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 Evangelicals for Social Action in writing and sharing these prayers.


Persistent Hope: Maundy Thursday & Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet*

by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

All over the world this evening, churches throughout the east and the west will host services to celebrate Maundy Thursday. The Thursday of Holy Week reminds believers of the Last Supper Jesus had with the disciples, and more specifically, his teaching them about the power of what it means to be a servant.

Jesus knew what was to come. He had loved the disciples and the world while he lived amongst them and John 13:1 tells us he “loved them to the end.” Christ’s ultimate act of love would follow a few short days after the meal, but his lessons for those who followed him were not yet complete. Read more

The Persistent Hope of Palm Sunday: Sacred City to All

It is interesting how Palm Sunday is often described as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. And yet, what was triumphant about this humble Jewish man riding down the Mount of Olives, across the Valley of Kidron, and into the Old City of Jerusalem? The people cried out adulations to him, but the praise of humankind was temporary and fleeting. For in the days hence, that very same crowd would turn their backs on Christ and instead release the convicted prisoner Barabas into freedom. How could Jesus ever be reconciled to his people after such betrayal?

Today the walk down the Mount of Olives is a glimpse of the multi-faceted diversity of cultures and Abrahamic faith traditions that call Jerusalem holy. It is also a microcosm of the contestations about land, historic ties to the Old City of Jerusalem, and the current political realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Read more

Persistent Hope: Never Alone

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Over the past several weeks, the news coming from Palestine and Israel continues to be more than discouraging. The United States removal of the world occupation from the United States Human Rights Report of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) just seemed to be the beginning. Then on March 21, the Trump Administration recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights once again demonstrating the administration’s recklessly one-sided approach to Middle East foreign policy. On March 25, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in Israel injuring seven people; Israel attacked Gaza with military strikes. As if that was not enough, the United Nations reminds us that in the year since the beginning of the Great March of Return (March 30, 2018), 195 Palestinians, including 41 children, were killed by Israeli forces during demonstrations, including weekly protests near the perimeter fence, protests against the naval blockade, and other activities. Over the course of the past year, 28,939 Palestinians were injured as a part of the Gaza protests.

In the midst of escalating violence and such horrific tragedies, what does it mean to have Persistent Hope? Read more

Persistent Hope: For the Sake of Others

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Miriam Shaar, a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon, witnessed the discouragement in her community first hand. Living in Bourj el Barajneh, a refugee camp of more than fifty thousand Palestinian refugees outside of Beirut, Shaar knew the harsh realities of not having the financial means to provide for the basic necessities of life. The more than two million refugees in Lebanon experience significant challenges in their daily life. Refugees, particularly women, cannot find work. They often feel like they do not have hope for a future. Read more

Persistent Hope: Pray for Peace, Advocate for Justice

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

“Without justice, there can be no peace. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he would help perpetrate it.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

The great military war hero and president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower once said: “peace and justice are the opposite sides of the same coin.” Often in advocacy work calling for the end of the occupation of the Palestinian people and in promoting human rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), we hear the expression “no peace without justice.” We also hear that peace is viewed with suspicion and distrust for Palestinians; while Israelis have a similar perception of the word justice. For many Palestinians, the word peace, and even more so security, often seems to be an excuse or a justification of the ongoing continuation of policies that limit their right to movement, justify military presence and occupation, control and limit access to resources, and other painful daily realities of living under occupation. For many Israelis, they fear the pursuit of justice condones a violent and militant response in Palestinian resistance. Read more

Persistent Hope: Living in the Midst of Tension

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

This past week I was spending some times with a church ministry team focused on pursuing peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. In our strategy discussions, we talked about the many tensions in our work. How do we speak truth prophetically, while also having a pragmatic approach to influencing policies and advocating for human rights? Our goal is to not only minister, educate, and work with those who already agree with our policies and positions; but to grow the movement of those committed to holistic engagement and a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Needless to say, there are many tensions! Read more

Persistent Hope: Entering into Suffering

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:6-7)

This week, I had the privilege of hosting a podcast with Oxfam America about the current civil war in Yemen. The effects of the conflict are severe, but Yemen does not often reach the front page of the news. The United Nations identified realities in Yemen as the “greatest humanitarian crisis of our day.” With more than two million displaced persons, more than 80 percent of Yemenis live below the poverty line. Since 2016, Yemen experienced the worst cholera outbreak in history. The conflict has caused poverty, food insecurity, a health crisis, and more than 17,000 deaths since 2015. There is great suffering in Yemen. Read more

Ash Wednesday Devotion: Disappointment with God and Persistent Hope

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

What does it mean to have Persistent Hope in the midst of disappointment and despair? Over the next 40 days of Lent, this is the theme we will be wrestling with, praying through, and seeking to understand as we wait together and long for Easter morning. This is our question and prayer as we seek peace and work toward justice in the Middle East.

Looking toward the Middle East, there are many realities that bring disappointment. An independent and viable State of Palestine does not seem to be a reality that will come to fruition anytime soon. The occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza continues and will soon enter into its 52nd year. The United States continues to manifest hubris and abuse its power by intervening in unconstructive ways, at best. None of the parties involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have any faith the Trump Peace plan will break the decades long status quo and make any constructive strides toward peace. Beyond Palestine, the United States’ continual support of Saudi Arabia and Coalition forces intervening in Yemen’s civil war constitute only one additional example of harmful U.S. interventions. The list could go on. Read more

Christmas Day: On toward Bethlehem…The Messiah Has Come!

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Read more

Advent IV: Love

Psalm 80: 3, 6-7

Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved. . . .
You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors
and our enemies mock us.
Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

Mary’s Song

for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
   holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors. Read more

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