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 highlight peace-building organizations that we may pray for them as they live out the reconciliation offered in the Prophets and Jesus’ message of peace.

Register for the weekly time of prayer here.

Prayers4Peace: Unprecedented Humanitarian Catastrophe

Unprecedented Humanitarian Catastrophe

By: Omar Shaban, Written October 15th, 2023 in Gaza City; Revised for publication January 8th, 2024.

Today is the 93rd day of the war on Gaza, The Gaza Strip is experiencing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, the likes of which had not been seen since 1967. 25,000 have lost their lives, and this is solely those who arrived at the hospitals. This is what arrived at the hospitals. There are thousands of people who were buried under the rubble and no one could reach them. In addition to more than 60,000 injuries, most of these are in critical situations, which means they will lose their lives due to the no heath treatment as most of the health facilities were destroyed.

The unprecedented destruction of infrastructure has made life a living hell open to everyone, it is the harshest on women, children, and the disabled. There were 8,000 wounded in hospitals within the first week, close to the number of wounded during the 51-day war in 2014. This exceeds the capacity of the most advanced health systems in the world, let alone a fragile health system that has been suffering for years from a shortage of medicines and equipment. Medical teams are no longer able to work. The army orders for 1.1 million residents of the Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes and flee to the southern regions, while at the same time bombing the cars carrying them, contradicting humanity. 

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Prayers4Peace: I was protesting for sure. Was I also praying? I hope so

I was protesting for sure. Was I also praying? I hope so

By: Rev. Kathy Donley

It was late on an overcast November afternoon. I was lying on my back on Dove Street. The sheet over my face cut off my sense of sight, but I was very aware of the cold asphalt underneath me, the presence of a crowd of people, some of whom were milling around near my head, and the sounds of motors and sirens on nearby streets.

Her voice amplified by a microphone, a woman slowly recited the names and ages of Palestinian children who have died in the current war between Israel and Hamas. The children’s ages began at one year old. Names and ages were read for 12 minutes, maybe longer. “One-year-old, one-year-old, one-year-old, three-years-old, three-years-old.” She kept going. I could hear open weeping from two people close by. Anguish. Personal grief. Heartbreak. The woman kept speaking into the microphone. When she got to the names of the fourteen-year-olds, her voice began to quaver. She was also weeping. She kept reading through the sixteen-year-olds.

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Prayers4Peace: Christmas Day, Advent 2023

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In Everlasting Light, Justice Shines, Sunday Devotional for Advent 2023
Written by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, CMEP’s Executive Director


Isaiah 62:6-12 | Psalm 97 | Titus 3:4-7 | Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20

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. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:8-15)

The hope of Christmas morning is the Good News that light prevails in darkness. Today, we celebrate the nativity story and the birth of a young child in Bethlehem named Immanuel, reminding us that “God is with us.” In the world’s darkness, the Christ child brought us everlasting light that overcomes the darkness. 

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Prayers4Peace: Fourth Sunday of Advent 2023, Christmas Eve

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In Preparation for the Arrival, Sunday Devotional for Advent 2023
Written by Katheryn Hamm, who traveled with CMEP to the Holy Land in Spring 2023, and Adysen Moylan, Trips Coordinator


Isaiah 9:2-7 | Psalm 96 | Titus 2:11-14 | Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)

Simon Sinek said: “Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do. Life is beautiful because of the people we meet.” In traveling to the Holy Land this past spring, I was in constant amazement at the diverse landscapes, the historical significance of the sites, and the opportunity to experience the places where Jesus walked and taught. However, our tour guide, Nabil, and our bus driver, Faisel made the trip beautiful and memorable. These two men had never met or worked with each other before, yet there was an immediate sense of respect, cooperation, calmness, and devotion between them. Our group contained about fifteen people, and both men formed deep and independent connections with each of us. The smallness of our group allowed them to give us a heads-up when they thought upcoming sights would interest a particular person or to know when someone was overwhelmed with information and in need of a break. Their gentleness and loving demeanor extended to our group and to everyone they met. Despite their previous, deeply troubling experiences with the Israeli government and military, both men continually chose to love, show kindness, and practice unconditional grace, even to those who have done them wrong. 

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Prayers4Peace: Saturday Meditation for Advent 2023

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Praying the Psalms, Saturday Meditation for Advent 2023
Written by Lauren Draper, Middle East Fellow


Malachi 3: 1-4, 23-24 | Psalm 25 | Luke 1: 57-66

Praying the Psalms is a longstanding Christian tradition. It is a discipline of centering prayer back to scripture, and it is mirrored on Christ’s own actions throughout the Gospels. In this practice, read through the psalm, line by line, making the words of the psalm your own. If it is helpful to you, think of the psalm like a Christmas tree, and hang your own personal worries, doubts, praises, or joys onto its branches. 

Psalm 25

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, and my hope is in you all day long.

Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.

They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.

The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.

My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.

Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.

See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!

Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.

Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

About the Author: Lauren earned her bachelor’s in Arabic and Middle East studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After spending four years in youth ministry and community building in the UK, she moved to Jerusalem. In Israel/Palestine, she continues to utilize this relational skill set through the position of Middle East Fellow, while also elevating the voices of Christian leaders in the region.

Prayers4Peace: Friday Meditation for Advent 2023

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Awareness Examen, Friday Meditation for Advent 2023
Written by Lauren Draper, Middle East Fellow


Hebrews 7:18-25 | Mark 10:24-32 

Hebrews 7: 18-19 holds in tension the former commandment and the new covenant, weakness traded for hope:  “For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.” 

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Prayers4Peace: Thursday Meditation for Advent 2023

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Reflective Prayer, Thursday Meditation for Advent 2023
Written by Lauren Draper, Middle East Fellow


Hebrews 7:1-6 | Mark 10:17-27

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Mark 10:17-27

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Prayers4Peace: Wednesday Meditation for Advent 2023

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Gospel Contemplation, Wednesday Meditation for Advent 2023
Written by Dr. Benjamin Norquist, CMEP Ambassador Warren Clark Fellow (AWCF)


Hebrews 10:32-38 | Mark 9:33-41

At that time, Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they were silent; for on the way, they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” 

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.”

Mark 9:33-41

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live in Jesus’ day and to be among his disciples?  Today, I invite you to imagine just that.

The spiritual practice of gospel contemplation is a form of prayer in which you imagine that you are present with Jesus in a story from the Gospels. By envisioning yourself physically in the room with Jesus, the words will be transformed into the language of your heart, and your spirit will be opened more widely to Jesus’ ministry to you today.

Begin by reading the passage from Mark reflectively. Now, read the passage again, then set the text aside, and contemplate the scene: 

  • Jesus has arrived in Capernaum with his disciples, and he asks them a simple question. Knowing that the answer is awkward, the disciples are silent and perhaps embarrassed. Of course, Jesus knows the answer already, but his next comments are not a rebuke so much as kind guidance.
  • As you reflect on the unfolding story, imagine you are there, literally and physically present. You walked with Jesus and his disciples earlier that day, and you have now arrived in the house. Look around the room. What do you see? Hear? Smell? When Jesus asks what the disciples are talking about, he is asking you too. How do you respond?
  • As the experience proceeds, Jesus brings a child into the middle of the room. Where does the child come from? Do you know the child? What is going through your mind as Jesus proceeds to teach you about what it means to be great in His kingdom?
  • Then the topic turns when John asks a new question. As you hear Jesus’ response, does it seem to be a new topic, or is it part of Jesus’ earlier teaching about greatness and humility?
  • These moments in the house with Jesus seem informal and conversational. Do you have a question you want to ask Jesus? What might it be? As the story unfolds, notice details you’ve never seen before.

As with all spiritual practices, the purpose of gospel contemplation is to place yourself into God’s forming hands. With this particular practice, it is not about using your imagination to control or conjure up a scene – but allowing God to use your imagination to speak more deeply to your heart, mind, and spirit about who God is and to see the world by God’s light.

About the Author: Ben is a researcher and public organizer. Inspired by his study of higher education in Palestine, Ben currently works on the ways educational and epistemological structures develop responsively to physical landscapes, especially those that are highly configured and imposed. In his local community, Ben helps churches engage more thoughtfully with Native communities and come to terms with histories of injustice.

Ben holds his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Azusa Pacific University (Los Angeles) and his M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College (Annapolis). Ben’s dissertation is a qualitative project exploring adaptive Palestinian approaches to pedagogy.

In his career in higher education leadership, Ben has experience building international educational partnerships, teaching, and establishing an academic center for applied public research.

Prayers4Peace: Tuesday Meditation for Advent 2023

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Lectio Divina, Tuesday Meditation for Advent 2023
Written by Fayelle Ewuakye, Communications Coordinator


Mark 10:2-12 | Hebrews 4:1-13 

I was introduced to the meditative practice of Lectio Divina a few years ago, and it’s been a great help and inspiration to my spirit ever since. Lectio Divina is Latin for “divine reading,” “spiritual reading,” or “holy reading.” The goal is to read through a passage of Scripture three times and commune with the Spirit of the living Christ. Read in the mind and out loud, with careful concentration on the words, pausing at the commas, and breathing after the end of sentences. While this is a beautiful practice any day of the year, please join us in thinking of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East as we go through these steps:

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Prayers4Peace: Monday Meditation for Advent 2023

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Breath Prayer, Monday Meditation for Advent 2023
Written by Rev. Aune Carlson, Senior Director of Operations


Hebrews 3:5-11, 17-19 | Mark 9:42-50; 10:1

Today’s practice is simply known as a breath prayer. The exact words of the prayer are less important than the heart of the one praying the words. The essential elements are to breathe and pray. 

  • Find a quiet place.
  • Determine a simple phrase to pray. Perhaps from today’s Scriptures. Below are examples from Mark 10:1. 

“Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.”

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