿 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Homes with framed pictures of babies on the walls.
Soft sandals by the door, a worn pencil on a desk.
A bowl of dates on the counter, old love letters in a box under the bed. Ashes.

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An Introduction to Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) in Armenia and Beyond

Written by Eliza Minasyan, Executive Director

The Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) reaches more than 100,000 people each year in seven countries—Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Artsakh, and Georgia. Leadership and staff are 100 percent local and unite across Apostolic, Catholic, and Evangelical traditions to share God’s love with the most vulnerable. JMP brings relief in crisis and works to upend the roots of poverty and build up families, businesses, health, and faith.

Armenian peoples have lived throughout Asia Minor for thousands of years, with a distinctly Christian faith since 300 C.E. Our history is characterized by periods of conflict and peace, occupation and independence, persecution, and resilient recovery. In the late 19th century and during World War I, millions were massacred in our homeland and displaced throughout the Middle East and worldwide. 

Vartan Jinishian was born in 1870 in Marash, Turkey, the oldest son of the Reverend Haroutune Jinishian and Mrs. Catherine Jinishian. They emigrated to the United States, and he amassed a great fortune. But he saw the need of the Armenian people in Beirut and Aleppo and realized he could do something about it. As his final legacy, Vartan Jinishian established an endowment fund in honor of his parents to save the lives of generations to come.

Jinishian’s plan displayed a spirit of unity and reconciliation uncommon for his time. The Jinishian Memorial Program began meeting the needs of the post-genocide Armenian population throughout the Middle East in the 1960s by forging unique ecumenical, local partnerships of completely indigenous teams. Beyond the scope of the previous post-war relief efforts, JMP sought long-term solutions for restoring dignity to Armenian communities.

In Jerusalem and Istanbul today, JMP is a vital thread in the fabric of support to these Christian minorities and remains committed to uplifting Armenians so they may continue to live in their homeland in peace. Programs in Syria, Lebanon, and Armenia help those in greatest need without discrimination. And in every city where we serve, JMP is advised by an ecumenical Armenian board.

The last will and testament of Vartan Jinishian named the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as the recipient of the bulk of his estate to carry out this work. This partnership remains possible because of a shared ecumenical vision and mission, which is evidenced by our diverse donors today. They include descendants of genocide survivors, diverse American Christians, and Presbyterian and ethnic Armenian churches alike. The PCUSA is a member communion and one of the founding organizations of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). 


After the genocide, the fledgling republic of Armenia fell under communist rule for most of the 20th century, followed by harsh and hungry years of early independence in the 1990s. Young Armenians today represent the first generation to grow up after Soviet rule. Against many odds, they are reclaiming their Christian heritage.

Since independence in Armenia, JMP has been a leading nonprofit bringing economic, social, and faith-based revitalization. Our core mission includes building up next-generation leaders who are guided by
compassion, ingenuity, and hope in order to reverse generational poverty. Projects are designed to promote long-term, sustainable change so people can earn a decent living, grow healthy families, and help their communities thrive. In response to the war in the fall of 2020, Jinishian swiftly expanded its programs to include medication and rehabilitation for wounded soldiers and humanitarian relief for displaced families.


My colleagues in Syria remember their grandparents’ faith and courage when they arrived from death marches as orphans. They also remember days of prosperity, peace, and diversity before the violence that erupted in 2011. International JMP support and solidarity brings them hope that they are not abandoned as they continue to care for a vulnerable Christian minority. We meet basic survival needs and run health programs serving all ages while providing a community of encouragement and long-term empowerment.


As this nation suffers a deep political, economic, and humanitarian crisis, JMP is unwavering in our support. Families are more vulnerable to illness, homelessness, broken relationships, and broken spirits. We give them tools to find jobs, improve their relationships, and stay together. Programs prevent school dropouts and child labor by supporting vocational education. As a Christian outreach, local mission staff also offer hope and give comfort, encouraging trust in God and perseverance when adversity strikes. JMP is unique among nonprofits in the Armenian community, consistently providing medication for chronic illness, medical counseling, preventive education, and spiritual encouragement.

God, we choose to trust you and not succumb to fear. When violence stokes anxiety that ethnic and religious atrocities are happening again, give us courage and a spirit of reconciliation.
Protect innocent lives, and grant freedom for Christians to be a light in their homeland.
Give the Jinishian Memorial Program wisdom, resources, and holy imagination to rebuild the hope and the future of your people.

LEADERSHIP: Eliza Minasyan, Executive Director

Ms. Eliza Minasyan of Yerevan, Armenia, became Executive Director of the Jinishian Memorial
Program (JMP) in 2011. She serves the Jinishian office New York, NY, after having served the
previous five years as the Executive Director of the Jinishian Memorial program in Yerevan,

Ms. Eliza Minasyan has extensive experience building ecumenical relationships and networking with
international and local organizations. She also worked as a coordinator for Planning, Evaluation and
Training for Central and Eastern Europe of Heifer International USA and consultant at the Yerevan-
based Business Support Center. Visit our website at

Any views or opinions contained herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).

Prayers4Peace: “God has heard my voice; God will accept my prayer”

“God has heard my voice; God will accept my prayer”
by Patriarch Emeritus, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah
First shared at the inaugural Fr. Drew Christiansen Holy Land Lecture Series in Washington, D.C. on November 16th, 2022

I know that truth is very difficult to see in our land. Though here, in our land, Jesus said: “I am the truth” (Jn 14:6). Here also, he said to Pilate: I came “to bear witness to the truth” (Jn 18: 37). Yet, much of the powerful of the world today, concerning justice and peace in the Holy Land, are still repeating the same ironic answer of Pilate: what is the truth? (Jn 18:38). As Pilate of the past, the Pilates of today, make the truth as they want, according to their own interests. And so doing, those who are oppressed remain oppressed. 

Fr Drew spoke for the truth. Many followed his guidance. Others kept going in their indifference, in the way of Pilate, sure that there is no truth in wars, especially when war is in the Holy Land.

The conflict in the Holy Land today, and its solution, is simple and clear for those who want to see the truth: the two peoples of the Land, Palestinians, and Israelis, are equal in rights and duties and must have the same freedom and same political status.

In the Holy Land, Israel today is strong and the decision-maker for peace or war. For that, it needs real friends who have the courage to tell Israel the truth and say when it is wrong and right. Resolutions are already taken by the United Nations to put an end to the conflict. What is needed is a Church or a world power that tells the truth to the friend Israel, who says to Israel and USA: put in execution the UN resolutions already taken, have the courage to make justice, peace, and equality, in the land made holy by God.

Can the Church of the United States be this real and courageous friend who helps both Israelis and Palestinians for reconciliation?

I wish this memory of Fr Drew will move the waters and bring true action for reconciliation in the Holy Land so that the Land made holy by God will be brought back to its holiness and be the land of life and Redemption for its peoples.

Jerusalem is the city of reconciliation, but it is itself still in search of reconciliation. Jerusalem needs your action, you and many others, to help find truth and reconciliation, where Jesus said: I am the way, the truth, and the life. Pray and act.

H.B. Msgr. Michel Sabbah is Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem. He was the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1987 to 2008, the first non-Italian to hold this position in more than five centuries. He was born in Nazareth, studied at the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala, and was ordained in Nazareth in 1955. He received his doctorate in Arab philology from the Sorbonne. During his priesthood, he served in parishes in the diocese, as the diocesan youth director and the director of education, and as the President of Bethlehem University. Among his many publications is Faithful Witness: On Reconciliation and Peace in the Holy Land (Hyde Park, NY, 2009), edited by Drew Christiansen, S. J. and Saliba Sarsar.

Any views or opinions contained herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).

Prayers4Peace: Baptists Heed the Call for Justice, Freedom, and Equality

by CMEP Board Member communion, the Alliance of Baptists

Any views or opinions contained herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).

The Alliance of Baptists has a proud history of pursuing justice, affirming God’s inclusive kin-dom, and equipping the church to follow in the way of Jesus. In response to our Palestinian Christian siblings, both within our communities and in the Holy Land, we have spent the past decade learning how we can live out these commitments. We choose solidarity with those longing for justice and beseeching us to work with God for their liberation. 

In 2013, in response to Kairos Palestine and internal organizing, the Alliance made this public commitment: “The Board of the Alliance recognizes the critical need to work for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel. The Board blesses and endorses the work of the Justice in Palestine and Israel Community.” Our Justice in Palestine and Israel Community (JPI) has led the Alliance in living out this commitment: 

  • We host regular educational events highlighting both the daily and multi-generational injustices Palestinians endure, such as an upcoming film discussion night covering the Netflix-hosted films The Present and Salt of This Sea.
  • We equip our membership to advocate for just U.S. policies and international accountability for Israel’s war crimes, for example, through advocacy with Members of Congress.
  • We engage with Palestinian mission partners in the work of solidarity and healing. Because we believe deeply in the importance of following the leadership of those directly impacted by injustice, we have focused our work on responding to the pleas of Palestinian Christians voiced in Kairos Palestine, their epistle to international churches, and follow-up letters such as Cry of Hope and a Call for Decisive Action
  • We participate in Global Kairos for Justice, a network of international organizations responding to the Palestinian calls listed above. 

We center our work on the call of Kairos Palestine and continue to educate ourselves about the increasingly dire conditions Palestinians endure. We grieve that U.S. tax dollars contribute to these conditions. In response, we have made three major commitments to using our economic and cultural power to disrupt that injustice and challenge systems of oppression:

  • We committed in 2016 to boycott and divest from companies that profit from human rights violations of Palestinians.
  • In 2018, the Alliance joined with individuals, congregations, and denominations throughout the United States in boycotting Hewlett Packard (HP) for its contributions to institutionalized apartheid in the Occupied Territories. In addition to economic boycott and divestment, we acknowledged the political and cultural power of Christian Zionism in intensifying the oppression of Palestinians. In following Jesus’ example, we want to be clear that we believe in a God of justice, freedom, and inclusion. We must decry ways in which the church seeks to coopt religion for purposes of power and greed. 
  • In 2021, the Alliance officially committed to confronting Christian Zionism in our congregations and in the halls of Congress. We are grateful for our Jewish friends who have led the way in confronting the misuse of their faith in ways that oppress others. They and we insist that true religion demands we disrupt all manifestations of evil, both within and beyond our religious networks.
  • During the Annual Gathering from April 21–23, we will put forward a resolution that names the Israeli occupation as an apartheid system that must be dismantled. In preparation for that, we will offer a three-part education and discussion series beginning January 19 entitled “Apartheid? An Epistle from Palestinian Christians”. For information on how to join, please email

Our partnership with Churches for Middle East Peace, and through it the Faith Forum, has been helpful in engaging in advocacy in the halls of Congress and education in the churches. As we continue to partner together, we humbly request your prayers for the work we are doing. We ask prayers for clarity in understanding the calls of our Palestinian siblings, courage to act according to our deepest commitments, and confidence to face down attempts to silence the liberative work of God. Below is a prayer that we’ve been praying for the past two years – we invite you to pray with us:

God of Life and Love and Liberation,

We pray for all who are living with death and
devastation and destruction.
We pray for Gaza and all the lives lost, communities destroyed,
and families living in fear.    
We pray for East Jerusalem, for those who endure settler attacks,
home evictions, and constant humiliation.
We pray for Palestinians in the West Bank, Israel, refugee camps,
and the diaspora, all of whom are longing for freedom,
justice, and equality.
We pray for Israelis who are outraged by what their government
is doing and for Israelis who are not yet conscious of this
and yet are suffering from being a part of a violent, racist system.
We pray for all who are working for a just peace in the land we call holy.

May your life-giving spirit blow through war-torn lands and
places of death to birth new life.


About the Alliance of Baptists: These three core values guide the Alliance of Baptists. The Alliance of Baptists began in 1987 as a prophetic voice in Baptist life. Today, we have grown to be a justice movement and community of faith. We are male and female laity and clergy, people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, theological beliefs, and ministry practices. We are about 4,500 individual members and roughly 140 congregations knit together by love for one another and God, combining progressive inquiry, contemplative prayer and prophetic action to bring about justice and healing in a changing world. Find out more at:

Any views or opinions contained herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).

Prayers4Peace: Living in the Shadow of the Wall

Living in the Shadow of the Wall
by Angleena Keizer, Mission Partner to the Holy Land, Methodist Liaison Office, Jerusalem

I have lived in the holy land for the last five years. While my office is in east Jerusalem my home is in Beit Jala a suburb of Bethlehem. Along with my colleague Samar, we are involved in various projects in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

During my time here I have witnessed so many human rights denied to Palestinians. The taking of land for illegal Israeli settlements to be built upon, house demolitions, olive trees uprooted, arrests, and ultimately deaths. I have personally nearly been run over by an Israeli settler in a 4 x 4 while olive picking in the north of the West Bank, alongside Rabbis For Human Rights. Within five minutes the Israeli military army had arrived and the young owner of the land was informed by the army that his land was now declared Area C, under both Israeli military and civil control. He couldn’t harvest his olives due to the settlers declaring they “didn’t like internationals helping him.” We were escorted off the land by the army, the young farmer due to be married the following week was panicking and fearful that the army would arrest him for no reason.

I have witnessed a system that perpetrates fear, oppression, lack of freedom of religious worship and movement, lack of basic human rights, and total disregard for the rights of every human being, committed against both Muslims and Christians alike. Whole communities live in the shadow of an Israeli illegal separation wall, that not only separates movement in Israel but also separates Palestinian communities from one another. The only way a person is able to escape the wall is to be granted a permit from the Government of Israel (GOI), whether it’s from the world’s largest open-air prison, Gaza or the West Bank. I have lived among a people who are so welcoming with open hearts and open arms, offering hospitality, friendship, and help whenever is needed. Never once have I feared living amongst Palestinians, contrary to the large red signs erected by the GOI at every entry point into the West Bank that states for Israelis to enter is a danger to their life and forbidden. I have had the opportunity and honour to walk alongside and hear their stories and be inspired by those who seek a just peace in nonviolent ways. Whose very lives and existence in the shadow of the wall is a resistance in itself. Like anyone of us, Palestinians want peace, to live in harmony with others, have the same human rights and opportunities for themselves and their children. Tourists visit the wall leaving their artwork as a form of solidarity. When all is said and done, they return home leaving a people still living in the shadow of the wall.

Among the many projects we recently visited was the WI’AM Conflict Restoration Centre, which is based literally in the shadow of the wall. We attended the youth summer holiday camp, where the children enjoyed the activities provided. Their bright yellow cheerful T-shirts and smiles were a stark contrast to the Israeli dark grey stone wall and military watchtower hovering over them.

I sat and enjoyed their enthusiasm and joy wondering,
Lord will this wall be dismantled in their lifetime?
How many more generations will continue to face occupation and enforce restrictions upon their lives? The words of one little girl’s T-shirt ‘you are the reason’ is why so many travel and visit Bethlehem, not only to bow down at the star of Bethlehem where the Saviour of the world, the Prince of Peace was born and is a reminder, ‘Emmanuel God with us’. 

But to come and see and go and tell the reality that Palestinians face daily, living in the shadow of the wall. They come standing in solidarity speaking out against such violations and continue to pray for an end to occupation. It is both a heavy burden and a joy to live amongst Palestinians in a place of ‘occupation’, to witness their resilience, steadfastness, and desire for peace, seeking to do so in nonviolent ways, and being challenged to do likewise.

Deacon Angleena Keizer is serving at the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem. Prior to this appointment, she served in Sri Lanka (2015 – July 2017) where she worked alongside the English-speaking congregation at the Kollupitiya Methodist Church. However, due to contracting Dengue Fever for the second time in a year and on medical advice, her placement finished a little early. 

The Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem is a partnership of the World Methodist Council, the Methodist Church of Britain, and The United Methodist Church. Its purpose is to increase international awareness and involvement of the Methodist community in the issues of Israel/Palestine. To find out more, visit their website at

Any views or opinions contained herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).

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