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: 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

Advent III: Joy

“Yes, indeed—God is my salvation. I trust, I won’t be afraid. God—yes God!—is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation!” Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation. And as you do it, you’ll say, “Give thanks to God. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done, spread the news of his great reputation! “Sing praise-songs to God. He’s done it all! Let the whole earth know what he’s done!

Isaiah 12:2-5 (MSG)

Take courage for there is joy in this life!

For many Christians observing the third week of Advent, they will read the words of the prophet Isaiah. These words call them to give thanks and praise to the Lord God, with a joy that springs forth from God’s “wells of salvation.” This good news of salvation became flesh with the birth of Jesus, entering into the lived reality of humanity on earth. Today, this call to joy is in the very practical act of collecting water. “Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation.” These words remind us that it is the fundamentals of being human that truly matter and are quite beautifully, enough. Read more

Advent II: Peace

“[During] the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” Luke 3.2-6

During the season of Advent, Christians across the world wait with eager expectation for the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. While we celebrate Jesus’ arrival and the ways in which he modeled how we are to live, it is no doubt troubling to many how far away we are from the peace Jesus preached. From the rise of white supremacy in the United States, to the continued conflicts in the Middle East, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction of Peace. For those of us committed to a just, lasting, and peaceful resolution to the conflict in Israel/Palestine, and throughout the Middle East; we might wonder if our efforts are in vain. Read more

Advent I: Hope in the Lord

Psalm 25:1-10

In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, Read more

Christians of Palestine, Life Behind the Wall

Mary Davis is of Christian Palestinian heritage, born and raised in the United States. As a young child, she was disconnected from her culture, but during university decided to create a documentary on Christians in Palestine. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is pleased to share her story and documentary:

I grew up with a father who was ashamed of his Palestinian heritage. My mother, who is also half-Palestinian, left when I was five years old. I had no physical contact with her or her side of the family for over 17 years. I had a very interesting or, as I would describe, abusive childhood story, which resulted in me leaving home at 18 years old. I ended up finishing my high school education in the inner-city, around a dominant African American population. In my younger years, I found myself always searching for acceptance and my identity. Read more

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